Arguments continue among the best and brightest scientists concerning the question: Is aging unstoppable.
If you think about it, that question has already been answered in a functional way. There are several mammalian cell lines that have been made “immortal” simply by turning on telomerase and expressing it at a higher level than normal. Most surprising is the absence of increased cancer in many of these experiments.
If you look closely at the scientific literature, the question of whether telomerase causes cancer has already been answered many times over with a fairly resounding “No, telomerase does not cause cancer!” It has been almost 8 years since a scientific paper has raised that question. Understand this is different than commentary, different than blogging, different than social media and all the other places where people get their “information” these days.
Just like there are still people who are dedicated to the notion that telomerase might cause cancer, there are also people dedicated to the “Anti-Anti-Aging” agenda. This group ranges from the “We should all die to make room for the youth” to the “Well we might live forever but telomerase is NOT the answer” crowd.
To the first group, I say, “Put your name on a list and we’ll make sure you don’t get anything that would prolong your health span and life span – then you can die happy in the fact that you’ve made room for someone else”.
To the second group, I say, “Well then, show me what the answer is and please show me anything else that has immortalized cell lines or added life and health span to mammals.”
The recent issues surrounding the failure of calorie restriction to deliver the former should be noted. Increasing health span (how long you are healthy) with increasing life span is the bailiwick of telomerase expression alone.
And if you think about it, if you could be healthier while living longer, why not?
Now it’s time for a couple of concepts that have been really hard for me to get across.
1) Aging has been partially reversed in living mammals (mice) by increasing telomerase expression. In at least two separate studies (Ron DePinho and Maria Blasco) the reversals were dramatic. Additionally, Dr Blasco later showed that mice are indeed a valid model for human aging, shutting down the argument that “mice don’t age by telomere loss”. Yes, they do and I have detailed that study for you in other blogs and plan to discuss it directly with Dr Blasco in the next couple of weeks again.
2) Telomere loss is the result of two main things: cellular replication and direct damage that can happen pretty much any time.
Cellular replication is unstoppable and a necessary part of being alive. The only way to slow down the loss of telomere segments during replication, which is always there and always chewing away at them, is with a Telomerase Activator such as TA-65.
The rest of the damage is environmental/lifestyle and can be slowed down by proper lifestyle choices including stress relief, exercise, nutrition and so on. But this is only going to slow the process, not reverse it.
Recently I saw yet another blog that said, “Fish oil leads to longer telomeres!” By now you should know I am a huge champion of fish oil. I would love nothing better than to see it “lengthen telomeres”. But it does not. It slows down the loss. This is huge and meaningful and wonderful, but it’s not TA-65!
The problem arises because, compared to the people who did not take fish oil, the ones that did have “longer telomeres”. But no one looked at their telomere length to begin with, only after the fact in the two groups. If they had, they would see that concept #1- telomere loss due to cellular replication caused BOTH groups to have shorter telomeres than when they started, so NO ONE actually had longer telomeres than when they started. The fish oil group had longer telomeres than the other group at the end of the study when they were measured but still lost telomere length overall due to cellular replication.
There is no easier way to explain it!
OK so what is the bottom line?
1) Aging can and has been stopped by telomerase activation to lengthen critically short and eventually most telomere lengths. In this way you can stop the #1 loss – replication.
2) TA-65 is the only compound with solid human (or actually ANY human) data showing its effects on telomere length and causing health benefits in human beings that correlate with “anti-aging” effects. TA-65 increases telomerase expression.
3) Live organisms have had their life spans extended past what is known to be the maximum in the wild and in the lab by increased telomerase expression with no increases in cancer.
4) Health span and health parameters parallel each other from human cell lines to mammals to human beings – with similar systems being improved, including: immune, skin, brain, behavior, inflammation, sugar handling, fat handling.
5) Fish oil, especially fish oil, has been shown to slow telomere loss in meaningful (clinical) fashion as well as some other antioxidants, but none have shown increased telomere length in humans. Slowing down loss is NOT THE SAME as adding length. But when you look at oxidative environments, antioxidants and Omega 3’s can reverse some of this damage and telomerase seems to take care of the rest.
What steps should you take to lengthen your telomeres or at least slow the loss?
Read our book The Immortality Edge if you are not already clear on what lifestyle modifications matter.
Next, get and take enough fish oil to reverse the omega3 deficit in your body. If you are not sure where you stand, then get our Ideal Omega test and find out. Yes, you can also reduce your Omega 6 intake to a great extent and this will be included in both of my forthcoming books.
If not, then focus on things like Vitamin D and CoQ 10 to boost your antioxidant defenses.
I firmly believe that aging can be stopped in humans. I also believe that it will take baby steps first to get there and yes, we are in the “baby step” age right here, right now. But if you don’t take those baby steps now you may not be able to walk or run when the time comes.
Curr Aging Sci. 2013 Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Telomere Shortening Is a Sole Mechanism of Aging In Mammals.
Mikhelson VM, Gamaley IA.