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Is it really possible to reverse the aging process so we can live longer, healthier lives? The search for that elusive fountain of youth has been on since time immemorial.
Well, the good news is: scientists today have much better information as to what causes aging, and thus, found ways we can reverse the aging process… cell by cell.
One of the most recent discoveries is on telomere shortening, which is said to determine the lifespan of every cell in the body.
Let’s look more closely inside the cell. Inside the center or nucleus of a cell, our genes are located on twisted, double-strands of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect our genetic data, making it possible for cells to divide.
Each time a cell divides, it makes a copy of the DNA. The problem is that the process isn’t perfect. Every time a cell divides, it loses a little bit at the end.
If cells were to divide without telomeres, they would lose a chunk of critical and functional DNA with each cell division. The telomeres are “junk DNA” that act as sacrificial lambs for DNA duplication. The telomeres are like the plastic caps at the end of your shoelaces, which prevent the laces from unravelling. Similarly, the telomeres prevent the chromosome ends fraying and sticking to each other, which would scramble the genetic information, causing cancer, other diseases or death.
When the telomeres get too short, the cell can no longer divide and becomes inactive or “senescent” or dies.
Now many scientists are jumping on the anti aging wagon by finding to increase the length of the telomeres in our cells. Word of caution though: The reason why cancer cells do not die is because the cells have activated an enzyme called telomerase which helps to lengthen the telomeres. So is it even good to increase telomere length? Maybe not as 90% of cancer cells do it.
What we do want to do is slow down the reduction in the length of our telomeres.
Research has shown that chronic oxidative stress not only causes progressive damage to cellular membranes, proteins, and molecules, but also induces the slowing down of existing telomerase activity and accelerates telomere shortening.
What is oxidative stress? This is the damage to DNA, proteins and lipids (fatty substances) caused by oxidants, which are highly reactive substances containing oxygen. These oxidants are produced normally when we breathe, and also result from inflammation, infection and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.
The cell’s primary defense against oxidative stress is the glutathione (GSH)-dependent antioxidant system, which plays a major role in detoxification and bolstering the body’s immune system.
Chronic oxidative stress develops into a state of progressive telomere shortening induced by elevated homocysteine levels, and reduced glutathione, or an otherwise compromised GSH-redox cycle.
Because the GSH-antioxidant system is the predominant guardian against oxidative stress, it is proposed that maintaining its integrity can support against telomere erosion and “stress-induced” premature onset of accelerated aging.
One interesting study done by a group of Danish researchers on 41 centenarians, aged between 100 to 105, when compared with people aged 60 to 79 years old was a presence of higher levels of glutathione in the first group.
If you want to know more on how to raise your glutathione level so you can live longer and beat almost any disease, go to Glutathione4Health.