What do eating right, exercising regularly, managing a healthy weight, getting plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” and omega-3 fatty acids, and meditating all have in common? These all can be considered the healthiest of behaviors—each recognized as being completely safe. What else? They all are also associated with increased levels of telomerase, an enzyme that works to protect the DNA in the body’s cells.
On the other hand, smoking, poor cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and greater waist circumference (indicating more visceral fat) are all associated with lower levels of the enzyme.
Growing evidence reveals that a person’s health status as they age may depend heavily on levels of telomerase. The enzyme is directly involved in attaching repeated DNA sequences on telomeres, those so-called “biological clocks” of aging that act like protective caps on the end of chromosomes.
Yet, as is custom with any new findings on the role of a nutrient or protein in relation to health, there are also questions that arise. One of the observations often discussed in both the scientific literature and in the media is the enzyme’s role in cancer cell growth. Because cancer cells, for the most part, require activation of telomerase to stay healthy (cancer cells also require glucose, vitamin C and other nutrients, for that matter), these discussions often lead to concerns about whether or not stimulating telomerase production in the body is completely safe. There are also questions as to whether telomerase may even be a contributing cause of disease.
However, the most recent studies evaluating the safety of telomerase activation from well-known researchers including Ronald Dephino of MD Anderson (previously at Harvard Medical School) and Maria Blasco of The Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO) are quite clear in their conclusions that stimulating telomerase activity in animals not only improves their health, but also extends lifespan safely without any increase in cancer development.
When asked about why skepticism continues to exist about the safety of telomerase activation despite the evidence to the contrary, Bill Andrews, Ph.D., one of the foremost telomere biologists, responds:
The facts are that there has not been a single scientific peer-reviewed journal article in almost eight years that even suggests that telomerase causes cancer. On the contrary, even the authors that published papers before 2005 showing that telomerase may cause cancer have since published papers saying that they no longer believe so. And, in fact, many of them are now saying that telomerase will help the body fight cancer. Something we knew all along!
… think of telomere repeats as a sort of nutrition. Just like any nutrition, if you have plenty, your cells are healthy; if you are deprived, your cells are unhealthy. But, that includes your cancer cells. That is, any nutrition (including all foods) is going to help your cancer cells survive just as much as your non-cancer cells. Should we starve ourselves to death to kill our cancers? No! Likewise, we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of telomere repeats.
Without clinical evidence, we agree that no one should make claims of telomerase activation or elongation of telomeres in the body—our products including Ageless Essentials with Product B are designed to support overall health and healthy telomeres. Yet, it’s worth setting the record straight for our readers who may have had questions that the research is clear that telomerase activation is, indeed, safe.
Bottom line: Think of telomerase as a sort of nutrition. When it’s turned on, the enzyme keeps telomeres healthy—of any type of cell—as does making sure to adopt a healthy diet and other healthy behaviors.