Personalized Medicine and Telomere Science
The era of genomic medicine has arrived, as well as advances in age management medicine, and telomere science. Telomeres are nucleotide base pair caps at the ends of each chromosome that protect the chromosome from degradation much like the plastic wrap at the end of a shoelace. Every time your DNA is replicated, the telomeres of the duplicate chromosome are slightly shorter than those of the original chromosome. Short telomeres are an indication of unstable chromosomes, and are highly correlated with the rate of aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, aging skin, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, macular degeneration, and impaired immunity. When immune cell telomeres are shortened, the cells lose their ability to properly fight cancer. Telomere shortening can also result in: a decreased capacity to appropriately respond to stress, decreased wound healing, and an increase in spontaneous malignancy occurrence. Therefore, the telomere length blood test may be the first relevant indicator of cellular aging by providing information on the percentage of short telomeres in your genome.
Telomere length testing is a biomarker for the rate at which you are aging, which is important to know in order to prevent early onset of degenerative diseases. There are a number of lifestyle and dietary factors that increase the rate of telomere shortening. Stress, poor dietary choices, inflammation, poor sleep, smoking and obesity accelerate the rate of telomere shortening. Hormone replacement, fish oil, antioxidants, vitamin D, exercise and a positive attitude seem to delay the shortening of telomeres.
Nutraceuticals can stimulate an enzyme known as telomerase, which elongates telomeres. Telomere elongation is correlated with better bone density, visual acuity and a stronger immune system.
If you are interested in this test, please let Dr. Marra know and she will be sure to order it for you. Be an active participant in your own age management by identifying your telomere length. Please click here for a sample report.