Why do people age at different rates? Why are some people whip smart and energetic into old age, while other people, much younger, are sick, exhausted, and foggy?
Think of the human body as a barrel full of apples. A healthy human cell is like one of these fresh, shiny apples. But what if there is a rotten apple in that barrel? Not only can’t you eat it, but worse, it will start to make the other apples around it rotten, too.
A Rotten Apple in an Apple Barrel.
The aged and dead cells behave same as the rotten apple. It’s a jinx for the healthy cells. Aging and senescent lies in the complex interactions between genes, social relationships, environments, lifestyles, and your response to the changes. You’re born with a particular set of genes, but the way you live can influence how your genes express themselves. Lifestyle factors can turn genes on or shut them off.
“Genes load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.”
TELOMERE AND HEALTHY AGEING:
Do you know the protective plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces? These are called aglets. The aglets are there to keep shoelaces from fraying. Now imagine that your shoelaces are your chromosomes, and aglet are your telomere
When your shoelace tips wear down too far, the shoelaces become unusable. You may as well throw them away. Something similar happens to cells. When telomeres become too short, the cell stops dividing altogether and die.
Telomeres do not simply carry out the commands issued by your genetic code. Your telomeres, it turns out, are listening to you. They absorb the instructions you give them. The way you live can, in effect, tell your telomeres to speed up the process of cellular aging. But it can also do the opposite. The foods you eat, your response to emotional challenges, the amount of exercise you get, whether you were exposed to childhood stress, and even the level of trust and safety in your neighborhood—all of these factors and more appear to influence your telomeres and can prevent premature aging at the cellular level.
The wonderful news is that you can step in and take some control of your telomere—
- Don’t threatened your telomere, challenge it. Reframe view of situations in a more positive way.
- Stress negatively affects your telomere. Several mind-body techniques, including meditation and Qigong, have been shown to reduce stress and to increase telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes telomeres.
- Exercise that promotes cardiovascular fitness is great for telomeres.
- Set your biological clock. Telomere need their sleep. Long sleep means long telomere. It’s Not Just Hours in Bed, Sleep Quality, Regularity, and Rhythm matters
- Telomeres hate processed meats like hot dogs, but fresh, whole foods are good for them.
- Neighbourhoods that are low in social cohesion—meaning that people don’t know and trust one another—are bad for telomeres.
- Children who are exposed to several adverse life events have shorter telomeres.
- Clinical depression and anxiety are linked to shorter telomeres.
SWITICHING LANES-Everyone’s cells become old and eventually we die. But imagine that you’re driving on a highway. There are fast lanes, there are slow lanes, and there are lanes in between. You can drive in the fast lane, barrelling toward the diseasespan at an accelerated pace. Or you can drive in a slower lane, taking more time to enjoy the weather, the music, and the company in the passenger seat. And, of course, you’ll enjoy your good health. Even if you are currently on a fast track to premature cellular aging, you can switch lanes.
One study has found that people who tend to focus their minds more on what they are currently doing have longer telomeres than people whose minds tend to wander more.
“A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
TELOMERES ARE THE PROTECTORS OF OUR CHROMOSOMES. The shorter your telomeres, the higher your risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and of dying at younger ages generally, known as all-cause mortality
TELOMERASE are the solution of telomere shrinkage. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for restoring the DNA lost during cell divisions. Telomerase makes and replenishes telomeres.
STRESS AND TELOMERE
Your cells are listening to your thoughts. People who respond to stress by feeling overly threatened have shorter telomeres than people who face stress with a rousing sense of challenge.
The more stress you are under, the shorter your telomeres and the lower your telomerase levels. It also meant that our life experiences, and the way we respond to those events, can change the lengths of our telomeres. In other words, we can change the way that we age, at the most elemental, cellular level.
Stress is unavoidable. How much of it can we handle before our telomeres are damaged? A consistent lesson from the past decade of studies—and a lesson that echoes what the caregivers taught us—is that stress and telomeres have a Dose-response relationship. If you drink alcohol, you’re familiar with dose and response. An occasional glass of wine with dinner is rarely harmful to your health and may even be beneficial, as long as you’re not drinking and driving. Drink several glasses of wine or whiskey, night after night, and the story changes. As you “dose” yourself with more and more alcohol, the poisonous effects of alcohol take over, damaging your liver, heart, and digestive system and putting you at risk for cancer and other serious health problems. The more you drink, the more damage you do.
Stress and telomeres have a similar relationship. A small dose of stress does not endanger your telomeres. In fact, short-term, manageable stressors can be good for you, because they build your coping muscles. You develop skills and confidence that you can handle challenges. Physiologically, short-term stress can even boost your cells’ health (a phenomenon called hormesis, or toughening). The ups and downs of daily life are usually not wearing to your telomeres. But a high dose of chronic stress that wears on for years and years will take its toll.
SHORTER TELOMERE: Weaker immune system, More inflammation, Cell senescent and death, Disease tissues, Cancer, Aging, Disease and poor survival
PURPOSE IN LIFE AND HEALTHY TELOMERE:
When you have a sense of purpose, you wake up in the morning with a sense of mission, and it’s easier to make decisions and plans. The people with the strongest sense of purpose in life had a more resilient stress response, less reactivity, and faster recovery.
Stronger feelings of life purpose are also related to reduced risk of stroke and improved functioning of immune cells. Life purpose is even linked to less belly fat and lower insulin sensitivity. In addition, having a higher purpose in life may inspire us to take better care of ourselves. People with greater purpose tend to get more lifesaving tests to detect early disease (such as prostate exams and mammograms), and when they do get sick, they stay in the hospital fewer days.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.”
People high in self-compassion react to stress with lower levels of stress hormones, and they have less anxiety and depression. It is found that women who wake up with feelings of joy have more telomerase.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY EFFECTS ON TELOMERE:
Clinical depression and anxiety are linked to shorter telomeres—and the more severe these disorders are, the shorter your telomeres. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes all develop earlier and faster in people with depression and anxiety. Good news is when the anxiety is resolved and the person feels better, telomeres eventually return to a normal length.
Depressed people have shorter telomeres but more telomerase in their immune cells. Give depressed people an antidepressant (an SSRI), and their high telomerase levels climb up even further! The more that telomerase goes up, the more likely it is that their depression will lift.
Depression is characterized by being stuck in the “doing mode” mind-set, including ruminative thoughts, which create a vicious cycle.
There are two basic modes of thinking, MBCT(Mindfulness based cognitive therapy) teaches- DOING MODE AND BEING MODE. There is the “doing mode,” which is what we do when we’re trying to get out of the gap between how life is and how we want it to be. But there is another mode, and that is the “being mode.” In the being mode, you can more easily control where you put your attention. Instead of frantically striving to change things, you can choose to do little things that bring you pleasure, and things that help you feel masterful and in control. Because “being” also allows you to pay more attention to people, you can more fully connect with them—a state that typically brings humans the most joy and contentment. Have you ever experienced the contentment of focusing all your attention on a small task, such as cleaning out a messy drawer? That’s what being mode feels like.
METABOLISM AND TELOMERE:
What really appears to matter to telomeres is your metabolic health. Insulin resistance and belly fat are your real enemies. IT’S THE BELLY, NOT THE BMI. Abdominal fat is more inflammatory than, say, thigh fat. The fat cells secrete proinflammatory substances that damage the cells of the immune system, making them senescent and shortening their telomeres.
Improving your metabolic health is more important than losing weight. Instead of dieting by restricting calories, focus on being physically active and eating nutritious foods.
INTENSIVE LIFESTYLE CHANGE FOR HEALHY TELOMERE:
- Stress reduction
- Exercise and recovery
- Social support
- Three minute breathing break– The lifetime of an emotion, even a very unpleasant one, is no longer than ninety seconds—unless you try to chase it away or engage with it. Then it lasts longer. It shifts your thinking away from self-focus and the doing mode and moves it toward the peaceful being mode.
- A heart focused meditation-When we breathe in, our heart rate goes up. When we exhale, our heart rate goes down. By having a longer exhalation than inhalation, we can slow our heart rate more, and we can also stimulate the vagus nerve. Breathing into our lower belly (abdominal breathing) stimulates the sensory pathways of the vagus nerve that go directly to our brain, which has an even more calming effect.
- Kirtan Kriya is a more traditional form of meditation from yoga principles that involves chanting and tapping of the fingers (called yoga mudras). Kirtan Kriya works by putting you into a state of deep concentration and producing a calm, integrated state of body and mind. Afterward, your mind feels sharper and refreshed, as if you’ve just awakened from a great night’s sleep.
- Yoga improves quality of life and mood for people across different types of illnesses, reduces blood pressure, and possibly inflammation and lipids. Yoga has recently been shown to increase spine bone density if practiced long term.
A whole-foods diet that features fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and omega-3 fatty acids is not only good for your telomeres, it also helps reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance. People with higher blood levels of omega 3, vitamin D,vitamins C and E have longer telomeres.
To get sufficient antioxidants in your diet, eat plenty of -especially citrus, berries, apples, plums, carrots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and, in smaller portions, potatoes (red or white, with the skin on). Other plant-based sources of antioxidants are beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green tea.
Choose more foods high in fiber, antioxidants, and flavenoids, like fruits and vegetables. Include foods high in omega-3, like seaweed and fish. Choose less refined sugars and red meat.
THREE CELLULAR ENEMIES- Inflammation, Insulin resistance, and Oxidative stress
- Breathe. Bring your awareness to your entire body. Ask yourself: How physically hungry am I right now?
- Rate your physical hunger on the scale of 1-10
- When you do eat, fully savor the taste of the food and the experience of eating.
- Pay attention to the hunger in your stomach, to the physical sensations of fullness and distention (“listening to the stretch receptors.”)
3. Exercise and recovery:
Exercise reduces oxidative stress and inflammation. Exercise Can Keep You in the Healthspan Longer. Two kinds of exercise stood out. Moderate aerobic endurance exercise, performed three times a week for forty-five minutes at a time, for six months, increased telomerase activity twofold. So did high-intensity interval training (HIIT), in which short bursts of heart-pounding activity are alternated with periods of recovery.
Exercise releases a newly identified hormone, Irisin, that boosts metabolism and in one study was associated with longer telomeres. Moderate exercise and fitness are clearly wonderful for telomeres.
Overtraining is not good for your telomere. Overtraining is defined by too much training time relative to rest and recovery. And it happens when you don’t support your body with enough rest, nutrition, and sleep. Some warning signs of overtraining include fatigue, moodiness, irritability, trouble sleeping, and susceptibility to injuries and illness. The cure is rest!
What is good for one person may be harmful to another. Overtraining initially creates additional oxidative stress in the body.
Exercise charges up the cell clean-up crew, so that cells have less junk build-up, more efficient mitochondria, and fewer free radicals.
If you have a high-stress life, exercise is not just good for you. It is essential. It protects you from stress-shortened telomeres.
Set Your Biological Clock. Telomeres need their sleep. Like a delicate, handmade timepiece, the SCN(Suprachiasmatic nuclei) is highly sensitive. It needs information from you to keep itself well-tuned. SCN regulates your circadian rhythms.
Light signals, which are transmitted directly to the SCN through the optic nerve, allow the SCN to set itself to a proper day/night cycle. By getting light exposure during the day, and by dimming the lights at night, you keep your SCN on schedule.
Sleep is crucial to your mind, your metabolism, and your mood. Long sleep means long telomeres. If you feel sleepy during the day, you need more sleep at night .It’s Not Just Hours in Bed, Sleep Quality, Regularity, and Rhythm matters.
Your body also depends on deep, restorative REM sleep to regulate your appetite. During REM sleep, cortisol is suppressed, and your metabolic rate increases. When you don’t sleep well, you get less REM in the second half of the night, and that results in higher levels of cortisol and insulin, which stimulate appetite and lead to greater insulin resistance. In plain terms, this means that a bad night of sleep can throw you into a temporary prediabetic state.
5. Social support:
Social world shapes our telomere. People in neighborhoods with low social cohesion and who live in fear of crime have greater cellular aging in comparison to residents of communities that are the most trusting and safe.
To ensure healthy Telomere: eat lightly ,eat wholesome, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” – .