Everyone Now Only Says That About Telomeres - They Prolong Youth: We Explain What It Is, And Due To What The Benjamin Button Effect Occurs

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Video: Everyone Now Only Says That About Telomeres - They Prolong Youth: We Explain What It Is, And Due To What The Benjamin Button Effect Occurs

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Video: How Are Your Telomeres? They Could Be the Key to How Fast You're Aging 2023, February
Everyone Now Only Says That About Telomeres - They Prolong Youth: We Explain What It Is, And Due To What The Benjamin Button Effect Occurs
Everyone Now Only Says That About Telomeres - They Prolong Youth: We Explain What It Is, And Due To What The Benjamin Button Effect Occurs

I wish I could stay forever young and healthy, like Dorian Gray. Only without an auction, where the main lot is the soul. This has been dreamed of at all times and on all continents. In Russia they believed in living water and rejuvenating apples, in China - in the herb of immortality, in India - in the elixir of eternity, Soma. All these recipes, in general, boiled down to one thing: what to eat or drink to "freeze" himself 20-30 years old?

Scientists have two news: good and bad. It is quite possible to prolong life. But magic pills have not yet been invented, and the existing secrets of longevity are as old as the world. True, there are some interesting ones among them (spoiler alert: meditation and wine also help).

BeautyHack talked to doctors and figured out how to look no older than your passport photo and even retire like Shakira.

Will you renew?

All scientific research institutes of the planet are unanimous: it is impossible to stop the aging process, but everyone can slow it down. To do this, you need to help the body a little, or rather, telomeres. These are the “tips” of chromosomes. Just as plastic egglets protect laces from fraying, these protein “caps” prevent genetic information from being lost or changed. That is, they save DNA from degradation. Alas, with each cell division, they shorten. The maximum telomere length in children under 1.5 years old, but after 25, the "tails" are rapidly shortened.


But it's not just age that affects. Initially, we are all born in unequal conditions. For example, girls have larger areas, as well as breastfed babies. Much depends on the health of the parents, stress during pregnancy. However, even the most ideal heredity can be crippled by an incorrect lifestyle. Stress, junk food, smoking "cut" the ends of chromosomes, like a sickle - grass.

Have you noticed - some look older than their age, others and at 30 are mistaken for schoolchildren? Some of them are ready to travel to a ripe old age and shoot funny videos for Tik Tok, while others, long before retirement, are "prescribed" by doctors. So, the longer the telomeres, the better your health and appearance.

What can we do about it? Much. According to the WHO, life expectancy is 15% dependent on genetics, as much on medical support, and 20% on the environment. The remaining 50% is a lifestyle. And in order not to exhaust your resources in advance, you need to slow down the contraction of the “tips” using telomerase.

It turns out that this enzyme is able to "build" telomeres. For this discovery in 2009, cytogenetics Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Shostak and molecular biologist Carol Grader even received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. And in 2017, Blackburn published a bestselling book on the genetic mechanism of aging. In it, a scientist included in the list of the 100 most influential people in the world, told how to prevent premature aging. It turned out that it is not at all difficult to groom and cherish telomeres, and sometimes even pleasant.

Relax, Take It Easy

Stress shortens life - that's a fact. Of course, due to rare quarrels or a canceled vacation, you will not be covered with wrinkles. But if all this passes into the chronic stage, the telomeres "dry up". This happens in mothers caring for sick children, caregivers caring for people with Alzheimer's, and those who have lived with depression for years. And for many, after recovery, the "caps" of chromosomes never grow back.

For pessimists who are fixated on the negative, believe that no one can be trusted, and suppress emotions, the protective "caps" are also so-so

Family relationships are also important. Regular sex, rapport, and a positive attitude can help restore protective function.

avatar Elena Kovalenko
avatar Elena Kovalenko

Elena Kovalenko

psychologist, gestalt therapist

Stress in itself is our must have, without it we would not be able to react to danger in time, run away from predators, jump away from cars flying at us. A one-time reaction is good, hidden reserves are triggered in the body. But long-term is destructive. Due to the constant release of adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol into the blood, pressure jumps, metabolism and the work of the endocrine system are disrupted, and the production of melatonin decreases. And since immunity is an energy-consuming thing, the body is forced to redistribute resources and suppress it in order to save itself and save energy.

But how can you relax when there is a coronavirus in the world and a crisis in the economy? Think of the fact that anticipation of bad events affects the body in much the same way as the events themselves. That is, the office will not close, the disease will bypass, and gray hair due to nerves will still appear. Accept the situation not as a threat, but as a challenge, think positively. A warm bath, pets, therapy with a psychologist, exercise, hobbies can all help.


Yoga and meditation are another “whales” of longevity. And the Nobel laureate Blackburn confirms this. During the study, the volunteers went to a Buddhist retreat center where they practiced breathing. After a three-month course, their telomerase levels were 30% higher than members of the other group, who were just preparing to travel. Similar results were shown by participants who took care of mentally ill patients and chanted mantras for 12 minutes a day for two months in a row. Their telomerases became more active than those who simply listened to relaxing music. The ability not to think about anything in the era of endless news and events, booming gadgets and a million tasks is certainly the elixir of youth!

Fell, squeezed out

After studying 1,200 pairs of twins, doctors reported that those who walk a lot or swim often have longer telomeres. And overall they are healthier, happier, and better looking. So heredity will not work.

At the same time, it is not necessary to set Olympic records or spend hours in the gym.

The "caps" of chromosomes in professional athletes and amateurs are not so different. But for those who bring the body to exhaustion, they are shortened

Alternating between cardio and strength training is ideal. Jumping rope, dancing, squats, lunges, rowing, elliptical exercises, boxing, zumba - there are a lot of options. Just 45 minutes three times a week - and after six months, telomerase activity can double.

And here again it's all about stress. Or rather, in the fact that physical education helps to neutralize its negative consequences. Adrenal cells produce less cortisol, the cells are cleared, and the amount of free radicals decreases.

At least 7 hours of sleep per day


This is the minimum that most people need. Yes, there are lucky ones who manage to rest in 5-6 hours, but there are only 5% of them on the planet. It is also important to go to bed and get up at the same time.

“This consistency will tell the brain when to release melatonin, and the cells when it’s time to start DNA repair and other repair work,” the book explains.

And don't forget: at least an hour before you go to bed, close your laptops, put your smartphones away. The blue light of the screens suppresses the effect of melatonin, that is, the body does not have time to recover overnight. And then you are surprised that you slept until lunchtime, but you have no strength.

What to do in this "boring" hour without social networks and films? Stretch, listen to pleasant music, chat with your family, play with your cat, turn on the lamp, drip lavender oil on your pillow, take a bubble bath, drink herbal tea. You will see the difference in a week.

Coffee and wine are allowed, soda and cigarettes are not

The best thing you can do for your health is to go to the kitchen right now and throw away all the cookies, candy, and croissants. Avoiding simple carbohydrates will improve your metabolism, lower your risk of type II diabetes and preserve our “fuses”. In general, there is, of course, nothing new here: the ideal diet is the Mediterranean diet.

What is?

  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially dark in color, high in polyphenols: spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth,
  • Nuts and seeds (no more than 30 g per day),
  • Dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%,
  • Hard cheeses,
  • Rich in Omega-3 foods: red fish (at least a couple of times a week), flaxseed, olive, coconut oil, avocado, seaweed,
  • Fermented foods: white sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, miso paste, tempeh, kefir, yogurt, fermented miso sauce.

The “black list” includes cigarettes (the cadmium contained in them “throws in” an additional 11 years) and sweet soda (people who drink two cans a day age 4.5 years faster). But coffee, tea and wine, around which there is so much controversy, genetics approved. Moderation is the main thing. One glass of red, containing resveratrol, or a mug of natural coffee a day won't hurt. And sometimes they will even be useful. A blood test of 4,000 women showed that espresso lovers have longer telomeres on average.

avatar Alexander Kolyada
avatar Alexander Kolyada

Alexander Kolyada

geneticist, researcher at the Epigenetics Laboratory of the Institute of Gerontology of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, founder of the School of Longevity

Working anti-age advice - practice short-term fasting. This is as beneficial short-term stress as hardening. By cutting the calorie content of the diet by a third, making intervals between meals for at least 20 hours, refusing to eat once a week, you can add yourself up to 5 years of life. What is the reason for this? When a cell in the body feels a deficiency of nutrients, it perceives the situation as unfavorable and begins to feed on its own old or defective parts. So she gets rid of "slags" and prolongs her life. But, of course, you shouldn't just take it and starve yourself. You should first contact a physician or nutritionist for individual advice. Surely you will be prescribed a certain series, with a soft entry and exit, without kinks. Whatever it is: today we ate fatty meat,and tomorrow you are already sitting on the water. But in many religions and cultures, fasts were introduced for a reason. You need to learn to cultivate a state of mild malnutrition in yourself. And, of course, it matters what you do the rest of the time. If you do not get enough sleep, lead a sedentary lifestyle, are constantly nervous, then the positive effect of the diet on the body decreases.

If you start to eat right, get enough sleep, think positively and play sports, then in a fairly short period - from 3 weeks to 4 months - telomeres will noticeably lengthen

Telomerase stimulation - risk or eternal youth?

Surely you have already thought a hundred times whether it is realistic to artificially increase the amount of telomerase in the body. To release dietary supplements that stimulate our inner "builder" to restore everything destroyed by stress and lack of sleep. Scientists have not yet come to a consensus.


“If there is too much telomerase, it starts to provoke an uncontrolled growth of cells that turn from healthy to malignant. Until the safety of products based on it has not been proven in long-term studies, it is better to avoid taking pills, creams or injections that increase the level of this enzyme. This is probably why cells keep telomerase under control,”Blackburn said.

Opponents insist: general advice, like a healthy lifestyle, of course, is good, but an individual approach is better. Currently, more than 200 genetically engineered drugs are undergoing clinical trials. Some of them will go on sale in a few years. Let's say you tend to be obese. It will be enough to take a pill with the "correct gene" - and he will change the mutant copy to the "correct" one.

“We expect the same from drugs with telomerase enzyme. There are already studies that have proven that this works on laboratory mice. Their life after taking is extended by 20%,”explains Kolyada.

Five years ago, 45-year-old researcher Elizabeth Parrish agreed to lengthen her own telomeres. For this, she even had to leave the United States, where such procedures are prohibited, to Colombia. Now her body (leukocytes, organs, telomeres) is "rejuvenated" by 30 years. And she looked much better. But for professors, this is not yet the time when the experiment can be considered safe.

Scientists say that if you win the genetic lottery and follow a healthy lifestyle, you can live 20 years longer. And this is a chance to hold out until the moment when something more effective is discovered.

“Using fasting therapy, genome correction and pharmacology, it is possible to move the record lifespan from 122 to 150. And this period will be much better and more active,” says Dmitry Madera, head of the molecular genetics department at BIOCAD.

Sounds good. For this, perhaps, you can give up pancakes and cocktails.

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