Anti Aging - 200 Years and Beyond?By Duane House
Most of the anti aging research deals with methods to eliminate or at least reduce the conditions associated with aging.
Conditions such as: heart disease, arthritis, hearing loss, failing eyesight, Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis.
Wouldn't it be great if you could live to a ripe old age with the same stamina and energy you possessed in your thirties? Research has discovered that this may no longer be a dream.
People are living more productive lives well past retirement more than their predecessors. Partly because of advances in health care, but more so because of increased awareness and knowledge in nutrition and lifestyle. The Baby Boomers definitely have an advantage over their parent's retirement woes.
However an offshoot of anti aging research has turned up something that may forever change the way we look at aging. A compound that gives cancerous cells their insane ability to reproduce unstopped may hold the key to longer healthier lives.
Considering the fact that your cells are constantly renewing themselves and that every cell in your body is replaced over time, you would think that you would be forever young. Unfortunately as cells divide they become older. Even a brand-new cell from an 80 year old, looks and behaves like an 80 year old cell.
The secret lies in how cells actually age as they divide. There is a tail on the end of the DNA called a telomere and every time a cell divides the telomere is shortened and the new cell becomes older.
Humans have a gene that can cause an enzyme called telomerase (pronounced tell-OM-er-ase ) to be produced in the cell and the telomere wouldn't shorten. However, this gene is switched off in normal cells.
Unfortunately the gene is active in cancerous cells causing the cells to become immortal, in other words they don't know how to die. When the telomere of normal cells has been depleted the cell goes through Apoptosis, which is cellular suicide or programmed cell death.
Years ago scientist cloned the gene that produces telemorase and now a company in California called Geron Corp. owns the patent for telomerase. Their research on telomerase as an anti-aging therapy is extremely encouraging.
There were some concerns that telomerase could cause normal cells to become cancerous. However, research shows that telomerase doesn't cause the cells to mutate but is rather a result of the mutation to a cancerous state causing the gene to activate.
Experiments involving telomerase immortalized cells exposed to cancer causing compounds showed that the cells remained cancer free.
In vitro and animal experiments with telomerase as an anti aging solution have been very encouraging So I wouldn't be surprised to see some anti aging applications for humans in the near future.
In the mean time you can do some things to slow the shortening of your telomeres. Take your anti-oxidents and plenty of vitamine C. Research in Japan has shown that 1-2 grams of vitamine C can slow telomere shortening by as much as 62%.
Also have your homocysteine levels checked, researchers have found that high homocysteine levels triple the amount of telomere length lost during cell division.
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