Healthy lifestyle changes can improve levels of an enzyme called telomerase that controls the cell aging process. Telomerase repairs and lengthens telomeres; Telomeres are a tail like structures, composed of complex of DNA- protein complexes, found at the end of chromosomes. As telomeres become shorter and structural integrity weaken our cells age and die more quickly according to Dr. Dean Ornish and his colleagues at the University of California. Shortening of telomere length has become a marker for premature death and such cancers as prostate, lung, breast, and colorectal cancer.
In this study Dean Ornish and his colleagues asked 30 men diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer to make significant lifestyle changes. The changes included a diet with only 10 percent of their calories coming from fat, low in refined sugar, rich whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Stress management, relaxation and breathing techniques were included. At the conclusion of the study telomerase increased by 29 percent and LDL cholesterol decreased.
“To our knowledge, we have reported the first study showing that comprehensive lifestyle changes are significantly associated with increase in cellular telomerase activity levels and telomere maintenance in immune system cells.”
Dr. Ornish said in a recent news release” the implications of this study are not limited to men with prostate cancer; comprehensive lifestyle changes may cause improvement in telomerase and telomeres that may benefit the general population as well.”