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Healthy Diet and Exercise Can Reverse Aging in Our Cells

Science & Tech  (tags: aging, diet, exercise, health, investigation, research, science, society, study, technology, telomeres )

- 1709 days ago -
A small pilot study has provided the first evidence that lifestyle changes can lengthen protective regions of our DNA called telomeres.

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 9:25 am
Photo Credit: Blazej Lyjak / Shutterstock for Mother Jones Magazine

Lifestyle changes may, in fact, be able to turn back the clock on aging. A small pilot study has provided the first evidence that lifestyle changes can lengthen protective regions of our DNA called telomeres.

The study followed 35 men over the course of 5 years, all of whom had been diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer. Ten of the men were assigned to undertake healthy lifestyle changes: a vegetarian whole-food diet, regular exercise and sessions of stress-reducing meditation or yoga. The others served as controls.

Aging Cells

At the end of five years, researchers found the men who had adopted healthy habits had significantly “younger” DNA than when they began, in terms of telomere length. Telomeres are protective regions at the ends of chromosomes that help keep DNA intact. And shortening of telomeres is closely linked to aging and diseases of old age, explained study author Dean Ornish to LiveScience:

“A number of studies have shown that as telomeres get shorter, the risk of premature death and most chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer, even dementia goes up,” said study researcher Dr. Dean Ornish, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“So as our telomeres get shorter, in a sense, our lives get shorter,” Ornish said. “This is the first study showing that lifestyle changes may actually increase the length of telomeres.”
Opposite Effects

The 10 men who made lifestyle changes grew their telomeres by an average of 10% over the course of the study, and the more positive changes they made the more growth they saw. In contrast, telomeres of men in the control group shrunk by an average of 3%. The findings are reported today in The Lancet Oncology.

The small size of the study means that conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt. Tom Vulliamy, senior lecturer in Molecular Biology at Queen Mary University of London, told BBC News:

“It is really important to highlight that this is a small pilot study… Given this, I’m definitely going to wait to see whether this can be replicated on a larger scale and with more sizeable effects before I get excited.”
But if you’re looking for that extra bit of motivation to go for a jog, well—do it for your telomeres.

By: Lisa Raffensperger | Mother Jones Magazine |


Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 9:27 am

Oops! Sorry that should read Discover Magazine

S S (0)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 12:24 pm
Thank you.

Nicole W (646)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 12:28 pm
very interesting, ty dear Kit

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 12:58 pm
Thank you for this, Kit :-))

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 1:19 pm
Thank you for the wonderful news! (n, p, t)

. (0)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 1:40 pm
Very interesting, Kit. Thanks for sharing.

Jaime Alves (52)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 2:25 pm
Noted, thanks.

Roger G (154)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 3:09 pm
noted, thanks

Neill Abayon (667)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 4:41 pm

JL A (281)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 10:21 pm
That may explain why a relative who made such changes after the diagnosis his prostate cancer was terminal went on for another 13 years.

Sherri G (128)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 1:17 am
Thank you Kit for posting. Excellent Information to have. Noted

Monika K (13)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 9:53 am
Healthy diet means so many things.

Kit B (276)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 11:23 am

A healthy diet; eating lots of fruits, greens, tomatoes, watermelon, use Olive oil or coconut oil, eats oats and not packaged cereal and eat nuts a great snack food. There are good lists of things to eat. Exercise, get out and take a walk every day, swim in the summer, just do something to remind your body it's still alive. Avoid fast food and packaged processed food. Be good to your body so that it might return the favor.

Nimue Michelle P (339)
Sunday September 22, 2013, 6:25 pm
Yep yep yep! :)
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