The importance of telomere health and stress reduction to age gracefully.
When we look at groups of people with psychiatric disorders related to dysregulated emotional responses, especially depression, and compare them to controls who have never experienced these disorders, they consistently have shorter telomeres.
Telomeres, as you may know, are the extra bits of DNA on the end of your chromosomes. They are like the plastic caps on the end of your shoelaces. When the caps on your shoelaces wear down, your shoelaces unravel. Well, telomeres work like that.
Your telomeres start shortening even before you are born. They keep shortening throughout your life. By the time you’re middle-aged, your telomeres are dramatically shorter. And this is not good news for your health.
Every time your cells divide, your telomeres get a little shorter. Eventually, these telomere ‘caps’ get so short, your cells can no longer make perfect copies of your DNA. So, cells go dormant or die. Many scientists think telomere shortening is one of the best markers of your true biological age.
It means your cells are becoming less functional and less capable of repairing themselves. Shorter telomeres increase the chance that your cells become old and dormant. Almost like ‘zombie’ cells.
Slowing down the shortening of your telomeres may be helpful in supporting healthy ageing at the cellular level. But being stressed all the time is a big problem for you and your telomeres.
Constant stress leads to more cortisol – the stress hormone. And too much cortisol can weaken your cells through oxidative damage. An enzyme called telomerase can replenish it, but chronic stress and cortisol exposure decrease your supply.
Scientists have discovered that too much cortisol also robs you of telomerase. This can speed up the shortening of your telomeres and accelerate ageing. Stress is now on the map as one of the most consistent predictors of shorter telomere length.
One study even found the damage inflicted by chronic stress was equal to 17 years of faster ageing! Evidence that psychological stress – both perceived stress and chronicity of stress – is significantly associated with higher oxidative stress, lower telomerase activity, and shorter telomere length, which are known determinants of cell senescence and longevity, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy premenopausal women.
Women with the highest levels of perceived stress have telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least one decade of additional aging compared to low stress women. These findings have implications for understanding how, at the cellular level, stress may promote earlier onset of age-related diseases.
So, it’s vital you get your stress under control. And one of the best ways is with a Siberian herb the Russians have used for decades with their astronauts, military, and Olympic athletes. It’s called rhodiola.
The below ingredients in RELAX all shine a light on improving your response to stress:
Reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. It also stimulates your neurotransmitters – like serotonin and dopamine, it can improve your energy and mood.
The anti-aging effect of R. glutinosa is due to the enhanced function of hematopoietic stem cells, HSCs. Mice fed with R. glutinosa displayed characteristics of a slowed aging process, including decreased senescence and increased rate of survival. The R. glutinosa group also showed decreased reactive oxygen species levels and the percentage of β-gal+ cells through downregulation of the cellular senescence-associated protein p53 and p16.
Is used to treat various diabetic disorders, enhance the bone metabolism in osteoporosis, and inhibit liver inflammation and fibrosis. In addition, this herb has other effects including anti-fatigue, antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. In the past few years, pharmacological studies on R. glutinosa and its active components have focused mainly on its broad actions on the blood, endocrine, cardiovascular and nervous systems. R. glutinosa was shown to possess strong immuno-enhancement activity.
Contains many antioxidants, including vitamin C and lycopene, that neutralize the damaging free radicals that come from the ultraviolet rays and pollution. In other words, they protect skin cells and their DNA from the aging effects of the sun.