THIS IS THE SECOND PART of a three-part series in understanding the role of telomeres in aging and the scientific ways to boost and lengthen them.
You won’t get part 2 if you haven’t read Part 1 yet. So please come back after reading, “Secrets of Aging: Meet your Telomeres and Understand its Role.”
In Part 1 we took a deep dive into what are telomeres, we met them face to face, understood why they shorten and what is their impact on aging.
In this part, we are going to look at the ways how to stop the shortening of telomeres and slow down the process of aging.
In short, I am going to give you a secret recipe for eternal youth.
Are you ready?
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).
In a landmark study published in the leading journal “Aging” in Nov 2020, Israeli scientists claim to have stopped not only the biological aging process but to even reverse it- backward in time.
Well, interested to know more then, read further.
The study, a collaboration by researchers from the Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center, claimed that first time in human history, they have been able to reverse two key biological hallmarks of aging: telomere shortening and cell Senescence or death (biological aging).
How did they do it? Let’s see!
The researchers took 35 healthy individuals over the age of 64 and exposed them to high-pressure oxygen five times a week over a period of 90 days. These 35 participants were given a series of 60 hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) sessions at various concentrations inside a pressure chamber. Each individual provided blood samples before, during and after the end of the treatment.
The researchers then analyzed and compared the results. The findings surprised even the researchers. They observed that HBOT on ageing healthy adults leads to reversing of the shortening of telomeres and cells senescence.
In fact, the telomeres grew longer at a rate of 20-38 percent and the percentage of senescent cells reduced substantially by 11-37 percent depending on different cell types. The adult blood cells actually grew younger as the treatment progressed.
The real surprise was that the telomere length increased to the level as the adults were in their mid-twenties. Yes, though their biological age remained at 64 but their cellular age became 25 years younger. It means 40-year-old cells in the body of 64 years. Isn’t it amazing?
Not only this oxygen treatment further improved cognitive functions, attention, and information processing speed in the participants.
“We are not just slowing the decline- we are going backward in time,” Professor Efrati said and dubbed the treatment as the “holy grail” of biological aging.
Now, before you pack your bag and head straight to the airport to take the next flight to Israel, let me share some equally effective and affordable ways to do the same in the comfort of your home.
Meditation- The Best Anti-Aging Formula.
In 2007 researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of California, San Francisco took their scientific instruments to measure heart, and brain functions high up in the mountains of Colorado for a three-month meditation retreat.
They were visiting the Shambala Mountain Center, the haven for eastern spiritual practices not to meditate, but to undertake a first of its kind project called “Shamatha.” Their ultimate aim was to find out what happens both physically and psychologically to people who meditate.
The Shamatha projects chief coordinator Clifford Saron wanted to assess the impact, that a long and intensive course of meditation had on people. His team advertised for participants willing to spend three months in the meditation retreat.
They chose 60 people. Half of them attended and the other half acted as a control group. The scientific team looked at the white blood cells of 30 people at the end of the meditation retreat.
What did they observe?
Well, they discovered that the telomerase activity in meditators increase by 35-40 percent versus the control group.
“We have found that meditation promotes positive psychological changes,” said Clifford Saron on the results, “and that meditators showing the greatest improvement on various psychological measures had the highest levels of telomerase.”
Just imagine meditation can boost the enzyme telomerase by 40 %. If you are a serious meditator then it’s time for the party. Isn’t it?
In another study in 2013, Elizabeth Hoge, M.D. a professor of psychiatry at Harvard, Medical School led a project of studying the impact of meditation on aging. She compared the telomere length of experienced Loving-Kindness meditation (LKM) practitioners to that of non-meditators.
LKM is a meditation practice in Buddhist tradition which focuses on kindness, love, and warmth towards each and every one.
In a meta-analysis study of meditation and telomere length, 11 studies were identified reporting comparisons of meditating individuals versus the control group. The overall result indicated that meditators had longer telomeres.
Another 2019 Research.
In another research published in the journal, “Psychoneuroendocrinology”, the researchers recruited 176 participants from the age group 35-64 years from North Carolina. The participants were placed in three groups.
The first group was assigned to a 6-week LKM workshop, the second group was put on 6-week mindfulness meditation and the third group was the control group. Blood samples were collected from all the participants at the beginning and end of the study.
The Result: Participants both in the mindfulness group and control group showed significant shortening of telomere over time. Only participants of the LKM group showed no shortening of telomere. The meditation practice acted as a buffer to the attrition.
In some respect, this is not surprising for me. After all, for ages, meditation has been the cornerstone and foundation of our yogis and saints. Eastern culture has believed for centuries that meditation helps keep you younger.
So, if you have been anti-spiritual, then these scientific conclusions would suggest why in recent years, the use of meditation and mindfulness have been steadily increasing in western societies with the aim of increasing physical and psychological health.
Now you don’t have to spend endless hours looking for anti-aging products available in the market both online and offline, spend money on buying them. One of the best anti-aging techniques available which is absolutely free is meditation.
The secret to everlasting youth is out! It is meditation.
Next time somebody asks you this question: How do we slow the aging process?
Give them the shortest one-word answer: Meditation.
If you are a meditator, your future is long and bright.
Let me know your take on this topic and any experience of meditation, in the comments section below!
Bye-Bye Aging and Happy Telomere!