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Living a Healthful Life may help to Lengthen Telomeres and Lifespans

By  , NPR.org
Sep 18, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Some lifestyle changes that can help increase life span include low-fat diets, reducing stress and exercise.
  • Without the presence of telomeres, the cells would lose their ability to divide and would therefore, quickly die.
  • Good habits prevent chromosomes in the cells from unraveling.
  • Telomeres provide protection to the ends of chromosomes.
 

More

Scientists have evidence that explains why changes in lifestyle are known to be good for an individual; some of these lifestyle changes including low-fat diets, reducing stress and exercise.

Ways to increase lifespanResearchers were able to come to this conclusion based on a small, exploratory study. They said that good habits prevent chromosomes in the cells from unraveling. Healthy living can therefore, help to reverse the effects of ageing at a genetic level.

The researches added that it was all about the little caps that exist on the chromosomes called telomeres that work like plastic tips of shoelaces to provide protection to the ends of chromosomes or strings of genes in the heart of each cell that instruct it what to do. Without the presence of telomeres, the cells would lose their ability to divide and would therefore, quickly die.

As people as well as other animals get older, their telomeres get shorter and shorter. This, scientists believe is not just a marker of ageing but an important driver of senescence. Dean Ornish from the University of California, San Francisco said that things that are bad for one’s health can enhance the shortening of telomeres.
"Smoking makes your telomeres shorter, and emotional stress is associated with shorter telomeres, and lack of exercise," Ornish says. "And we know that shorter telomeres are associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases and a shorter lifespan."

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