Let's start with telomeres!
A telomere is a compound structure found at the end of our chromosomes in our DNA. The purpose of a telomere is to protect the chromosomes on each DNA strand from sticking to each other, by forming a protective cap-like structure. The telomeres protect our genetic code every time our cells divide by keeping the vital DNA information intact on our chromosomes. Without telomeres, important DNA information would be lost during cell division. To protect the telomeres during this process our cells produce a vital enzyme called telomerase to help keep our cells dividing, and to lengthen the life of our telomeres. This is a very important point to consider because a telomere will eventually become too short. Without the enzyme telomerase, the cells will eventually stop dividing, and become inactive or die. This loss of protection will speed up the ageing process. This is the reason why some people of the same age can look older or younger than each other, one person's telomeres have shortened more quickly than their peers.
What Causes our Telomeres to shorten?
When our telomeres shorten, intrinsic ageing occurs, and the intrinsic ageing process itself is dependent on your genes. Remember, telomeres shorten everytime a cell divides, and the enzyme telomerase keeps the telomeres from shortening too rapidly. But over time, due to each cell division, the telomere ends do become shorter because their purpose is to protect the gene on the chromosome.
The greatest factors that affect the overall length of our telomeres and telomerase activity is lifestyle. Factors such as obesity, a high stress environment, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, air pollution, and little physical activity will have an impact on your overall health, and this includes the health of your cells. These lifestlye components also impact the extrinsic ageing process.
What are the best practices to maintain our health as we age?
Lifestyle is the most important point to consider.
* maintain a healthy weight for your body
* soothe your senses through daily meditation, and journaling; weekly hobbies; and monthly facials
* limit your alcohol consumption and avoid binge drinking each week
* eat a healthy diet that contains essential fats, lean protein, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables
* maintain an adequate sleep schedule of at least 8 hours a night
* daily exercise
* keep your cells hydrated by drinking water
You have the tools at your disposal to slow down the ageing process in your body. Do you have the determination to make the appropriate changes to your lifestyle?