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Biomarkers of Aging

Meditation And Lifestyle Changes Can Protect Your Telomeres

Posted on 8 December 2015

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If you’re short on finances and looking for a simple way to boost your chances of living healthier for longer, meditation and lifestyle choices could be a great tactic. New research has found these choices stimulate telomerase gene expression, a factor consistently linked to longevity.

Confirming the obvious?

It’s common knowledge that lifestyle choices and attitude play a major role in health. Granted some people are given an unlucky assortment of genes, but a low stress, high quality nutrition lifestyle has been consistently linked to lower rates of age-related disease. 

What did this study involve?

48 men and women were recruited for the study and split into two groups. One group were given transcendental meditation and a basic education class. The other made lifestyle changes including weight loss, reducing salt intake, physical activity and reducing alcohol intake. They also attended support groups. 

What did they find? 

After 16 weeks, both groups showed promising results. Both showed significant increases in telomerase gene expression; the enzyme which lengthens telomeres and enables cells to divide for longer. They also showed a reduction in blood pressure, which bodes well for cardiovascular health.

“The finding that telomerase gene expression is increased, and that this is associated with a reduction in blood pressure in a high-risk population, suggests that this may be a mechanism by which stress reduction improves cardiovascular health”

We know shortened telomeres are associated with higher rates of age-related disease and complications. While it’s not yet clear just how important a role telomeres play, this finding could explain further the benefits of stress management. While no-one is claiming these lifestyle modification will grant you immortality or even life extension, making small, easy changes is a great way to increase quality of life and reduce overall risk. 

Read more at EurekAlert

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