You may be able to keep your telomeres long

One of the areas of research I track carefully is that related to the Telomere shortening theory of aging.  You will recall that telomeres are like shoestring caps, inert sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes.   Telomeres provide stability that protects DNA in the chromosomes against getting mixed up in the process of cell reproduction.  Telomeres get shorter as cells divide, and when they get too short a cell can get into big trouble and create trouble for its neighbors – like cancer.  Telomerase is an enzyme that pastes telomere ends back on again, and one theory for life extension is to cause cells to express telomerase so that the telomeres don’t get too short.  You can read about that in my treatise here.  A report appeared yesterday on a Swedish study of changes in telomere lengths in 959 individuals who had contributed blood samples at 9- to 11-year intervals.  The study revealed several interesting findings. 

·         Telomere shortening with age varies significantly between individuals

·         Telomere length at a certain age may not be as good a predictor of future lifespan as previously thought.

·         In general, the rate of telomere shortening appears to depend on the telomeres’ original length.  People starting out with the longest telomeres experienced the fastest rate of telomere shortening and vice versa. 

·         In some individuals, the telomeres measured actually got longer with time. In roughly a third of the subjects, the telomeres actually lengthened over the study period.

These results suggests to me that telomere shortening is a complex process involving a balance of shortening due to cell division, lengthening due to telomerase expression and perhaps cell replacement due to differentiation of stem cells.  And these in turn are affected by many lifestyle and dietary factors.  The new findings also lead to optimism in that they suggests that strategies to keep telomeres from shortening or for making them longer may in fact work.  Readers of the Anti-Aging Firewalls treatise know that I take the supplement astragaloside IV for this purpose as well as pursue other strategies like stress minimization, taking antioxidants, etc.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at www.vincegiuliano.com and an extensive site of my art at www.giulianoart.com. Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to vegiuliano@agingsciences.com.
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12 Responses to You may be able to keep your telomeres long

  1. Di says:

    I began taken your anti-aging firewall for over a month. I am 51, although people who doesn’t know my real biological age always assume I am much younger. To give you an idea, when I was 42 each time I went to the Supermarket to buy some wine, I was asked for my ID.

    I had surgery almost a year ago to extirpate a small portion of my intestine, because a colonoscopy detected a tumoration. I recovered so quickly that the doctors were astonished. I don’t even have a large scar because the surgery was done by laparoscopy, as I am very thin and the surgeon decided I did not have any fat in that area to obstruct the procedure. My blood analysis shows that I have a CEA of 0.1, so the doctors say everything seems under control now. There were no ramifications and no traces or carcinoma in any of the 20 lymph nodes they extracted to be tested. There is no family history of colon cancer. It seems mine was the result of six years of a very stressful relationship that fortunately has ended. Nevertheless, I am not sure if I should take astragaloside IV, as this may increase telomerase in my cells, including some potential cancer cells. What would you advise? Should I wait a little more to take this supplement? Or do you think there is no great danger if I take them together with the anticancer firewall?

  2. admin says:

    D: Thanks for your comment. You pose a very tough question and I am afraid that neither I nor possibly anyone else can responsibly answer it. I know of no cases of cancer induction due to taking astragaloside IV, but this is still an extremely new supplement. And yes, the rest of the regimen should be strongly protective against cancers. Given that you are at 51 still relatively young, I suggest it might be prudent to hold off for a while on the astragaloside IV, perhaps a year. That would give time to see what new information might come up relevant to temomerase activation in general and taking astragaloside IV in specific. You can find an extensive forum discussion about taking astragaloside IV at http://www.imminst.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=19921&st=0.

  3. Res says:

    Dear vince,

    I have been following your posts in imminst and your blogs. Thanks a lot for spreading the good information.

    I have a nagging question regarding ALA and ALCAR supplementation. I read somewhere in imminst that Once ALA is taken, then it would block any future good thing from CR or res supplementation. Right now I am taking ALCAR/ALA supplementation.

    Can you throw some light on this?

    Thanks a lot

  4. admin says:

    Hi Res. As you may have read, ALA and ALCAR are part of my supplement regimen. I see them as very imoprtant for mitochondrial health. I am not aware of research that indicates ALA can block the benefits of resveratrol supplementation, but could have missed it I will see what I can dig up relevant to that question. Of course, substantial doses of resveratrol are also included in the regimen since I am also going after activating the SIR1/FOXO longevity pathway.

  5. Di says:

    Thanks for your recommendation. That was exactly what my instinct was telling me. I’ll stay alert for any future news on this item.

  6. Res says:

    Dear Vince,
    Thanks for your reply.

    Here is the link in imminst

    http://www.imminst.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=26055&hl=alcar+ala

    This is what made me stop the alcar/ala supplement (temporarily)

    Probably you might have analyzed this.

    Regards

  7. admin says:

    Dear Res

    Thanks for the link. Interesting discussion on ALA and ALCAR on that blog. As to ALCAR dose, I have remained on the conservative side taking two 500mg doses a day I am seriously considering upping that to three doses, for a total of 1.5gm a day, each dose with 300mg of ALA.

    While I see discussion on that blog relative to “Once ALA is taken, then it would block any future good thing from CR or res supplementation” and of course this would be of great concern. There was a mention of a rat experiment. However I did not see any actual research citations to back up this concern.

    The study mentioned is: Clin Sci (Lond). 2008 Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print] Oral antioxidants and cardiovascular health in the exercise trained and untrained elderly: a radically different outcome. Wray DW, Uberoi A, Lawrenson L, Bailey DM, Richardson RS. That study says nothing relative to the CR/resveratrol activated pathway involving the SIR1 and FOXO genes. Can you point me to any research citation that supports your comncern? My normal habit, incidentally, is to exercise 6 hours after and 4 hours before taking antioxidants.

  8. Vincent Papasergio says:

    Have you seen this article Vincent? I found it on Science News.com Nearly immortal sea creature spreads
    Hydrozoan with reversible life cycle now found worldwide.By Susan Milius Web edition : Monday, June 23rd, 2008 Text Size Enlarge
    HIDDEN INVADERSmall but pervasive, this jellyfish-like hydrozoan takes several forms. It can survive tough times by collapsing into a blob and then growing back into its youthful, stalklike form. No wonder genetic testing is finding that it has quickly and stealthily spread throughout the oceans.Courtesy of M.P. Miglietta A jellyfish-like hydrozoan with a novel power to rewind its life cycle has been spreading rapidly around the world’s oceans without anyone taking much notice, researchers say.

    The life history of Turritopsis dohrnii takes such twists and turns that only a new genetic analysis has revealed that the creature is invading waters worldwide, says Maria Pia Miglietta of Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

    The first peculiarity of the seven species of Turritopsis had inspired biologists to describe these hydrozoans as “potentially immortal.” The adults form filmy bells reminiscent of their jellyfish relatives. When times get tough, faced with scarce food or other catastrophe, Turritopsis often don’t die. They just get young again.

    Normally the organisms reproduce like grown-ups with sperm and eggs. In case of emergency, though, a bedeviled bell sinks down and the blob of tissue sticks to a surface below. There Turritopsis’ cells seem to reverse their life stage. When the blob grows again, it becomes the stalklike polyp of its youth and matures into a free-floating bell all over again. “This is equivalent to a butterfly that goes back to a caterpillar,” Miglietta says.

    Enlarge
    LOOK ALIKE, NOTOnly its geneticist knows for sure that this hydrozoan from Florida has very similar genetic makeup to the creature with a different look, above, from Panama.Courtesy of M.P. Miglietta That’s a fine trick for surviving the strains of being swallowed in a huge gulp of water for a ship’s ballast and being hauled around the world, Miglietta says. The creatures can restart their life cycles right in the bottom of the ballast tank. Ballast water has become the major route for moving alien species from one ocean to another, and that’s probably what’s happening to T. dohrnii, Miglietta said June 21 in Minneapolis during the Evolution 2008 meeting.

    DNA analysis of these reversible hydrozoans shows signs of recent travel, she said. She and colleague Harilaos Lessios of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute compared mitochondrial DNA from T. dohrnii collected off Florida and Panama with DNA sequences from around the world, analyzed and collected in previous studies. In this comparison, she found a group of very similar DNA sequences distributed from Panama to Japan, she reported. Within that lineage, 15 individuals had identical DNA in the stretch she sequenced, even though they came from Spain, Italy, Japan and the Atlantic side of Panama. To get that pattern, there’s been some fast travel going on.

    Miglietta said that the DNA revealed a new peculiarity of the hydrozoan lifestyle, a sort of shape shifting that depends on where the individuals grow. Around Panama, the 259 adults she examined had eight tentacles. But in temperate waters, decades of observations have found higher, more variable numbers, such as 14 to 24 off Japan and 12 to 24 in the Mediterranean. Yet the work confirms the different forms belong to the same species.

    As far as she knows now, Miglietta said, the hydrozoans aren’t disrupting the ecosystems they’re invading. But they do demonstrate how marine invasions can be difficult to understand.

    That statement drew heartfelt agreement from John Darling of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Cincinnati. Genetics has also revealed hidden twists in a marine invasion he described at the Evolution meeting.

    The Cordylophora caspia hydrozoans he studies, originally from the Ponto-Caspian region, don’t have a reversible lifestyle, but genetic differences may expand the species’ range of salt tolerance. Some colonize fresh water while others live in brackish water. Taxonomists now mostly call the invader one species regardless of water tolerance, Darling said, but his genetic analysis would support at least two species.

  9. admin says:

    Vincent:
    Most interesting. It appears that hydrozoans have a capability of erasing the epigenetic information in their cells, eliminating the accumulated patterns of histone acetylation and DNA methylation. So the animal can “reboot” itself into a very young state. We have found a way to do that for individual human cells. See the post http://anti-agingfirewalls.com/2009/03/19/rebooting-cells-and-longevity/

    I doubt we would ever want to do such a radical rebooting on a whole human, however, if that were possible. I have posted a number of items on this blog related to epigenomics, and you might find them interesting if you have not seen them already.
    Vince

  10. Steve Henwood says:

    Can you recommend a good source of astragaloside IV? How much does it cost? Is it from China? How can one sure it is not contaminated with heavy metals, pcb’s etc?

  11. admin says:

    Steve Henwood

    I have switched from astragaloside IV to occasional use of cycloastragenol. Astragaloside is refined from astragalus root which comes from China and cycloastragenol is a component of it derived through further refining. I purchased my supplies of both substances from RevGenetics at http://www.revgenetics.com/store/p-9-astral-fruit-telomere-dna-support-supplement.aspx They were sold under the name Astral Fruit and I still have a supply of cycloastragenol. Now the company has discontinued selling those products and is selling a third proprietary product under the Astral Fruit NF name, a product containing cycloastragenol as a component. I have not studied this product and cannot speak to the heavy metals issue or the other ingredients. There are 5mg of cycloastragenol per capsule which may or may not be enough to do anything. For several reasons, including because so many other substances in my anti-aging supplement firewall regimenlike resvertrol may inhibit telomerase expression, I am no longer so excited about taking a telomerase activator.

    Vince

  12. karen millen says:

    I like you article,thank you very much!




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