Some years ago, I became interested in the biological age of the body vs the chronological age; so I went along to the Heather Bird clinic in London, took a series of tests and was pleased to discover that my biological age was actually 8 years below my chronological age. So a good result for me, the prize for trying to live as healthy a life-style as I could.
Logic tells you that if you feeding your body with good things like highly nutritious food, plenty of movement and relaxation, then your body won’t age as fast as if you have a less healthy life-style . However, I was interested to see the findings of some scientific research which indicates that healthy living can actually reverse the telltale signs of ageing in your cells.
‘The finding relates to telomeres, the caps that protect the tips of chromosomes when cells divide. With each cell division these get shorter, so as we age they wear away like a candle wick burning down. Now there is evidence that telomeres can regrow if people switch to, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle.’
The study involved 10 men in their early 60s, who were asked to follow a strict healthy living regime. They ate a meat-free diet, exercised for 30 minutes a day, did an hour of yoga and meditation a day, and attended group therapy sessions each week.
After five years, the telomeres on a type of white blood cell were on average 10 per cent longer in these men than at the start of the study. In contrast, 25 men who kept to their usual lifestyles saw telomeres on the same cells shrink by an average of 3 per cent over the same period.
The researchers also found that the more strictly the 10 men stuck to the healthy regime, the longer their telomeres became.
“It’s a very encouraging finding,” says Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, who led the study. “In a biological sense, they are getting younger, but what the long-term implications are we don’t know,” he says.
“These results are very nice, and hold promise for preventive medicine,” says Maria Blasco, head of the telomere group at Spain’s National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid. Earlier this year, her group published results showing that telomeres grow in mice fed calorie-restricted diets while they shrink in mice on standard diets.
via Healthy living can turn our cells’ clock back – health – 17 September 2013 – New Scientist.