top of page
mother nature.jpg

When It Comes to Aging,
Mother Nature Can Be a Cruel Mistress

Most folks believe that aging is a matter of wear and tear, as if our bodies were like an old, worn tire.  But aging is an active process of self-destruction.  After the body has done its job of reproducing, Mother Nature says, “Okay, you’re done! Now it’s time to get out of the way.”  Some systems actually turn against the body, destroying perfectly good tissue, as if “on purpose.” It is the body shutting itself down.  If only we kept producing the same hormones we did when we were young—which offers a compelling argument for bio-identical hormones.

Every chromosome in every cell contains a time-keeper, a tail at the end called a telomere. Each time the cell divides, that tail shortens. Cells with really short telomeres stop growing and dividing altogether, and your hourglass has run out. Short telomeres send out signals that cause inflammation. While inflammation is a natural and important part of our immune defense, when we age the inflammatory process is dialed up much too high, killing healthy cells. Too much inflammation can inflame our arteries and lead to diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Another process of aging is something called apoptosis, which is literally cell suicide. Apoptosis is also a natural and important process. Cells deliberately kill off diseased, defective, and cancerous cells—and that’s a good thing. But when we age the body can commit apoptosis on healthy muscle and nerve cells, leading to weakness of the muscles and brain.

In my opinion, there are four major links to aging, disease, and death: epigenetics, toxins, lack of proper nutrients, and stress. Genes discovered to regulate aging were related to insulin metabolism. So for a start, it is important to keep your blood sugar and insulin under control by eliminating refined carbohydrates. Speaking of diet, studies have shown that aging is slowed by calorie restriction.

To make new cells, an existing cell divides in two. It copies its DNA so the new cells will each have a complete set of genetic instructions. Cells sometimes make mistakes during the copying process—kind of like typos. These typos—called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs—lead to variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations. SNPs are our genetic Achilles’ heel, giving us a predisposition to particular diseases.  But these genetic predispositions are only ignited when put in the right environment.  This is known as epigenetics. We can now do genetic testing to find out where our weaknesses are, then reinforce them with proper nutrients and lifestyle modifications.

Toxins are another component that leads to aging. And here is where genetics and toxins collide. Besides natural metabolic toxins, environmental toxins cause free radical damage, aka oxidative stress. Like the paint on our cars when it oxidizes, rust can happen in our tissue as well. Antioxidants that protect us from chemical damage are dialed down in old age, so we don’t have enough of such enzymes as CoQ10, SOD, and glutathione. Toxic burden and free radical damage can ignite our epigenetic expression. On top of that, the mitochondria (the power plant of the cell) actually has its own DNA and insulin, and oxidative stress can mutate that DNA, causing deterioration of the power plant, leading to energy reduction, cell destruction, and heart disease.

I like to recommend three favorite anti-aging nutrients to start with. First is Bio-Fisetin by Life Extension. Fisetin health benefits include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and brain-boosting action. Real NAD+ by Avior, a Nicotinamide riboside supplement, supports the integrity of cellular mitochondria. And finally, L Carnosine by Pure Encapsulations is a dipeptide compound that supports healthy cell function by two important mechanisms: it protects cells against free radicals; inhibits protein glycation, a major cause of aging of brain, skin, and other body tissues; and supports normal function.


NOTE: Taking carnosine along with medications used for lowering high blood pressure or blood sugar might cause your blood pressure or blood sugar to drop too low.  If you are taking such medications, do not take too much carnosine without consulting your physician.



The antioxidants in our bodies protect us from free radicals. Telomeres seem to be particularly sensitive to free radical damage. The more antioxidants we have available to combat those unwanted free radicals, the better and healthier our bodies can function. Here are a few in the literature:

Vitamin D3 has been shown to increase telomerase activity in overweight Americans. In this 2012 study, vitamin D3 was shown to improve telomere maintenance and prevent cell death, and counteract obesity-induced acceleration of cellular aging.

Astragalus has been found to stimulate telomerase activity.

Multiple studies of a natural organic compound called astragalus found the supplement has been shown to improve telomerase activation. Astragalus root can be found in China and for over 1,000 years has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine to help multiple conditions of aging.

Like other types of cells in our body, the immune cells can lose their ability to divide over time as the telomerase on our chromosomes become progressively shorter with each cell division. As a result, our disease-fighting immune cells become compromised with age, leaving us prone to infections and cancers.

Clinical studies out of UCLA found that astragalus root can prevent or slow the progression of loss of telomeres and key immune cells, making them a weapon to fight viruses like HIV. Similar to astragalus, extracts of cycloastragenol can increase telomerase activity.

Previous studies have shown that injecting the telomerase gene into the immune cells (T cells) in our body can help keep the telomeres from getting shorter and enabling them to maintain their anti-viral functioning longer.

In 1999 Turkish researchers found a substance collected by honeybees called propolis may affect the enzyme telomerase. Researchers found that the highest concentration of propolis, 60 ng /mL, significantly decreased telomerase expression.

The omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve telomere length. A study at the University of California in San Francisco in 2010 reported that patients who had higher levels of omega-3 fats in their blood had significantly less shortening of telomeres than those who had had low levels and their blood. The best sources for supplementing with omega-3 are wild salmon, cod, and sardines. Try to get around 3 grams of omega-3 (DHA/EPA) every day.

In a study in 2009 published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, resveratrol was found to enhance telomerase activity. Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes and blueberries.

A study from Poland in 2010 showed silymarin supported telomerase activity. Silymarin, the key active compound in milk thistle, is one of the most potent liver protective substances known. Silymarin has been shown to increase glutathione production in the liver by around 30%, thus increasing the antioxidant and detoxification capabilities.

Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, and beta carotene (vitamin A precursor) have also been shown to be protective against inflammation. Minerals like selenium and zinc also have an antioxidant effect on our bodies.


Here are Four Strategies to Boost Telomerase Activity

Eat a low-inflammatory diet, which is low in bad fats, sodium, and refined sugars. This diet should consist of colorful vegetables and some fruits, and healthy fats like almonds and walnuts. In other words, follow our FRESH Diet.

Exercise for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity per day. Studies have shown that moderate aerobic activity improves telomerase activity and your antioxidant defenses by helping to maintain telomere length.

Practice different types of stress management, for example: yoga; biofeedback with breathing exercises; or any other ways to deal with stress in a healthy way. People who practice stress management have shown increased telomerase activity.

Take prescription-grade antioxidant supplements like: Mitoblast 2TA-65 (astragulus), Resveratrol, Omega -3 fish oils, and vitamin D3. Please ask our nutritionist at our centers for the proper dosing for your specific health concerns.

In conclusion, a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, which are known to promote inflammation and oxidative stress, will adversely affect our telomerase functionality. Fortunately, strategies that lower inflammation and oxidative stress—like low inflammatory diets, centered around low glycemic index foods and whole plants; key supplements; regular moderate exercise; and stress management—can help restore your telomerase activity back to when your body was younger, lowering your disease potential and helping you feel more youthful and vibrant.

bottom of page