Telomeres are generated by an enzyme called telomerase. During embryonic development, most cells in the body have high levels of this enzyme. But as we mature, the majority of our cells lose most of this enzyme — making these cells highly vulnerable to damage by aging and disease.
Studies have shown that a number of conditions are associated with extreme shortening of telomeres within organs and tissues. These include:
• Cardiovascular diseases
• Mental illnesses
• Chronic obstructive lung diseases
• Retinal disorders
• Several neurodegenerative diseases
It has also been shown that telomere length can help estimate longevity in mammals.
While we can’t control cell division damage to telomeres, we can substantially reduce damage from free radicals and inflammation. A number of studies have shown that certain nutrients can protect these DNA caps, including:
• Vitamin D3
• B vitamins
• Several types of flavonoids
In addition, sticking to a Mediterranean diet can help maintain healthy telomere length.
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