The interest in DNA over the last 5 years has grown exponentially because it provides an additional tool to personalize both integrative health programs as well as provide preventative care for patients. Dr. Ruthie Harper used breakthrough’s from the human genome project to create SKINSHIFT, the only genetically designed skincare program that uses your genetic strengths and weaknesses to create a personalized skin care program just for you. The clinical results from approaching skincare in this way have been remarkable (see “before and after” pictures on skinshift.com). Shortly after launching SKINSHIFT, a DNA based macular degeneration test was released to help identify those at higher risk for vision loss related to this disease process (http://www.sequenomcmm.com/amd). This further validated the value of looking at a person’s genetics to focus care. And now, we are seeing an increasing amount of research on how the length of our DNA or telomeres can affect how well we age and how long we live.
Telomeres are a critical region at the end of each DNA strand that provides protection for our DNA as our cells replicate. As our DNA replicates throughout our lifetime our telomeres shorten. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and cell death occurs. With cell death, aging occurs. The shorter our telomeres become, the less longevity we have and the more predisposed we become to the aging process and its associated diseases. So a goal for healthy aging and disease prevention is to keep out telomeres long and healthy.
An exciting new laboratory test allows physicians to document telomere length. Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of the length of an individuals telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may then be implemented to slow aging and age-related diseases. By documenting telomere length with objective testing, healthy aging can be established for each individual and protocols to support healthy aging can be designed and objectively followed.
The good news is that telomere length can be impacted through nutritional supplementation. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2009 showed that women who took a daily multivitamin had longer telomeres. In addition vitamins C and E were specifically associated with longer telomere length. In addition, pterostilbene a natural supplement which contains a relative of the antiaging nutrient resveratrol appears to be able to protect telomere length. By combining pterostilbene with its sister compound resveratrol and a high quality multivitamin, the body is provided a higher level of support for healthy aging and preservation of telomere length. These nutrients have become an important part of both our nutrition programs and integrative health care services. Feel free to contact us to learn more about telomere testing, protecting your telomere length and protocols for healthy aging 512 343 9355.