Telomeres and Ageing. Does length really matter?

How many times have you heard, or said yourself that something is ‘in the genes’ and therefore you are destined to have it?

What if you had more control over your health and ageing than you thought?

Have you heard of telomeres?

Telomeres, simply put, are the ends of a chromosome. Like the ends of shoelaces, they protect the chromosome and prevent them from sticking to each other. Telomeres wear down. When they become short, cells stop multiplying. This sends out a signal to the body. The body suffers as it cannot replenish cell tissue. The result is disease and ageing.

Genes play a small role in your bodies condition and there are some things that you can inherit, but mostly the genes are like a blueprint. It shows what traits you have inherited from your parents but it doesn’t mean it has to be. More importantly, it’s been discovered, it’s HOW you live your life that controls if you are destined to head in the same direction as your forefathers, health wise, or not.

It is how you look after your mind, body and spirit that dictates how you age and what diseases you will get in the future or the severity of the conditions you do have.

For example, you may have three generations of people in your family that have suffered from type 2 diabetes, your genes might say you at a much higher risk than normal of having it. However, if you look after your diet, state of mind and exercise, you will not get it.

In their book The Telomere Effect, Nobel prize winner Dr Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr Elissa Epel say that we have control over what shortens our telomeres and therefore what makes us age faster and prone to more diseases and cancer.

They found that people who are pessimistic, hostile, suppress their thoughts and feelings all have short telomeres.

People who consume a lot of sugar, especially soft drinks, processed food, too much meat and animal based products, have shorter telomeres.

People who are overweight and do not exercise, have shorter telomeres.

Lacking a sense of safety. Being threatened, on edge, prolonged stress, lacking support, have shorter telomeres.

They do, however, tell you how to maintain your telomeres for longer.

A vegetable based diet with plenty of vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Plenty of exercise and activities.

Meditation, mindfulness, stress management and positive thinking.

A good support network.

Their book and interviews are fascinating and go into plenty of detail about what you can and shouldn’t do.


Check the links below.

For me, I feel empowered knowing I have more control over my health and ageing. That disease and other health matters are not inevitable.




The Telomere Effect. Buy on Amazon here

Interview Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr Elissa Epel here


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