Telomeres – The Key to Anti-Aging?

 

Michael E. Platt, M.D.

There is a lot of research going on looking at the association of telomere length with aging.  Telomeres are found on the tips of chromosomes and there appears to be a lot of evidence suggesting that people with shortened telomeres have a higher incidence of heart attacks and cancer. 

Obviously, a drug that could prevent the shortening of a telomere would excite interest. However, the drug company that has the patent for this substance has sold the rights to a supplement company to avoid the expense of 5-10 years of FDA required trials costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

This supplement, called TA-65, originally sold for $24,000 per year. This cost has been reduced to $2,000 – $8,000 per year. It is supposed to increase telomerase which in turn protects telomeres from getting shorter. It has the most effect on rapidly dividing cells which includes the skin, the immune system, and the GI tract. The concern, of course, is that cancer cells also fall into this category, but this has not been a noted side effect.

The results so far are anecdotal. Please keep in mind that doctors selling this substance are “anti-aging” specialists, so I suspect most of their clients are also on bio-identical hormones which may be affecting the way people feel and look. For those who do not want to shell out a large amount of money for a substance still not proven, allow me to present an alternative.

It has clearly been demonstrated that stress has an adverse effect on telomere size. It has also been shown that reducing stress leads to an increase in telomere size. One can extrapolate from the data why people with large amounts of stress have a higher mortality. 

In this regard, any efforts made to reduce adrenaline would be extremely beneficial. Adrenaline is closely associated with stress – it is the fight-or-flight hormone. Adrenaline is a hormone responsible for much of our energy, intelligence, and, in right-brained people, our creativity. It is also the hormone responsible for insomnia – both falling and/or staying asleep. It creates anger and road rage, and is associated with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Internalization of anger causes depression, fibromyalgia, and IBS. It is the root cause of ADHD and bipolar disorders, chronic interstitial cystitis, restless leg syndrome, TMJ, urinary urgency, post traumatic stress disorder, etc.

What is not appreciated is that if one approaches hyperadrenalism from its cause, levels can be reduced in 24 hours. However, the bottom line is that it appears that reducing stress levels leads to a lengthening of telomeres and thus has an anti-aging effect. Exercise is one way of burning up adrenaline and has been shown to increase telomere length in people that have increased stress levels. Meditation is also helpful.

For those of you interested in this topic, I will be putting out a book entitled “Adrenaline Dominance.” For those of you who can’t wait, information about ways to reduce adrenaline can be gleaned from my book, The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones. For those in the medical field, I have a manual written for healthcare practitioners that provides my way of approaching hormone imbalance.

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If you have a general question for Dr. Platt please use the comment box below.

MichaelE.Platt, M.D.
760-836-3232
Meplatt1@pol.net

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