If you knew what a Telomere was, you'd care! Part 1
I am proud to be part of a company with a strong focus on the relationship between optimal nutrition and our well-being. An awareness of emerging scientific discoveries guides the creation of the products we offer. I am part of a current on going research study with Telome Health, Inc in collaboration with Shaklee Corporation. The study is to find out how the telomere length differs between Shaklee supplement users and a healthy non-supplement user population. I thought I would share one of those studies with you.
What is a telomere?
Our chromosomes contain genetic material in the form of strands of DNA. Telomeres are extensions of these DNA strands that protect the integrity of the DNA.
Telomeres are sort of like those plastic tips that cover and protect the end of shoelaces from fraying. Telomeres tend to get shorter as we age.
Evidence suggests telomere length is a reliable indicator of overall health. Short telomeres are associated with increased health risk factors.
In collaboration with a company called Telomere Diagnostics, we decided to investigate telomere length (a marker of overall health–see the sidebar) in two groups of people.
The control group consisted of very healthy adults (age range about 30-80) who were nonsmokers with no known chronic diseases.
We compared those healthy people with “heavy supplement users.” This was a group of people (in the same age range) who reported that they had taken five or more Shaklee supplements daily for at least five years. The averages for this group were more than 12 supplements taken at least 4-6 days per week for 10 or more years.
Saliva samples were collected from both groups for Telomere Diagnostics to measure their telomere length.
The results of this cross-sectional study showed that telomere length was 11.2 percent greater in the supplement group than the control group, a statistically significant finding.
What is interesting about this study (and other similar studies) is that telomere length may give us a reliable measure of our long-term overall well-being. It also appears that we can protect our telomeres (slow the rate at which they shorten,) by the choices we make.
Other recent studies have shown that telomere length can be protected by what we eat (for example, by a Mediterranean diet) and by how active we are. And now, our study suggests that our telomeres may be protected by which supplements we take.
These findings reinforce the idea that our genes do not control all of our health outcomes; diet, lifestyle, and environment also play significant roles. I believe it is possible through the choices we make to greatly improve our chances for a long and healthy life.
If you want to read the actual study article, click on the following link: telomere study.
 Crous-Bou M, Fung TT, Prescott J, Julin B, Du M, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Hu FB, De Vivo I. Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses’ Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2014 Dec 2;349:g6674. PMID: 25467028.
 Ludlow AT, Ludlow LW, Roth SM. Do telomeres adapt to physiological stress? Exploring the effect of exercise on telomere length and telomere-related proteins. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:601368. doi: 10.1155/2013/601368. Epub 2013 Dec 24. PMID: 24455708.