What Are Telomeres?

Posted by Jennifer Gebbie on May 9, 2015 in Health, Telomeres

Since starting my holistic healing journey 3 years ago, I've been on a mission to educate myself on how I can best protect my body to live a longer, fuller life. One of my biggest concerns has always been how I can protect my body from cancers. I've lost 3 people in my family to cancer and have many family and friends today that are battling various forms. I know we live in a toxic world today, and while there are many factors that are out of our control, I strive to protect my body with things that are in my control. I am far from perfect, and I am still learning, but I wanted to share something important with you that I've recently learned on how to better protect your DNA. 

Do I have your permission to be transparent? Over the past year of educating and helping people improve their health, one of the most frustrating things to me is when I get complaints that someone hasn't lost the weight they wanted "fast enough." Now I will admit that my social feed will often share exciting success stories of people transforming their bodies with a great nutritional cleansing program that I recommend, however, I have to remind people that weight loss is the byproduct of your body getting healthy from the inside out. While we all might have a short term goal of looking great in our bikinis and bathing suits this summer, I am more concerned about my body's ability to live into the 100s and how I can spend more time on this earth happy and healthy with my family. 

TIP: If your body isn't releasing the weight at the speed you had hoped, this is a sign that your body is more toxic than you realized. 

What hurts me even more is when someone gives up on themselves, ESPECIALLY when they call it quits within the first 30 days. I know we live in a results driven society, and we are tempted to fall into this trap, but if you really want to protect your body for the long hall, I challenge you to join me in redefining the term 'diet.' Remember that every day you are being marketed to by the weight loss industry and it is important for you to be able to read between the lines and understand what true health is. 

FACT: $20 billion is spent in the U.S. every year by the weight loss industry; including diet books, diet drugs, and weight loss surgeries. 

For most of my life I fell into this trap too. I was constantly searching for answers to achieve my ideal body weight and muscle definition, but would always find myself disappointed, as I was never able to maintain with ease. Three years ago I didn't have my diet right for my body, which meant I had to workout 1-2 hours a day to stay thin, and was nearly impossible to achieve the muscle definition I wanted. I know now the reason why I wasn't able to maintain this was because I didn't have my diet correct and every day I was poisoning my body (which I know was negatively impacting my telomeres and DNA).

TIP: Understanding how you can protect your telomeres is your secret to weight loss and how you can set your body up for success to increase your chances of living into your 100s. 

We've all heard this before: "bad things happen when our cells divide" or "bad things happen when our bodies aren't properly nourished to fight off diseases," but no one ever explains what is REALLY happening at the cellular level. Today it is a known fact that BAD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN OUR TELOMERES SHORTEN. 

What are your telomeres? They are protective caps at the end of your DNA. Picture the plastic at the end of your shoelace. What happens when the plastic is warn off? Your shoelaces unravel and go haywire. The same holds true when your telomeres shorten and eventually exposes your DNA.

Picture This: Telomeres are to your DNA what plastic tips are to the end of your shoelaces. 

I attended a presentation given by Dr. Bill Andrews, a leader in telomere research, and I was shocked to learn that all diseases are a result of our telomeres shortening. Here is the laundry list of just some of the many telomere shortening diseases: 

  • Cardiovascular
  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Degenerative Disc Disease 
  • Alzheimer's
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Osteoporosis
  • General Immunity 
  • Skin Aging
  • Macular Degeneration 
  • Liver Cirrhosis 
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Cell and Tissue Transplants 
  • AIDS
  • Progeria
  • Dyskeratosis Congenita
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome 
  • Down's Syndrome 
  • Fanconi Anemia
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Werner's Syndrome
  • And, Aging Itself! 


I was so inspired by his presentation, I bought a signed copy of his book, Bill Andrews on Telomere Basics: The Quest To Cure Aging. On his website SierraSci.com, he shares a consolidated verison of his book for free. You can buy his book on Amazon, or if you are a member of my team and company, you can buy through your back office for $25bill_andrews_on_telomere_basics_curing_aging

Here Are Some Important Takeaways I Learned From The Book:

Our bodies are built to maintain themselves through cell division, but our cells are specifically programmed not to divide indefinitely. In 1961, scientist Leonard Hayflick proved human cell divisions happen roughly 70 times, give or take a few. I found this very interesting, as the average worldwide life expectancy is 71.0 years (68.5 for males and 73.2 for females). 

Haylick also discovered that cells from young individuals could divide more times than cells from older individuals. Once a cell has exhausted all of its divisions where it could not divide any further, it reaches a state called "replicative senescence." Dr. Bill Andrews discusses how "This was the first real evidence that human cells contained some kind of 'clock' that determined their age. This demonstrated that our aging process isn't simply a consequence of accumulated damage, but rather that there is a specific property of our cells that limits how long we can live." Science has uncovered that our chronological age often isn't a representation  of our biological age. 

Research Shows DNA Replication causes telomeres to shorten. 

Alexei Olovnikov, a Soviet Scientist during the Cold War discovered that during DNA replication some DNA must be lost with every replication. Today it is known as the "End Replication Problem;" the inability for DNA to perfectly copy itself. It is important to understand that cell division is the body's primary method of performing upkeep. To keep our organs functioning, our cells divide on about a yearly basis. 

Science has also discovered that with every division of our DNA, our telomeres shorten, and they will shorten until they become so short that further division actually starts to eat away at our genetic information and causes mutations. 

FACT: At conception we have about 15K Telomeres and they are knocked down to 10K at birth. They continue to shorten throughout our lifetime and when we reach about 5K basis, our cells are not able to divide anymore and we die. 

Remember our cells can only divide about 70 times throughout our lifetime, therefore it is important to keep our telomeres long to protect our body from accelerated aging.   

The Today Show recently did a segment on Telomeres and what we need to know to increase our chances of living into our 100s. It was interesting to see that even the fit, attractive newcaster's body was 10 years older than her actual age. She mentioned she wasn't shocked based on her stress, environmental toxins she knows she's exposed to, and not following a clean diet 100% of the time. 

Want to know how long your telomeres are? A simple lab test done by SpectraCell Labortories can tell you. 

GOOD NEWS: Scientists discovered that humans have an enzyme called Telomerase which can lengthen our telomeres. 

Scientists made this discovery, and it was so profound that it won the Noble Prize of Physiology or Medicine in 2009. Watch this 2 minute video to understand how our bodies are able lengthen our telomeres through our enzyme, telomerase: 

So the next question is, how do we feed our enzymes, specifically telomerase so we can lengthen our telomeres? Most people don't realize that proteins are the essential building blocks to our DNA, and that consuming high quality protein matters. When feeding our telomeres it is essential we are giving it the right nutrition so as we are growing our DNA, we are growing HEALTHY DNA.  

Want to avoid accelerated telomere shortening? AVOID the following: 

  • CIGARETTES -- these are the #1 telomere shortening causes that can 100% be AVOIDED! 
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • Depression 
  • Being overweight 
  • Having a pessimistic outlook on life 

Want your telomeres to thrive? DO the following: 

  • Incorporate Vitamin D3 into your daily diet 
  • Incorporate  Omega 3 fatty acids into your daily diet 
  • Get your antioxidants daily, including Vitamin C & E
  • Reduce stress and meditate often 
  • Exercise and SWEAT 
  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods (i.e. foods high in fiber, low in sugar, and saturated fats) 

Unfortunately, the majority of us aren't doing the right things to protect our telomeres, and until 3 years ago, I wasn't doing the right things either. Today I am still striving on being better, but I know I am better today than I was 3 years ago, and tomorrow I will be better than I am today :)

Here is the sad truth when it comes to our society: 2/3 of us are obese and those that aren't obese are most likely suffering from a metabolic disease, which is just as dangerous (I was the latter). Watch this TED Talk video on the topic of obesity and food in our society today: 



If you want to avoid rapid aging and developing diseases you have to protect your telomeres. I partnered with an amazing company who in my opinion is ahead of its time when it comes to supplemental support for our telomeres. My goal is to live into my 100s strong and healthy, and I want to help support you do the same. Do you need help getting on track? Email me - jen@trueglutenfree.com


Have more questions? Want to learn more? Share your info and I will be in touch!




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