In Part 2 of this blog last month, which you can access here, I focused on some nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in boosting telomerase activity, to lengthen those little end bits of your chromosomes, thereby boosting longevity. Let’s look at a few more.
Vitamin K2. This fat-soluble vitamin could be the next vitamin D. Whilst most people get enough from their diet to prevent blood clots, they don’t necessarily have high enough levels for disease prevention. In 2004, the Rotterdam Study, which was the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2, showed that people who consume 45 mcg of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day. Association doesn’t always mean causation, but it’s an interesting finding nonetheless. Can you eat it? Yes, if you want to eat natto, a bad-smelling Japanese fermented soya product. You can get plenty of K1 from your greens, which, if your gut bacteria are behaving themselves, will be converted to K2.
Magnesium, often known as the mineral that “does it all”, also plays an important role in DNA replication, repair, and RNA synthesis. Dietary magnesium has been shown to positively correlate with increased telomere length in women. Other research has shown that long term magnesium deficiency leads to telomere shortening in cell cultures. Can you eat it? Yes – it’s abundant in greens. Wheatgrass juice is full of it, as is chlorella. Watch your stress levels though – magnesium is run out of the body in times of stress, as a result of the action of cortisol.
Polyphenols. Yes, I have mentioned them before, in my 2013 blog on longevity and also in various other blogs, because they are important. Resveratrol, one type of polyphenol antioxidant, is known to activate our longevity genes, and although we are not yeasts, one study has indicated that resveratrol prolongs the life of yeast cells. It’s a good start! Can you eat it? Yes, as long as you’re not avoiding fruit, since most polyphenols are present in dark skinned berries. You can get those without the sugar by using Juice Plus berry blend. They are also present in matcha (green) tea.
Folate (folic acid). According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, plasma concentrations of the B vitamin folate correspond to telomere length in both men and women. Folate plays an important role in the maintenance of DNA integrity and DNA methylation, both of which influence the length of your telomeres. Can you eat it? Yes. Green leaves have loads of it. So does Juice Plus vegetable blend.
Vitamin B12. In the “sister study” as it is known, researchers concluded that vitamin B12 had its protective action on telomeres as a result of reducing oxidative stress. Brian Clement, Director of the Hippocrates Health Institute, recommends that everyone, without exception, supplements with B12. Do you take it? If not, why not start today? A word of warning – make sure you use methylcobalamin and not cyanocobalamin – a small difference, but an important one.
Turmeric. Curcumin, the active molecule from turmeric root with its amazing health benefits, also seems to have anti-ageing qualities. You can also get it in supplement form (I use it every day), and its absorption is enhanced by black pepper (piperine). Guess what’s in your curry?
Finally, let’s look at the practice of “undereating”. It’s all over the media isn’t it? 5:2, caloric restriction, intermittent fasting… and it could be the secret to life extension and freedom from degenerative disease. Gabriel Cousens, in his book Spiritual Nutrition, devotes a whole chapter to undereating. On the Hippocrates Health Institute program, participants fast once a week (Wednesday is fasting day at Hippocrates). However, we fast on “liquid nourishment” – i.e. green juices, and those that need to have a blended green soup in the evening.
So, what’s so great about fasting? Nothing if you view it as deprivation. Everything if you view it as the fountain of youth! Science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including:
• Normalising your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin resistance (which is what you get when your insulin sensitivity plummets) is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
• Normalising ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
• Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process
• Lowering triglyceride levels
• Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
There’s also plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process. The fact that it improves a number of potent disease markers also contributes to fasting’s overall beneficial effects on general health.
So there you have it – for now anyway. Here’s to a long, happy and fulfilling life – whatever that means to you.