America’s #1 rated morning news program, The Today Show, featured a story highlighting SpectraCell’s Telomere Test, a blood test that measures cellular aging. The segment entitled How to Live to 100 showcased SpectraCell’s Telomere Test as a tool for those interested in monitoring their health with biomarkers specific to longevity and aging. The Telomere Test measures a person’s biological age in comparison to their chronological age, giving a person an overall picture of how well they are aging.
SpectraCell was the first company to commercially offer telomere analysis to patients when it introduced its Telomere Test in June 2009. Before that, telomere testing was only available to researchers and university scientists. SpectraCell’s telomere testing was also recently featured in the New York Times (May 18, 2011). The Today Show, which has over five million viewers, aired the story on July 13, 2011.
Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of chromosomes that cap genetic material and serve as protective buffers that prevent chromosomes from becoming attached to each other or rearranging. They are often compared to the caps at the ends of shoelaces. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere gets shorter, eventually causing cell death once the telomere attrition has reach its maximum. Measuring telomere length in human lymphocytes is an indicator of cellular aging, and research demonstrates that shortened telomeres are responsible for many of the normal processes of aging.
“SpectraCell Laboratories has always been on the cutting edge of diagnostic testing and Telomere Testing is no exception. We commercialized this test in direct response to interest from our physician clients, who saw it as a natural complement to our micronutrient testing,” says Otto Schaefer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SpectraCell. “The landscape of healthcare is really changing, with people taking charge of their own personal health information.”
The most common question asked by people who get the telomere test is “What do I do if I have a low telomere score?” Basic lifestyle changes are the first step – these include smoking cessation, moderate daily exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. For those who have already made these choices but still have a low telomere score, a comprehensive nutritional assessment is recommended.
Deficiencies in nutrients such as folate and vitamins C and D can shorten telomeres, so it is imperative to correct such deficiencies. Oxidative stress is another major culprit in telomere shortening so reducing inflammation and shoring up the body’s antioxidant defenses is critical for telomere maintenance. A person’s ability to combat free radicals, which cause oxidative stress, can be improved by correcting deficiencies in specific antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E, selenium and glutathione.
Telomere length is affected by many factors: age, genetics, lifestyle, disease and pharmaceuticals. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and dementia have strong associations with shorter telomeres. But telomere attrition can be mitigated significantly with aggressive lifestyle therapies as well as certain medications.
SpectraCell’s test measures a person’s telomere length. A control gene is also measured and compared to the telomere length, and then results are stated as a ratio. A higher ratio means a longer telomere, and younger biological age. The Telomere Score is also compared to other individuals in the same chronological age group.
This automated test is based on Quantitative Real Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology and only requires 1 mL of whole blood. When a sample is received at SpectraCell’s Houston laboratory, the white blood cells are broken apart, the DNA is extracted and the telomeric DNA is amplified into a measurable signal. This signal is compared to a control gene of known length and a Telomere Score is generated. The price of the Telomere Test is $290. Testing once each year starting around age 25 is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss. More information at www.spectracell.com.
About SpectraCell Laboratories – SpectraCell is a CLIA accredited laboratory servicing healthcare providers nationwide by providing advanced clinical tests that measure nutritional status, cardiovascular risk, and cellular aging.
SpectraCell’s micronutrient tests measure the function of over 32 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants in white blood cells, specifically taking into consideration personal differences in metabolism, age, genetics, health, prescription drug usage, absorption rate and other factors.
SpectraCell’s Telomere test measures how well a person’s body is aging internally. Many factors – both genetic and environmental – affect the rate of telomere loss, and this test provides an overall window into aging at the cellular level.
SpectraCell’s Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ is the most advanced lipoprotein particle test available, providing an accurate and in-depth assessment of cardiovascular risk.