DNA and Telomeres

Telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes that can be thought of like the ends of shoelaces. They keep the ends of the DNA from fraying . As we age, the telomeres typically get shorter and the cells can no longer protect the DNA leading to cell death. Longer telomeres have been associated with longevity, brain health and reduced risk of chronic disease.

Health Conditions with Associations to Shortened Telomeres

  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Asthma & COPD
  • Cancer
  • Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, PTSD and Bi-Polar Disorder

Dietary and Lifestyle Factors That Contribute to Telomere Shortening

  • Processed Foods, Red Meat, & Sugar
  • Inflammatory Diet
  • Poor Sleep
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Oxidative Stress (Lack of Antioxidants)

Elevated stress hormone Cortisol can inhibit telomerase, the enzyme that protects and lengthens telomeres

Dietary & Lifestyle Factors Associated with Telomere Lengthening & Protection

Antioxidants from food & supplements.

Yoga & Meditation produced a 43% increase in telomerase activity.

Exercise: those with high physical activity had longer telomeres and 7-9 years lower biological age than those with a sedentary lifestyle.

Omega 3 fatty acids: study participants in the highest quarter of omega-3 blood levels had the least telomere shortening after 5 years.

Gotu Kola increased telomerase activity almost 9-fold.

Nicotinamide Riboside increased NAD+ thereby protecting against telomere damage.

Vitamins C, Folate, & Potassium have been linked to longer telomere length.

Vitamin D: The top third of Vitamin D intake compared to the bottom third of participants, had 5 years less telomere aging.


Int J Yoga. 2018     Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2013 Jan  Preventative Medicine. July 2017    JAMA. 2010 Jan 20     EMBO J. 2020 Nov 2 Clin Chem Lab Med. 2015 Oct


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Research, nutritional information and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Consult your physician before initiating any new dietary or supplement program.