SpectraCell Blog

Telomere Homeostasis: Live Better, Longer!

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 03, 2018 @ 02:01 PM

TelomereTelomeres are sections of genetic material that form a protective cap at the end of each chromosome in every cell of the body. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a tiny bit shorter, until there is no more telomere left to protect DNA from “unraveling,” and the cell dies. Cellular death causes the body to age, whether the cell is from cardiac muscle, skin, or brain tissue, thus making telomeres a novel biomarker for biological age. The longer one’s telomeres, the younger one’s biological age. Several things affect telomere attrition rate – both positive (good nutrient status, healthy blood sugar and lipid metabolism, normal weight, exercise, etc.) and negative (micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, cellular stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

Telomeres over time

Shammas M. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging.  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan; 14(1): 28–34. Illustration: Ivel DrFreitas MD, ABIM, ABAARM.

How is micronutrient status linked to the aging process?

Micronutrient status has direct implications for telomere length. This makes it especially important to correct specific deficiencies and maintain micronutrient balance. Measuring total antioxidant capacity via SPECTROX® is equally important as the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress contributes significantly to telomere health/length.

Why measure fatty acids?

OmegaCheck® measures the amount of three very important fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and DPA) in one’s blood. Fatty acids can either contribute to or alleviate inflammation, and the OmegaCheck determines the amount of these pro- and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Although the protective omega-3 fatty acids influence enzyme and hormone systems throughout the body, they have gained attention primarily for their superb cardiovascular benefits. Since fatty acid status is a surrogate marker for inflammation and oxidative stress, it is not surprising that omega-3 fatty acids can slow cellular aging by preserving telomeres. When it comes to OmegaCheck, higher is better.

Omega-3 fatty acids can slow the aging process. There are many reasons for this: they reduce inflammation, help maintain the cardiovascular system healthy, and protect the brain. However, the existing research points to an entirely different mechanism of action against aging: protection of telomeres.

A recent study on people with active heart disease demonstrated that individuals with high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids also had the lowest rate of telomere attrition, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids protect against cellular aging.1 In another study, the adoption of comprehensive lifestyle changes (including daily supplementation with 3 grams of fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with an increase in telomere length in human leukocytes.2 In animal studies, dietary enrichment of omega-3 fatty acids prolongs life span by approximately one-third.3

Yet another way that omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on telomeres is through their action on cortisol. Following six weeks of fish oil supplementation, a group of men and women in a study demonstrated significantly reduced4 cortisol, a stress hormone known to reduce the activity of telomerase,5 an enzyme that protects and even lengthens telomeres. Even stress-related cellular aging may be thwarted by omega-3 fatty acids!

SpectraCell's Telomere Analysis

SpectraCell’s telomere 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.

The price of the Telomere Test is affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

The great news is that with the telomere analysis and appropriate lifestyle, habits, you can protect your telomeres and reduce the rate at which they shorten! Discover your estimated cellular age today with a comprehensive, and individualized approach to managing the aging process. 

GET TESTED

1Ramin Farzaneh-Far et al.Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA 2010;303:250-257.

2Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol 2008;9:1048-1057.

3Jolly CA, Muthukumar A, Avula CP, Troyer D, Fernandes G. Life span is prolonged in food-restricted autoimmune-prone (NZB x NZW)F(1) mice fed a diet enriched with (n-3) fatty acids. J Nutr 2001;131:2753-2760.

4Noreen EE, Sass MJ, Crowe ML, Pabon VA, Brandauer J, Averill LK. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sport Nutr 2010;7:31.

5Choi J, Fauce SR, Effros RB. Reduced telomerase activity in human T lymphocytes exposed to cortisol. Brain Behav Immun 2008;22:600-605.

Topics: Telomere testing, telomerase, Age Management, Cellular Age, OmegaCheck, Telomere Homeostatis, Micronutrients and Telomere Length

Why Test YOUR Micronutrient Levels & MTHFR?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 @ 01:49 PM

New Grid 2013


Why is an MTHFR test important?

Determining your MTHFR genotype gives you valuable information about your body's ability to methylate.  Methylation is a crucial part of cell processes and reduced function has been linked to numerous medical conditions including neurological and cardiovascular disorders, mental dysfunctions and diabetes.  The old paradigm that we are simply at the mercy of our genes is now challenged by a new age of truly individualized healthcare.  Get vital knowledge for your personalized healthcare solutions today.

What role does nutrition play in this function?

Nutrition plays a substantial role in methylation pathways, and SpectraCell's Micronutrient testing can give you an accurate stats of 33 vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  You may be able to compensate for your body's inability to methylate efficiently through targeted repletion, and micronutrient testing will provide assessment of nutritional deficiencies.  The test also allows you to identify deficiencies in other micronutrients that can be contributing toward the development and/or progression of chronic disease and keep you from feeling your best.

SpectraCell Laboratories is combining the Micronutrient Testing and MTHFR Genotyping as a special package promotion.  To find out more CLICK HERE!

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Autoimmunity, cancer cells, autoimmune diseases, telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, B Vitamins, Antioxidants, Cardiovascular Health, MTHFR Genotyping, Genotyping, Heart Disease, vitamin, nutrition testing, supplements, Chronic Disease, diabetes, immune system, expecting mothers, early pregnancy, E-zinc, breast cancer, telomere, Elderly, Dr. Ron Grabowski, Minerals, micronutrient test, Nutritional Deficiency, Cancer Prevention, Heart Health, Gastrointestinal Tract, Hormones, telomere and cancer, Spectrox, Energy, Methylation, Estrogen, Immunidex, eczema and nutrition, Alzheimers, Free Radicals, Genetics, Dr. Eva Cwynar, Women's Health

"For a Longer & Better Life You Need to Know Your Score" by J. E. Block, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, May 23, 2011 @ 10:06 AM

J. E. Block, MD, FACP resized 600That score is your telomere count. Although many of us eat and maintain a healthy life style to look and feel better, there is a superior reason. That is to be BETTER and live LONGER. One can be productive and happy as a centurion (living 100+ years). How does one know how long and well they will live? Now there is a laboratory study for it, called TELOMERE TESTING. Until recently, the test was prohibitively expensive, but now for less than $400, one can obtain their report card and intervene on life style to get a better and better score to either achieve their goal or come very close to it. The Telomere test is a simple fasting or non-fasting blood test that can be carried out in most doctor’s office. For more information contact their Client Services Department (800-227-5227) or go online to www.SpectraCell.com.

Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates. As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter. How much shorter is governed by genetic factors and environmental stressors. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die which is a normal biological process. The more of our cells die, the older and frailer we become until we ourselves die. If our reserve is depleted, we succumb to disease or just old age. The Telomere Test can determine the length of your telomeres in relation to the chronological age. The Telomere Score is calculated based on the telomere length on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This is the average compared to telomere length on lymphocytes from a sample of the American population of the same age. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells and the longer and better that person will live. Yearly, the test can be repeated and one can work harder or do other interventions that will enhance their score and their life.

Although we cannot change our genes we now can modify their expression by Lifestyle. In a study published in Nature this January scientists found the body activates a gene (P 53) that under stress shuts down our cells' normal growth and division cycle by controlling the telomere length. Diet plays a large role in this process. Micronutrients have been shown to have epigenetic effects by methylation of our DNA. The best but the most difficult is becoming a CRONI, (Caloric Restriction Optimal Nutritional Intake) to the point of just sustenance, a step away from starvation with just nutrient dense foods. Far easier and almost as good is eating correctly for your Apo E type, going easy on meat, with eating whole nutrient dense foods, as raw as possible, consumption of Omega 3s, and staying away from grains and processed foods. According to a study in the January 20, 2010 issue of JAMA, increased telomere and survival rates occurred among individuals with high dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids and established cardiovascular disease. In this 5-year study, the researchers found that individuals with the lowest DHA+EPA experienced the most rapid rate of telomere shortening, whereas those in the highest had the slowest rate of shortening. Levels of DHA+EPA were associated with less telomere shortening before and after sequential adjustment for established risk factors and potential confounders. For each 1-standard deviation increase in red cell Omega 3 levels was associated with a 32 percent reduction in the odds of telomere shortening! Although both EPA and DHA are healthy, it seems that DHA is better. So consuming Tuna or Calamari Oil, which has a 4 to 1 ratio of DHA to EPA, is superior than any of the marine oils. What we eat and supplement today becomes the biology of our future.

Minimizing emotional (psychological) and physiological (infections, trauma and surgery) stress will keep your telomeres longer and you healthier. Additionally, increasing antioxidants slows telomere shortening. Physical exercise with adequate antioxidants will also give longer telomeres. Common sense dictates that decreasing cardiovascular risk factors (Lipids, Homocysteine, Blood Pressure, Hs-C Reactive Protein, Glucose etc.) and correcting micronutrient deficencies such as Vitamins, Minerals, and Glutathione will preserve the telomere length. Periodically getting rid of our poison buildup by colonic, and liver cleanses and from the skin by sweating (artificially by sauna or by heavy exercise) and minimizing the toxins in our water, air and food will go a long way in keeping our telomeres longer. Keeping our hormones (Thyroid, Sex and Adrenal hormones) in balance and not getting sick also keeps our telomeres longer. To not get sick means keeping our immune system healthy to include the consumption of Pre and Probiotics. Surgery should be only for life saving problems and not for elective procedures since the operation and the anesthesia shortens the telomeres. Staying out of harms' way for bodily damage in our daily pursuits such as not over indulging in alcohol and dangerous sports and occupations will keep our telomeres and our lives longer.

Although it is far better to live a healthy life style, there are drugs that also have been shown to decrease our telomere shortening. The antihypertensives, Angiotension Converting Enzyme drugs such as Lisinopril and the Angiotension Recepter Blockers like Lorsartan have been shown to extend our telomeres. Likewise so has the Cholesterol lowering Statins. These drugs should be used judiciously, not to lower our lipids too much and to take concomitantly CoEnzyme Q 10. Also the diabetic medicine, Metformin, has been shown to be antiaging. But with this drug many physicians recommend using B12 too. Age is how old we are, but old is what our body is biologically. In reality it is not how old you are, but how you are when you are old that counts!

Written by J. E. Block, MD, FACP

Doc Block's Blog

docblocksblog.blogspot.com

Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, telomere, Longevity

The New York Times has Heard the Telomere Buzz

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 05:34 PM

Telomere TestingThe New York Times recently published an article about tests which measure your true biological age - SpectraCell's Telomere Analysis being one of them.  This test has been commercially available to the public and physicians since 2009.

Within the article, it mentions skeptics who doubt the usefulness of this type of genetic test.  Otto Schaefer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at SpectraCell, says the results should be seen , "...as a kind of wake-up call for the patient and the clinician to say, 'You know, you're on a rapidly aging path,' "

SpectraCell believes with these test results, therapies should be directed at slowing the loss of telomere length to slow aging and age-related diseases. Nutritional and lifestyle modifications and the control of all coronary heart disease risk factors should be considered as well as possible pharmacologic treatments.

Call 800-227-5227 or email spec1@spectracell.com to find out more about Telomere Analysis testing.

 

Topics: telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, wellness, telomere, Longevity, health, telomere and cancer

Determine How Fast You Are Aging

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 11:41 AM

True Cellular Age

What are telomeres? Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serve as a cap to your genetic material. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere will become shorter. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter life span for a cell.

What effect does telomere length have on my health and wellness?

Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.

Does diet have any effect on telomere length and repair?

An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This would include refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish and high quality vegetable proteins can prevent premature shortening. In addition, caloric restriction is advised combined with an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week may also be protective.

Aging CoupleWhat lifestyle modifications are likely to be helpful?

One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22 % for women and less than 16 % for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, discontinuation of all tobacco products and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

Telomere AnalysisHow do you measure telomere length?

The Patient Telomere Score is calculated based on the patient’s telomere length on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This is the average compared to telomere length on lymphocytes from a sample of the American population in the same age range. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells. A Telomere Score that is above the average line is desirable.

What can I do to reduce my rate of telomere loss?

Shorter telomeres have been associated with metabolic abnormalities, obesity and several degenerative diseases including cancer, dementia and cardiovascular disease. In vitro studies have shown that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which will shorten telomere length and enhance cellular aging. Minimizing associated risk factors that are linked to shortened telomere activity is recommended and include:

  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Correct micronutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin D
  • Change sedentary lifestyle/ increase physical activity
  • Avoid weight gain or obesity
  • Correct insulin resistance

Studies have shown that telomere length is strongly associated with CVD risk, nutritional deficiencies (particularly antioxidants) and cancer and testing may be a useful biomarker for risk assessment.



Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, diagnostic tools, telomere, health, telomere test, Aging, telomere and cancer

The Telomere Buzz is STILL Buzzing...

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 11:58 AM

SpectraCell Laboratories, the nation’s leading nutritional testing laboratory, offers a commercially available telomere analysis. Telomere testing is an innovative cellular aging test that measures a person’s biological age in comparison to their chronological age.

Telomere and ChromosomeTelomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that cap genetic material and serve as protective buffers that keep the ends of 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.

“Telomeres have been a hot topic for several years now because their link with aging is so strong. Doctors have shown such a persistent interest in telomere testing, especially those whose practices are oriented to anti-aging, that we knew we should invest in it. It’s really cutting edge.” says SpectraCell CEO, William “Chip” Stanberry. “We strive to offer the most informative and innovative diagnostic tests, and our new Telomere Testing is exactly that.”

Telomere CapThe phenomenon of cellular aging was first noted by Professor Lenhard Hayflick in 1961. He discovered that cells cannot divide beyond a specific number of times, a phenomenon called the Hayflick Limit, which we now know is triggered by the cell’s telomeres shortening below a specific threshold. When cells can no longer divide, conditions associated with advanced aging appear.

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. Since deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamins C, D and E can shorten telomeres, it is important 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 sedentary lifestyle and excess weight also negatively affects telomere length.

Telomere ReportSpectraCell’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 affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

Are You a Physician? Become a client and offer Telomere Testing to your patients

Are You a Patient?  Use our 'Find a Clinician' search to find a doctor in your area today

Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, diagnostic tools, telomere, health, Mortality, telomere test, telomere and cancer, Insurance