Telomeres are the caps at the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA from damage. Each time a cell replicates, telomeres become shorter over time. Telomere shortening is a natural aging process that can be positively or negatively affected by lifestyle choices. Research suggests maintaining a healthy diet, getting the right exercise and sleep, along with reductions in stress, smoking and alcohol use, can minimize the rate of telomere shortening as we age. Studies looking at blood cells have found that shorter telomeres can also result from recent viral infections. The good news is you have the ability to positively impact the rate of this natural aging process.
The method used for measuring telomere length actually uses a ratio, called the T/S ratio. When we compare your ratio to a control group, this determines your telomeric age. Tracking your telomeric age over time, especially after you have made lifestyle improvements, is the most effective way to monitor changes. We recommend retesting every 3-6 months to see if you can slow the rate of your telomere shortening with healthier lifestyle choices. When you re-test, not only will you be compared to the control group again, you will be comparing your initial test with your new test(s). Studies show obesity, smoking, consuming higher-than-moderate amounts of alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, psychological stress, physical stress and poor sleep all play a crucial role in speeding up the telomere shortening process.
Slowing down the shortening of telomeres is affected by what is considered healthy living. To help you identify specific lifestyle choices to improve your health, we recommend a consultation with one of our wellness specialists. We will offer suggestions tailored to your specific lifestyle. Once you have had time to put this plan into action, then we suggest reordering your telomeric age test every 3-6 months to monitor your telomere changes and continue making improvements.
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