What are Telomeres?

Shoelaces, photo taken in Sweden

Image via Wikipedia

Think of your genes being a shoelace. At the end of the shoelace is a piece of plastic. Once the plastic is gone the shoelace may fray faster.

Telomeres are the part of a gene—like the plastic at the end of a shoelace— that can slow down the natural aging of a gene.

In 2009 Dr Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of San Francisco was the co-winner of a Nobel Prize for discoveries related to telomeres

In a recent article in the New York Times there was a headline “Blood Test for age indicator likened to “check engine light” The point is that we now have blood tests to check the length of telomeres. The shorter it is, the more likely it is that your lifespan will be reduced.

The test can be done via Spectra Cell Labs in Houston. It costs $290 USD. Not all experts agree that the test is reliable. Nevertheless it may well be like a warning light on the dashboard.

There are three practical ways to keep your telomeres healthy: eat fish which is high in omega -3 supplements; exercise daily for at least 30 minutes; eat 9-10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

From the Cooper Clinic in Dallas this week we have interesting data on heart disease.  People in their 40’s and 50’s were studied. If a man can run one mile in 8 minutes he is fit. If a woman can run one mile in 9 minutes she is fit. In this group the lifetime risk of heart disease is only 10% –as opposed to 30% in other groups where the best time for a mile is only 10-12 minutes.

One word of caution: check with your doctor first if you have never tried to run a mile as fast as you can.

Once again, to know how old you really are see www.realage.com

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2011-05-26T18:10:38+00:00 May 26th, 2011|General|


  1. failed fat lady Jun 19 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Nice Blog with Excellent information

    • Dr. Peter Nieman Jun 19 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your kind words. Please visit often

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