Question: What do you know about telemeres? I’ve heard that they hold the key to anti-aging and produtcs with telemeres can prevent wrinkles. But they are really expensive so I want an honest opinion. Are they worth the money?
Answer: This is a BIG question and it deserves a BIG answer. Telemeres are the tips of th DNA strands that control our cells. They keep these protein chains from unraveling much the way the plastic tips on shoe laces keep the laces intact. Studies have shown that telemeres become shortened as we get older and the shortened telemeres can’t protect the cellular DNA. When the DNA is damaged, the cells can no longer reproduce and die off. Studies have shown that people with diabetes, heart diseae and dementia have shortened telemeres. The telemeres of wrinkled, sagging skin cells are also shortened.
A group of especially brilliant scientists won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of a body enzyme called telemerase which keeps telemeres long and strong. That’s the good news. The bad news? Telomerase actually helps cancer cells grow. So clearly adding telomerase either in supplements or in skin care products is not a safe anti-aging strategy . Despite the cancer link there are products out there that offer to improve telemeres. There are supplements made from the chinese herb Astragalus that a single study has shown to increase telemeres in humans. It costs at least $200 a bottle and although it makes drug like claims , its safety and efficacy have not been approved by the FDA.
In skin care products, its doubtful that the agents that are meant to stimulate telemeres actually can be absorbed by the skin to get into the DNA. But given the link beween telomerase and cancer growth, lack of absorption is a good thing for you heath– if not your wallet.
Is there A Safe Way To Protect Telemeres?
So is there anything we can do to help telemeres stay long and healthy ? As it turns out the same healthy lifestyle factors including exercise, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, virgin olive oil, and antioxidants maintain telemere health. At the same time, alsohol,smoking, stress and UV exposure damage and shorten telemeres. It just reinforces the importance of our lifestyle choices for all aspects of health and fitness.
Trying to separate effective and affordable heath strategies from commercial exploitations of science is like playing a game of whack a mole. Every time I can clarify the risks or benefits of promises for things like acrtic berries,bee venom or in this care, telemeres, another entrepreneur comes up with a new and expensive quick fix for beauty and health. There are solid, safe options out there but they are just not a quick fix.