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What Are Telomeres and What Do They Tell Us?

Since the beginning of the human race, we have been fascinated with immortality. Extending our lives has been one of the most prevalent goals since the conception of modern-day technology. According to the World Economic Forum, there is an 89% chance that someone will exceed 125 years of age in the 21st century.

Humans have made great progress toward longevity and are constantly discovering new methods for healthy aging. One of the most important breakthroughs in cell biology was the discovery of telomeres. In this blog, we will discuss the function of telomeres and what examining them can tell us about our bodies. 

What Are Telomeres?

Our chromosomes have protective structures made from DNA sequences and proteins at their ends called telomeres. These structures support cell life by preventing them from damage or fusion with other chromosomes. 

A commonly used analogy is that telomeres are like the end of a shoelace protecting chromosomes from fraying as the ends of a shoelace protect them from unraveling. Telomeres essentially protect chromosomes from cell damage.

It’s completely normal for telomeres to shorten as we age, but some individuals can have abnormally short telomeres or the shortening process is accelerated. 

Why Do Telomeres Shorten?

Telomeres shorten or shrink as we age, but why? Every time a cell divides, each chromosome is duplicated to provide a copy of genetic information for the new cell (this happens about 330 billion times a day). However, the very end of the chromosome, the telomeres, cannot be copied. This eventually leads to shortened telomeres and a higher risk of cell damage occurring. 

How Is Telomere Length Regulated?

An enzyme called telomerase helps replenish the telomere DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes so that telomeres don’t shorten too quickly, which would result in premature biological aging. This regulation of telomeres ensures that important genetic information is protected and cells can continue to divide normally. 

Telomerase wasn’t discovered until 1984, about fifty years after the discovery of telomeres. This finding notably advanced the study of longevity and continues to aid scientists in disease study.

The Benefit of a Telomere Diagnostic Exam

A telomere diagnostic exam is a process to analyze the rate at which change in telomere length occurs. It’s done quickly and simply by drawing blood. Telomere testing can be beneficial in identifying the source of certain conditions. Short telomeres have been linked to decreased lifespans and various diseases/conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Emphysema
  • Liver disease
  • Anemia
  • Immunodeficiency

A telomere diagnostic exam compares the length of a person’s telomeres to the average size of others to determine the cell’s biological age. This exam can be beneficial to anyone at any age as it can help you make better lifestyle choices, which will in turn optimize their health and performance. In addition to a telomere diagnostic exam, treatment options like NAD+ Therapy and Peptide Therapy are also great for slowing the shortening of the telomere, effectively being used for anti-aging.

Find Out Your True Biological Age With BioCure

Sometimes our age doesn’t align with how we actually feel. This can be attributed to lifestyle habits as well as the length of your telomeres. At BioCure, we offer telomere diagnostic exams to discover the true biological age of your cells. Our team of professionals can go over results with you to support your health and longevity goals as you age. For more information on our services, please contact us today to set up an appointment. 


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