Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her research on telomerase — the enzyme that nourishes our telomeres. She wrote a book calledThe Telomere Effect with another world-class researcher named Elissa Epel in which they tell us just how powerful our telomeres are.
Today, we’re going to meet our telomeres.
But first, a quick pronunciation lesson: I always thought “telomeres” was pronounced “tell-o-meres” but, apparently, it’s pronounced “tee-lo-meres.”
Alright. With that out of our way, here’s what we need to know: The length of your telomeres is one of the most important indicators of your overall health and/or lack thereof.
Here’s how to think about them. You know those little caps at the end of your shoelaces? Those plastic little guys that keep your laces all neat and tidy? They’re called “aglets.” Once they go, your shoelaces are pretty much done, eh?
Well, that’s almost exactly how your telomeres work. Our chromosomes are the shoelaces and our telomeres are the aglets.
Here’s another way to think about it: Imagine an American football team. The quarterback needs a strong offensive line to do his job. If the offensive line is weak and easily run over, he’s going to get sacked.
Again, that’s how your telomeres work. Our chromosomes are our quarterbacks. Our telomeres are the offensive linemen.
Telomeres sit at the end of our chromosomes and keep them all neat and tidy — protecting them so they can do their job of replicating themselves to keep us nice and healthy. Once your telomeres go, your chromosomes are going to have a really hard time replicating which means you’re going to have a really hard time staying healthy.
This is why the length of our telomeres is such a powerful predictor of when we will exit the “Healthspan” of our lives and enter the “Diseasespan.”
The good news? We can lengthen and strengthen our telomeres.
How? Well, that’s pretty much what we do together every day with these +1s. We’ll explore their #1 tip in the next +1.
For now, take a nice, deep breath and thank your telomeres for all they do behind the scenes.
And, know that breathing deeply is actually one of the quickest ways to drop out of super-busy fight-or-flight mode and give your telomeres some rest and lengthening-love
Know this as well: Their #1 nutrition tip is to reduce / eliminate the “highly processed, sugary foods and sweetened drinks.(We’re looking at you, packaged cakes, candies, cookies, and sodas.).”
But only if you want to keep your telomeres nice and long and strong and extend your Healthspan.