I recommend telomere length assessment for my patients as a way to measure cellular aging. This article is from Life Length. the first company in the world to make Telomere Analysis Technology (TAT), developed by Dr. Maria Blasco, current Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), available to individuals on a commercial basis.
“Telomeres are specialized structures on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from fusions and degradation in this way ensuring cell viability. Telomere loss, however, occurs as a natural result of normal DNA replication.
- Telomeres protect chromosomes against degradation, fusion, and rearrangements during DNA replication
- Telomeres preserve the integrity of chromosomes by allowing the complete replication of the ends of chromosomal DNA through the activity of the enzyme telomerase
- Telomeres facilitate the correct positioning of the chromosomes within the nucleus for replication
In mammalian cells, telomeres are composed of tandem repeats of the TTAGGG sequence that span10 to 15 kilobases and the various proteins that bind to this region.
During DNA replication, the terminal end of the telomere is not replicated resulting in the continual shortening of telomeres losing TTAGGG repeats.
The average number of base pairs lost per year varies depending upon both genetic and environmental factors.
Eventually, the telomeres shorten to a critical length resulting in chromosomal instability and loss of cell viability.”
Knowing the length of a person’s telomeres allows a better understanding and treatment for the individual’s cellular health and anti-aging process.