Scientists have understood the basic mechanism of telomeres, the small zipper-like capsules that bind our DNA genetic material and enable precise cellular reproduction, for more than a decade now. As each cell replicates, the telomere shortens and the potential life-cycle of the cell diminishes slightly until there is no more telomere and cell death ensues. Researchers publishing in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology have found that telomere shortening accurately predicts the risk of developing heart disease, suffering a heart attack and early death from all causes.
Smoking and obesity cause systemic inflammation and are a direct cause of telomere shortening. In addition to improving diet and lifestyle risk factors, carnosine supplementation is emerging as an important nutrient that can block telomere shortening and reduce aging effects to increase lifespan.
Carnosine Shown to Dramatically Lower Heart Attack Risk from Shortened Telomeres
Researchers from The University of Copenhagen in Denmark examined the DNA of 20,000 Danes to analyze their specific telomere length, an established measurement of cellular aging. The participants were followed for a period of nineteen years and the results demonstrated that when the telomere length was short, the risk of heart attack and early death was increased by fifty and twenty-five per cent, respectively.
The study author and team leader, Dr. Borge Nordestgaard noted “The risk of heart attack or early death is present whether your telomeres are shortened due to lifestyle or due to high age.” Many lifestyle choices including smoking and poor diet leading to overweight and obesity are independent risk factors for telomere shortening that increase heart attack risk and early death. Any factor that shortens the length of these critical DNA markers, whether from lifestyle digressions or age, will have the same detrimental consequences.
Nutritionally Optimized Diet and Healthy Lifestyle Slow the Aging Process
It is now possible to examine cellular wear and aging by means of a simple blood test to reveal a person's telomere length. In addition to following a diet optimized for proper nutrients and calories and avoiding negative lifestyle habits, the dipeptide carnosine has been shown to maintain and actually lengthen telomeres. Due to the potent antioxidant action of carnosine, the naturally derived nutrient is shown to play a protective role in preventing telomere damage while decreasing the rate of telomere shortening during cell division, effectively slowing down the aging process.
Carnosine is presently used for preventing or treating complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, cataracts and kidney problems, as it prevents the damaging effects of advanced glycation end products (AGE’s). Carnosine is naturally found in free-range meats and fish. As many health-minded individuals avoid animal based foods, carnosine supplements are available (1000 mg per day) that may help prevent telomere shortening and protect against heart attack and premature death.