Years from now, it will be clear that 2017 was the beginning of a golden era of genomics. Scientists can now visualize what’s going on in our bodies on a cellular level---with a genomic dimension.
One popular application of this growing knowledge base has been trained on understanding the aging process and attempting to slow it down. Telomeres, the caps on the end of a strand of DNA, are an important biomarker for aging.
The longer they are, the better, because they can better protect chromosomes from being damaged. The longer they are, the longer it takes to get to the DNA---probably one of the reasons that people with longer telomeres live longer.
Numerous studies have shown a link between healthy lifestyle habits (exercise, sufficient sleep, eating lots of vegetables, etc.) and longer telomeres, while stress, smoking, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise are associated with shorter telomeres.
Researchers, who analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study, have determined that drinking coffee can make telomeres longer. This finding syncs up with data from an NIH study that linked coffee to a longer life.
In this 13-year study of roughly 4,000 people (men and women between 50 and 71), drinking four to five cups of coffee per day decreased the risk of death by 16% in women and by 12% in men.
Ongoing research is attempting to find a clinical method to methodically increase the length of telomeres.
One day, we may be able to take a telomere-enhancing capsules, but until then, we have to focus on lifestyle. Fortunately, some of the best things in life---coffee included---can help us lengthen our telomeres.
May your summer be happy, sunny, productive and full of good coffee!