Nutritional Wisdom: Your DNA’s ‘age’ depends on what you eat

Telomeres are the caps of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that protect our genetic material and make it possible for our cells to divide. Telomeres are where the DNA replication machinery attaches during the cell division process, so that the entire DNA strand can be copied. Each time the cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. For the next cell division to happen, there must be enough room left on the telomere for the replication enzymes. If the telomere becomes too short, the DNA can’t be copied properly, and the cell cannot divide. To prevent excessive shortening, the enzyme telomerase rebuilds telomeres. Telomere length and telomerase activity are factors associated with biological aging. As scientists continue to examine the complex role of telomeres in the aging process and the role they play in our health, we have come to understand that shorter telomere length is associated with lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer and premature death.

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