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A Healthy Lifestyle Lengthens Telomeres – And Perhaps Lifespan

September 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
With aging, telomeres – the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that help keep them stable – tend to shorten and become weaker, leading to cell death. But new U.S. research shows that eating a healthy diet, exercising moderately, reducing stress through meditation, stretching, etc., actually lengthen telomeres by as much as 10 percent. The telomeres of the men in the control group of the five-year study – they did not change their lifestyle – were nearly three percent shorter at the end of the study. The researchers said increases in telomere length may help prevent many aging-related diseases, including many forms of cancer, stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Dean Ornish et al. , "Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer", The Lancet Oncology, September 18, 2013, © Elsevier Ltd.
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