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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A window to your cellular age -SpectraCell’s Telomere Test

What does Telomere Testing measure?

Telomeres are sections of genetic material 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. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die - a normal biological process.

SpectraCell’s Telomere Test- The ONLY commercially available telomere analysis in the United States, can be ordered through our office. 323 661 1183.

SpectraCell’s Telomere Test can determine the length of a patient’s telomeres in relation to the patient’s age

What are the nutritional implications on telomere length and repair?
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. In addition, it is advised to reduce total daily caloric intake and implement an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week is recommended.

What 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 are strongly recommended. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

When should retesting be considered?
Testing should be done once per year to evaluate the rate of aging and make adjustments in nutrition, nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise and other lifestyle modifications known to influence telomere length.

What role will nutritional supplements play in slowing telomere shortening?
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. Increasing antioxidant capacity at the cellular level is critical to maintaining telomere length.

Recent evidence suggests that a high quality and balanced multivitamin will also help maintain telomere length. Specifically, studies have linked longer telomeres with levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant resveratrol. In addition, homocysteine levels have been inversely associated with telomere length, suggesting that reducing homocysteine levels via folate and vitamin B supplementation may decrease the rate of telomere loss. Similarly, conditions such as cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and even dementia affect telomere length. Correcting subclinical nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to such diseases is crucial for telomere maintenance.

Read our article on this blog called : Sirtuins and Anti-Aging for information on healthy support.

What pharmacologic treatments are known to slow telomere aging?
•Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI)
•Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB)
•Renin Inhibitors
•Possibly Calcium channel blockers
•Possibly Serum aldosterone receptor antagonists
•Possibly metformin
•Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Control all known coronary heart disease risk factors to optimal levels
•Reduce LDL cholesterol to about 70 mg %, decrease
•LDL particle number and increase LDL particle size.
•Reduce oxidized LDL.
•Increase HDL to over 40 mg % in men and over 50 mg % in women and increase HDL 2 subfraction. Reduce inflammatory HDL and increase protective HDL.
•Reduce fasting blood glucose to less than 90 mg % and 2 hour post prandial or 2 hour GTT to less than 110 mg %. Keep Hemoglobin A1C to about 5.0% and keep insulin levels low.
•Reduce blood pressure to about 120/ 80 mm Hg
•Reduce homocysteine to less than 8 um/L
•Reduce HS-CRP to less than 1.0
•Maintain ideal body weight and composition.
•Stop smoking.
•Treat insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Overall recommendations to maintain telomere length
Some clinicians have recommended reducing all known coronary risk factors, inflammation, oxidative stress, ADMA levels and angiotensin II levels or its action. At the same time, therapy should increase nitric oxide levels and nitric oxide bioavailability, increase arginine, increase endothelial progenitor cells, improve mitochondrial function and increase oxidative defenses. In addition, one should optimize hormone levels, exercise, sleep, nutrition and nutritional supplements. Fasting and caloric restriction should be part of the regimen as well.

By Sandy Henderson

Telomeres and Becoming Immortal

The history of science is filled with mistakes–usually based on poor assumptions, which require ingenuity and imagination to overcome. The field of cancer is no exception. In very early work (before the 1960’s) scientists believed cells isolated from organisms possessed the ability to proliferate indefinitely. Of course, there were signs suggesting otherwise, especially when a few scientists noticed that cells given to them from colleagues seemed to stop proliferating after only a few weeks worth of growth.

Whenever this problem was discussed, it was assumed that the growing conditions in that laboratory insufficiently represented the cell’s natural conditions, and therefore caused these cells to stop proliferating. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1960s, that Leonard Hayflick’s pioneering work challenged this assumption. Hayflick discovered that connective tissue cells (fibroblasts) isolated from an organism possessed only a limited proliferative ability and, in fact, these cells would only pass through a predetermined number of division cycles. No matter what he did, these cells stopped any further proliferation. These fibroblasts were not dead, but stuck in a state of stasis, no longer possessing the ability to divide.

Hayflick’s work demonstrated that the previous assumption that all cells have an unlimited proliferative ability was wrong. In fact, Hayflick’s work lead to our current understanding of cells in which, cells possess an internal clock mechanism capable of counting the number of divisions a cell has made and stops any further divisions after a set number (Termed: The Hayflick limit).

So cells have an internal clock, what does this mean? Scientists quickly realized there was a link between the internal clock in cells, aging and cancer. The idea is, as we age our cells replicate, divide and eventually die. The older we get, the older our cells get. Infants have ‘young’ cells and adults have ‘older’ cells. This process arises through the normal wear and tear with age, termed biological aging. However, cancer cells are an exception.

One of the hallmarks of cancer is its ability to grow and divide without any constraints. An internal clock would be a pretty big restraint. For all intents and purposes cancer has lost its internal clock. Without its internal clock, cancer can grow and divide forever—it’s now immortal. Cells in our body aren’t immortal for a reason: DNA damage. We know DNA damage happens all the time, and one way we’ve evolved to protect ourselves from DNA damage is the internal clock. Ideally, if a cell has DNA damage it won’t be passed on to great number of cells because there is a limited number of division that cell can make before the clock kicks in and stops any further divisions. This way DNA damage is contained to few cells. Without the internal clock cells with DNA damage expand uncontrollably.

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