SpectraCell Blog

Vitamin D Linked to Longer Telomeres, Suggests Study

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, May 31, 2017 @ 01:59 PM


Telomere.pngTelomeres – the protective DNA caps on every chromosome which shorten over time as a cell ages – have been correlated with chronic diseases in hundreds of studies.  A shorter telomere equates to an aging cell, and the cumulative effect of this may manifest as the degenerative diseases commonly associated with aging, including heart disease, cancer and dementia.  Low vitamin D has also been linked to several chronic diseases.  In this study, researchers sought to link the two – low vitamin D and shorter telomeres.  Telomere length was measured via PCR (polymerase chain reaction) on 4260 American adults ranging in age from 20 years old to over 60.  In the age group of 40-59 years, blood levels of vitamin D were correlated to telomere length.  In other words, higher vitamin D = longer telomeres. 

In a different study on participants from the same government-sponsored  survey (NHANES, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), 4347 American adults were evaluated for vitamin D levels and telomere length.  After adjusting for common demographic factors (age, race, education), higher vitamin D was linked to longer telomeres.  However, after adjusting for common physical factors (smoking, BMI, activity levels), no correlation was seen.  This suggests that vitamin D may very well be correlated with telomere length, but other factors play such a big role in healthy aging (such as not smoking or getting regular exercise) that these factors make the vitamin D-telomere connection less clear.

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Has a Modest Positive Association with Leukocyte Telomere Length in Middle-Aged US Adults. Link to ABSTRACT.

The association of telomere length and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in US adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Link to ABSTRACT. Link to FREE FULL TEXT. 



 

Topics: Vitamin D, telomere length, DNA, Anti-Aging, Longer Telomeres, Degenerative Diseases, Age Management

Exercise: A Fountain Of Youth?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 @ 02:25 PM

Everyone knows that exercise is good for health: after all, it not only does the obvious (burns calories and builds strength), it furthermore helps balance hormones, lifts mood, and fights depression. Did you know that it also has a role in maintaining memory and cognitive function as we age?  A new study has shed light on yet another interesting way that exercise helps keep one young.  Researchers recently found that physical activity may help preserve telomeres, the strands of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protect genetic material from unraveling (like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelace). Each time a cell divides (a process that happens during cellular growth or repair), telomeres in that cell get a tiny bit shorter as DNA is lost, and shorter telomeres = faster aging. The cell is programmed to die when telomeres get too short. The cumulative effect of this process in cells throughout the body manifests as diseases of aging, and this is the reason for the preponderance of studies connecting telomere length with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. 

Fortunately, there are ways to protect these cellular “clocks.” Recent research suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with shorter telomeres. In one study, scientists observed 1,481 older women (average age was 79 years old) and correlated telomere length with sedentary time. They found that among generally inactive women, the more sedentary the lifestyle, the shorter the telomeres (meaning they were aging faster). However - despite stretches of time engaged in sedentary activities (working at a desk, for example) - engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity somewhat regularly appears to offer protection against shorter telomeres. In other words, 30 minutes of activity in a day despite inactivity most of the rest of the day (as in working at a computer or watching TV) did not contribute to cellular aging.  From a cellular standpoint, it truly does appear that a little exercise goes a long way.

Interested in knowing your true biological age? Find out with our Telomere Test
GET TESTED


 

Topics: telomere length, Telomere testing, Fountain of Youth, biological age, premature aging

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

Telomeres, Hormones and Aging

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 @ 10:51 AM

Guest blog by: Dr. Mike Carragher

Telomere TestingTelomere length gives us a unique view of how your cells are aging.  Knowing this can help you decide how aggressive your anti-aging program should be.

Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates. Think of the plastic tip of shoelaces, protecting the shoelace.  Telomeres protect chromosomes in the same way.  As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die – a normal biological process.

Telomere testing measures the ‘biological age’ of your cells.  It is one of the newest advancements in age management and anti-aging. It’s a simple blood test. Telomere testing determines the length of a person’s telomeres in relation to their age.

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.  Therefore it has a role in any anti-aging/age management program.

Hormones & TelomeresHormones and Telomere Length
Scientists have found that telomerase, the enzyme that repairs and regulates telomeres, is controlled and activated by hormones.  Therefore, in order to keep ourselves healthy and with a high quality of life, I believe we must maintain all our hormones at optimal levels. Letting those hormones drop is to let the telomeres get short. When telomeres get short, cells age. Aging causes disease, and death follows.  Studies show that optimal levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen levels help preserve telomere length.

Optimal Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels are also associated with telomere length.  A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism looked at 2744 men and found that telomere length was positively associated with serum IGF-1 levels.  IGF-1 is the indirect measurement of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body. This positive association is reassuring to me when it comes to optimizing HGH levels.

Nutrition & TelomereNutrition and Telomere Length
An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This includes 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 will help preserve telomere length.

Lifestyle and Telomere Length
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 targeted aerobic and resistance exercise, using burst training to optimize human growth hormone release, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night to optimize hormones, stress reduction to optimize cortisol, and discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended.

NutritionNutritional Supplements and Telomere Length
Oxidative stress will shorten telomere length and cause aging in cellular tissue. Antioxidant supplements can potentially reduce oxidative stress very effectively, which will ultimately improve oxidative defenses, mitochondrial function, reduce inflammation and slow vascular aging. Targeted supplementation is key, as antioxidants work synergistically and must be balanced to work most effectively and avoid inducing a pro-oxidant effect. My favorite antioxidants are Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Melatonin, and Marine Krill Oil.

When Should Testing Be Considered?
I recommend testing once per year to evaluate the rate of aging and make adjustments in hormonal optimization, nutrition, nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise and other lifestyle modifications known to influence telomere length.

To learn more about telomere and micronutrient testing, please visit our website at www.spectracell.com.

Dr. Mike Carragher

 

Dr. Mike Carragher, M.D.- The Body Well

For more information about our client Dr. Carragher, please visit his blog or contact him at (323) 874-9355.

Topics: micronutrient testing, telomere length, Nutrition, telomere, telomere test, Hormones, Oxidative Stress, Aging, Dr. Mike Carragher

NBC's TODAY Show Interviews SpectraCell

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 @ 03:38 PM

The TODAY Show and SpectraCellNBC's The TODAY Show will air a segment on Aging and Telomere Testing tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th between 8:00am - 9:00am EDT (7:00am - 8:00am CDT). Film crews were in Houston last week interviewing SpectraCell's clients and corporate personnel and filming our lab operations. Currently, SpectraCell is the only commercial lab offering this highly advanced diagnostic test in the United States.

Tune in tomorrow to catch a glimpse of our television interview. We highly anticipate a large influx of consumer website visitors from TODAY's 5 million+ viewers. We will be directing all patient inquiries for Telomere Testing to our Find-A-Clinician database listed on our homepage.

Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, The TODAY Show, NBC

"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

Telomere Lengthening Captures the Attention of ABC News and the World

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Dec 09, 2010 @ 11:03 AM

TelomeresTelomere testing and reducing the rate of shortening has captured the attention of mainstream media. Have we found the secret to the Fountain of Youth? Read the following news excerpt from November 29th’s news report:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Alzheimers/aging-reversed-mice/story?id=12269125

You can determine how fast you and your patients are aging with Telomere Testing from SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc.  

Are you considering implementing telomere testing in your practice? If so, what protocol will you follow for patients that show an advanced rate of telomere shortening?

Topics: telomere length, Telomere testing, telomere