Are Telemeres the Key to Health and Beauty?

Q&A about hormonesQuestion:  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.

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