Telomere Measurement Testing
A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. Telomeres are longer in youth and progressively shorten with each cell division until a critical shortening has occurred which signals cell death. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter lifespan for the cell.
Shorter telomere length has also been associated with an increased risk for a number of chronic diseases including metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, dementia and premature death. This association has been theorized to be an effect of inflammation and oxidative stress or a combination of both. It has been found that telomeres are significantly shorter in people with aging-associated diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Telomere length provides the best measure of an individual’s biological age compared to their chronological age, where shorter telomeres reflect more advanced biological age. Telomeres shortening can be accelerated by harmful environmental factors like oxidative stress and unhealthy lifestyles..
An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This includes refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans-fats and saturated fats. A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening.
Certain lifestyle modifications can help extend telomere life. A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, and high quality vegetable proteins will help preserve telomere length. One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low visceral fat being particularly important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise,, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction and discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.
Telomere Measurement Testing is provided as an optional test as part of our PhysioAge Assessment.