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Dr. Magryta: Take care of your telomeres

I have written about telomeres in the past because of their importance in long term health and longevity.

If you remember, telomeres are the long tails at the end of a DNA strand that protect the code from oxidative and chemical damage. As we age the telomere length shortens and this presents as senility.

What is fascinating is that there is an enzyme that adds back base pairs to the telomere in effect adding time to your life. This enzyme is called a telomerase.

The key is knowing what activates this enzyme. So far we know that exercise is critical to enhancing telomerase function. Positive thought and meditation also increase function. Fasting has a positive effect as well. Chronic stress has a negative effect on the enzyme.

What to do?

I started to walk everywhere years ago. I have not used an elevator at the hospital for years and walk there from my office every time I go. With my glitchy fit bit, I have realized that I add thousands of steps everyday by doing this. I can visualize my telomeres lengthening and getting me to 100 yeas old. My telomeres will be ready to make it there as long as I don’t take myself out skiing or walking across the street reading as I am known to do.

Look at your life and see where you can add telomere lengths by walking more, meditating or fasting.

Dr. Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

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