The science of aging is truly in its infancy. The next decade will see huge discoveries made as to what causes your body to age, what can be done to better minimise chronic disease, and how the odds of living to the age of 100 and beyond can be increased.
Past posts have talked about the science of telomeres. Part of your chromosomes, telomeres are gaining more press these days as a real indicator of the effects of aging on your body. The longer your telomeres, the better your odds of living a longer, healthier life.
A study published yesterday in The Lancet Oncology supports the effects a healthy lifestyle has on telomeres. Small in size with only 35 participants with non-life threatening prostate cancer, the study was done by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco, founded by Dr. Dean Ornish.
In the study, all participants had their telomeres measured. Fifteen participants continued with no changes to their lifestyles. The remaining ten were asked to make the following changes to theirs:
- Eat a diet that’s high in plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and low in fat and refined carbohydrates
- Do moderate aerobic exercise for 30 minutes per day, six days per week
- Take part in stress management activities such as yoga-based stretching and meditation
- Attend weekly social support group sessions
When telomere lengths were measured five years later and compared to baseline numbers, the numbers confirmed the positive effects of lifestyle change. The group changing its lifestyle had an average increase in telomere length of 10 percent. The group that made no changes had an average decrease of 3 percent in telomere length.
The good news? Though you and your genes may be predisposed to certain conditions, lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on your overall health.
As Dr. Elizabeth Chin, chief medical officer of the Executive Health Centre says,
“I have always believed that nurture trumps nature. We understand that our DNA increases our risk for disease, but it’s up to us and how we interact with our environment that will determine our lifespan and health span.”
There you have it. The MEANS to an End Lifestyle™ advocated in these posts is gaining scientific support. There is hope to jump on an anti-aging quest, regardless of your age or present state of health.