What are Telomeres and what is their purpose
Telomeres are distinctive structures found at the ends of our chromosomes. They consist of the same short DNA sequence repeated over and over again in all of the cells in our body.
Telomeres serve three major purposes:
- They help to organize each of our 46 chromosomes in the nucleus? (Control Center over our cells)
- They protect the ends of our chromosomes by forming a cap, much like the plastic tip on shoelaces.
- They allow the chromosome to be replicated properly during cell division
What happens to Telomeres as we age?
As we age, our Telomeres become shorter which is part of the ageing process. The cells are unable to duplicate themselves as once before, therefore the visible results are what we call (getting older).
- Each time a cell divides, 25-200 bases are lost from the ends of the Telomeres on each chromosome.
- Oxidative stress: Accounts for the loss of between 50-100 pairs per cell division. The amount of oxidative stress in the body is thought to be affected by lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and stress.
- When the Telomere becomes too short, the chromosome reaches a ‘critical length’ and can no longer be replicated.
Telomere Length can be maintained through the right foods
Telomerase is an enzyme that adds the Short DNA sequence to the ends of chromosomes, thus allowing the cells to keep multiplying and avoid ageing.
A plant based diet rich in Folate, antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, E and Selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D are associated with longer Telomeres. Therefore, assisting in helping you age ever so gracefully.
For detailed information on how we age at the cellular level and how understanding the eating the right food is key see the source information noted below.