It is no secret that the health supplement business is full of snake-oil salesman offering placebo’s while promising health and wellness. At the same time, there are many companies which are entirely well-intentioned and working to bring beneficial supplements to market. Sometimes, for the consumer, it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two. Fortunately, by measuring telomere length (using our telomere testing kit), now there is a way to actively measure whether an intervention is beneficial to a users health on the cellular level.
Telomeres are the protective end-caps of chromosomes which prevent deterioration of the cell and allow for proper replication. Telomeres become shorter with age and poor lifestyle choices, eventually failing to protect cells. When this happens, the cell no longer properly divides leading to cell death.
While it may sound a bit gloomy, there is good news: telomeres, which help you live a long, healthy life, can be protected themselves by making wise choices in every day life, such as exercise and a healthy diet. This also means that telomeres are an important health and ageing biomarker, and that telomere measurements can be used to quantify wellness.
So how do these supplements claiming to support cellular health and longevity purportedly work? Exercise, for example, has been shown to lead to an increase in telomerase exhibition. Telomerase is an enzyme responsible for the maintenance of telomere length. Several companies offer pills which claim to activate telomerase, thus lengthening telomeres. While there is some scientific support for select supplements, it isn’t entirely clear if the science fully adds up, as noted by the Daily Beast’s coverage of a paper published in support of TA-65.
Ultimately, the paper—and the supplement—may prove to be an important step in leading to a formula that, in fact, allows us to live longer, and with a higher quality of life. But for now, as Campisi points out about the splashy new study: “It really reads like an apology for a company.”
If you are taking supplements which purport longer telomere length or cellular health, we encourage you to put the question to the test by ordering a telomere length testing kit. Similarly, we are glad to see how we can work with supplement manufacturers who are interested in putting their products to the test.