Telomerase May Be The Secret to Anti-Aging
Dr. Bruce Lipton invites us to consider this: “contained within our bodies is what so many have studied, sought after, and dreamed about—the fountain of youth.”
What he’s talking about are telomeres; sections of DNA found at the end of each chromosome that can offer us insight into how we can “create a long-lived biology,” filled with wellness and meaning.
Telomeres And The Genetics of Aging
The science of genetics was formed in large part because of the human need to grapple with a limited lifespan. Central to this discussion is the role telomeres play in understanding the genetic coding of our aging. Telomeres have two essential functions:
- To allow DNA to be replicated without losing genetic information
- To prevent the double helix of DNA from unraveling
The process of DNA replication involves a shortening of our chromosomes from their original version, reducing the length of the original DNA molecule. This process invariably leads to aging, depression, and disease.
The role of the telomere is to extend that replication time by adding a piece of DNA at the end of the strand that doesn’t code for anything and acts as a mechanism to prevent the degradation, or unwinding, of the double helix structure.
Lipton uses the analogy of shoelaces to bring the concept of telomeres to life. At the end of shoelaces are little plastic caps known as “aglets,” which make the process of lacing shoes simple and fluid, while holding the strands of the shoelace material together. And the same concept can be applied to the telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes.
While the role telomeres play in retaining the integrity of a DNA strand is important, Lipton stresses they have an even more important function—telomeres form an extension of the DNA that allows for replication without affecting the gene programs, allowing for an extended amount of divisions before running out; the implication of this on our longevity is profound.
For many years, it was believed the lifespan of an organism was directly proportional to how many times a cell can divide before losing the telomere extensions and cutting into the DNA program.
Leonard Hayflick, a scientist in the 1960s calculated that a human could live approximately 90 years before telomeres were lost. However, in 1984, research scientist Elizabeth Blackburn made a truly life-changing and life-extending revelation with the discovery of the enzyme telomerase, which extends telomere length. Her discovery made an exciting impact on our understanding of the human lifespan.
But as interesting as Dr. Blackburn’s discovery was, the enzyme’s ability to be activated or inhibited is dependent upon a number of external factors. The inhibition of telomerase can be caused by improper nutrition, childhood abuse and neglect, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as a lack of self-love, love from others, and life purpose—factors that can all have a negative impact on our lifespan.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are characteristics that allow telomerase to be activated, leading to positive lifespan implications. These include good nutrition, especially omega-3, regular exercise, practicing gratitude, self-love, receiving love, and living with a positive sense of service and purpose.
The last characteristic, in particular, provides our life with the message that we have something to live for, whether that is to help others, create art, or work to solve humanity’s deepest issues. Lipton says he believes the positive feedback of the above characteristics can “enhance the telomerase activity to extend [our] life.”
The result of enhanced telomerase activity leads to an increase in our ability to produce telomeres that allow cell division to occur more frequently, resulting in a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Is Death the End or a New Beginning
Even with the groundbreaking research on life-extending enzymes, we all know life is impermanent. Every living thing ages and eventually dies. Lipton asks an important question that gets to the root of human existence: when we die, is our human existence really terminated with death?”
Lipton turns to the world of Quantum Physics for an alternative outlook where the “realm of energy is neither created nor destroyed.” He suggests that humans are more than our physical bodies—we are energetic fields whose identities continue after our bodies are done with their physical existence. The concept of living beings having a “perpetual field that identifies us” is not only the foundation of reincarnation but of a different way of relating to life.
Lipton defines this field as “invisible moving forces that influence the physical world,” and says this definition is parallel to that of spirituality. According to his teachings, quantum physics and spirituality are the same and provide the same message: we are a field and exist outside of physical forms; we are an energy field. If we embrace this definition, we have the ability to live longer.
What does this mean as far as our identity or our sense of self? Lipton proposes that our identity is not part of a system, but originates from an external source out in the larger quantum field. He says he believes the source could be based on astrology or as he rephrases it, ‘astro-physiology,” since living beings are influenced by those factors. We all originated from and are connected to the same source—the universe.
Study Shows That Fasting for 3 Days Can Reset The Immune System
Want to kick that cold or boost your immune system so you don’t even catch that cold in the first place? Forget the copious amounts of Vitamin C or drastic lifestyle changes; it turns out the old adage of starving a cold may actually be scientifically sound advice. That’s according to a study that says two to four days of fasting resets immune systems, benefitting everyone from healthy adults to chemotherapy patients.
How Fasting Helps the Immune System
According to a study in Cell, testing in both mice and humans showed that extended periods of fasting lowered white blood cell counts considerably. This produces a change of the signaling pathways of HSCs or hematopoietic stem cells, which give rise to new blood and immune systems.
One of the study’s authors, Vlater Longo said, “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.”
This can be especially beneficial for the elderly and those with autoimmune disorders who are more susceptible to disease and illness. Another find from the study showed that fasting lowers levels of a growth hormone known as IGF-1, which is linked to cancer, aging and tumor growth.
Scientists are also seeing the benefits of fasting in other areas of health, especially in the field of neuroscience. In one study, they found that fasting twice a week can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also found that fasting can challenge the brain in the short term and stimulate two messaging chemicals that are key to the growth of new brain cells. This helps the brain become resistant to protein plaques that lead to neurodegenerative diseases.
A number of Silicon Valley execs are experimenting with fasting as a biohacking technique. Some of these biohackers abstain from food consumption for up to four days, while only drinking water, coffee or tea. CEOs, like Phil Libin, say it puts him in a better mood, keeps him more focused, and even provides a mild euphoria.
The science behind this is similar to the concepts of ketogenic diets where the body, when starved of carbohydrates and glucose, goes into ketosis, producing ketones from the breakdown of fat in the liver. The body uses these ketones in place of glucose, while burning fat to create said ketones.
Benefits of Fasting for Chemotherapy Patients
In a previous study, Longo and his team found that fasting in animals effectively treats a majority of cancer types. He also found that fasting in addition to chemotherapy is much more effective than chemotherapy alone.