January 27, 2012
In the process of researching my latest book, Zia’s M.A.P. (Master Anti-aging Plan) for Growing Younger, I discovered that the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 was awarded to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak for the discovery of “how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.” Now, I can hear you asking, “How is this going to make me look younger?”
Good question. Specifically, the three scientists asked how chromosomes that carry our genes are copied during cell division and protected from breakdown. If your cells don’t breakdown, you don’t get sick or AGE.
The study continued a similar one that had been done in 1930 when researchers discovered that the “ends” of chromosomes appeared to play a role in their protection. The “ends” were named telomeres by researcher Hermann Muller. However, no understanding emerged at that time to explain how telomeres acted to protect chromosomes. Skip forward seventy-nine years to the discovery of how the unique DNA sequence in telomeres does exactly that.
The second part of the study showed how telomeres could be extended by the enzyme that forms them: telomerase. The ability to “extend” the very things that cause our bodies to deteriorate, breakdown and age, opens the door to future breakthroughs in longevity. Since both telomeres and tolomerase play a major role in disease, this study will hopefully lead to insights and methods of prevention.
A current UCSF study lead by Elizabeth Blackburn, found that “comprehensive lifestyle changes – a healthy diet, stress management and exercise – increased telomerase activity” in just three months. These are the very things I have been touting for over thirty years! I knew they worked but now know how!
To read more about this exciting new study and how it may impact the future of aging and health, go to http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2011/02/9431/aging-telomeres-linked-chronic-disease-and-health.
And stay tuned!