Lifestyle change can reduce aging

Shorter telomeres, DNA–protein complexes at the end of chromosomes, increase disease risk, but this may be reversed via lifestyle. As per Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, telomere shortness in human beings is emerging as a prognostic marker of disease risk, progression and premature mortality.

Severe stress has been shown to shorten telomeres of the caregiver, but according to Dr Ornish telomere shortening is counteracted by the cellular enzyme telomerase via lifestyle changes.

He showed that 3 months of intensive lifestyle changes can increase telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. He studied 30 biopsy–proven low–risk prostate cancer men who underwent comprehensive lifestyle changes like 10% fat diet, little refined sugar; eating lots of produce; taking vitamins and fish body oils, a half–hour of exercise daily, stress management, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises. The study, published online ahead of print in the November The Lancet Oncology, found lifestyle changes significantly increase telomerase activity.

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