How Old Are You, Really? Telomeres, Biological Age, and Diabetes
I consider myself healthier than most women my age. I do a variety of physical activity, eat lots of vegetables and a balanced diet, meditate, and strive to limit the amount of time I sit at my desk. When I heard from a friend that I could learn my biological age, which is different from my chronological age, I had to check it out.
Your chronological age is based on your birth date, but your biological age shows how well your body is aging. In the past, I have taken online quizzes to get an idea of my biological age and whether or not the “lifestyle medicine” that I practice and preach is working. Online quizzes such as this are easy to find with a simple Google search, but most likely not as accurate as telomere testing.
Telomeres are sections of DNA found at each end of a chromosome. Humans have 46 chromosomes in most cells of the body. These chromosomes replicate—or copy themselves—when a cell divides, passing the genetic information they carry to the new cells. Telomeres form a cap that protects the ends of the chromosomes during cell reproduction. As described by Dr. John Axe, you can imagine a telomere as acting like the little plastic tip on a shoelace that prevents the shoelace from fraying. Without telomeres, important DNA could be damaged or lost every time a cell divides.
As we age, telomere length shortens. Two main factors contribute to this shortening. The first is sometimes called the “end replication problem,” which describes the shortening of the DNA strands every time a cell carries out replication. This shortening may account for the loss of a Continue reading