Two thirds of all deaths worldwide, and about 90% of all deaths in the developed world, are from causes that only rarely kill young adults. These include Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and most cancers. They are age-related because they are expressions of the later stages of aging, occurring when the molecular and cellular damage that has accumulated in the body throughout life exceeds the level that our metabolism can tolerate. Moreover, before it kills them, aging imposes on most elderly people a long period of debilitation and disease. For these reasons, aging is unarguably the most prevalent medically-relevant phenomenon in the modern world and the primary ultimate target of biomedical research”.
This paragraph is taken from the Scientific Advisory Board at the SENS Research Foundation, a leading non-for-profit organization in the development of bioengineered ways of rejuvenation and longevity.
The anti-aging phenomenon is not even 25 years old, and already the biomedical research that seeks to add decades to our lives is so strong that a commercial company of the size and resources of Google has decided to join in the search for immortality by investing in Calico, a California-based enterprise dedicated to research in postponing death.
Photo: Kurhan / 123RF Stock Photo.
I do believe that it is perfectly possible to live to be 120 years of age. And not because of the interpretation of the Genesis: “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years”, but because we can protect and elongate our telomeres.
In 2009, three scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the discovery of telomeres and telomerases. Telomeres are sections of DNA that cap the end of our chromosomes, protecting all the genetic information contained in our cells.
Telomerases are proteins that lengthen our telomeres. When a cell divides, our telomeres shorten. When they are critically short no more cell divisions are possible, and the cell dies (a process called senescence) and, eventually, we die too.
But the important thing to know is that longer telomeres allow more cellular divisions. Therefore, we can live longer and with less incidence of cancer. So it behooves us to nurture our telomeres.
Some cells naturally produce telomerase, never shortening their telomeres and becoming literally immortal. They are the embryonic stem cells, gonadal cells (sperm and eggs) and cancer cells. The implications of activating or inhibiting telomerases are huge since, in the case of activation, we are prolonging life. If inhibition, we are stopping cancer growth. Some significant research in mice using viruses to transport telomerase to some cells has already shown positive results.
At the Wellness Institute of the Americas, our specialists measure telomere length in most of our patients and remeasure periodically to assess the progress of their wellness plans. Your telomeres can shorten and lengthen back and forth depending on how you care for them.
Photo: Dmitriy Shironosov / 123RF Stock Photo.
There are simple observations that will protect your telomeres: no sugar in your diet, emotional stress management, and proper sleep. Also, very important: anti-oxidation, control of inflammation and body detoxification. These are ways to preserve the health of your DNA and its coating, called chromatin. Antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, carnosine, CoQ10 and folate are all excellent support in this protective function. Other ways of elongating your telomeres are aerobic anaerobic exercise and meditation.
So if you still think that the idea of living to be 120 years old is too farfetched, here are some examples of ‘prophecies’ made by experts in the past:
“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.”
Dr. Lee de Forest, father of radio & grandfather of television.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 (good thing he didn’t stay)
“The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.”
Admiral William Leahy, US Atomic Bomb Project.
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”
Western Union, 1876.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
Bill Gates, 1981.
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.”
When Edwin L. Drake tried to raise funds for his project to drill for oil in 1859.
“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.”
Sir John Eric Erichsen, British surgeon to Queen Victoria.
“Louis Pasteur‘s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”
Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
Popular Mechanics, 1949.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,”
Lord Kelvin, 1895.
We are in the midst of a medical revolution that through telomere management, stem cell therapy and genetic biomedical engineering will completely change the life of our physical body and the spectrum of age related diseases. Hopefully, along with this medical progress, we will not ignore our true essence and its care, our spiritual being, which is what is truly immortal. ■