In the previous post, (Anti) aging naturally- part 1, telomeres and their role in biological aging were discussed. Telomere shortening or dysfunction has been linked with the development of diseases, including cardiovascular illness, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. But just as there are factors that speed up the shortening of telomeres, researchers have found there are also ways to preserve the length of telomeres, thus promoting longevity.
Consider the following:
1) Telomere length is influenced by nutritional status. Well nourished mothers help ensure optimal telomere length in their babies, while malnourished mothers do the opposite. This reiterates the importance of ensuring optimal health prior to becoming pregnant or becoming pregnant again.
2) Folate is an important vitamin required for DNA synthesis and repair. It helps form the building blocks of DNA, and is an essential nutrient recommended to women of child-bearing age. A study from The Journal of Nutrition found that men with the highest levels of folate in their blood had the longest telomeres when compared to those with the lowest levels.
3) A study looking at 2,100 female twins has found that higher vitamin D levels in the body are associated with longer telomere length. The highest levels of vitamin D were associated with the longest telomeres, while the lowest vitamin D levels were associated with the shortest telomeres, a difference equal to 5 years of lifespan potential. But before you go and buy vitamin D supplements, speak to your naturopathic or medical doctor about having your vitamin D levels tested. Too much vitamin D may cause kidney stones and other ailments. It’s necessary to know your status so the appropriate dosage can be prescribed. Click here to learn more about vitamin D deficiency.
4) Intense, unmanaged stress can cause rapid, premature aging. Of course, we all experience stress in some form each day, but what happens when we are chronically under loads of pressure? People are often dealing with long work hours, school or work pressure, frequent air travel, and relationship issues. Some may face a life crisis, long illness or continuing difficult situation. These people quite frequently complain of similar ailments: low energy or burn-out, irritability, poor or unrestful sleep, premature grey hair, hair loss, anxiety, sudden food intolerances or allergies, etc. Is there any way to address these symptoms and help the body adapt to stressful factors while minimizing the damage from these factors?Adaptogens, which increase our ability to deal with stress and exhibit stress-protective activity, are the answer. Examples of adaptogens include medicinal herbs such as Rhodiola, Schisandra and Siberian Ginseng. If you are experiencing chronic or intense stress, ask your naturopathic doctor which adaptogens are appropriate for you. These, taken at the right dosage for your individual constitution, can help combat the ill effects that stress is putting on your body.