Lifestyle Change Shown to Reverse Aging of our Cells
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 17 (July 28, 2016)
with Dr. James Meschino
Research Topic: Lifestyle Change Shown to Reverse Aging of our Cells
Source: The Lancet, 2013
A really eye-opening article was published in the journal, Lancet, in 2013. It showed that basic lifestyle changes can reverse aging of our cells. By that I mean that lifestyle change can lengthen our telomeres.
So what are telomeres? If the DNA of our cells is compared to a shoelace, then the telomeres would be the shoelace tips at the end of the DNA strand. Every time a cell undergoes replication, the telomeres shorten a bit. Once the telomeres get to a critical level of shortening, really bad things start to happen to our health such as the cell stops functioning, resulting in a decline in organ function, or the cell gets transformed into a cancer cell. Shorter telomeres in human beings is associated with more rapid aging, diseases such as cancer, and premature morbidity – a state of being unhealthy from various causes. Shorter telomeres are not a good thing, let’s put it that way.
In the Lancet study, researchers showed that men with low-grade prostate cancer who successfully used diet and lifestyle change to help manage their their disease, also showed a 10% lengthening of telomeres in their immune system cells. Re-lengthening telomeres is equal to reversing the aging process on a cellular level.This is one of the first human studies to ever show that it is possible to reverse aging, and the method used to do it was simple lifestyle changes.
Dr. Dean Ornish, the head researcher of the study, in a follow-up interview made some key points:
“Fun, freedom, pleasure & love ultimately makes sustainable changes,” he said. The lifestyle changes he advocates have people feeling better and feeling better quickly, and compliance is excellent. With respect to his successful dietary plan it includes:
- Eating mostly plants: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and soy products in their natural forms. What you include in your diet is as important as what you exclude (this means eliminating the bad fats and refined sugars, but also being sure to include the plant foods shown to reduce risk of cancer and other disease).
- Eat as close as possible to its natural form, which helps you get the fiber contained in the food.
- Reduce the intake of hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, and trans fats. (He said there’s a study coming out in a few months that shows that saturated fats actually shorten your telomeres.)
- Reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
- Consume 4 grams of fish oil or equivalent per day (that’s a significant amount, actually). Other studies show that just getting 500 mg per day of EPA/DHA from fish oil is enough to be very helpful. EPA and DHA are the omega-3 fats in fish and fish oil supplements that provide the health benefits.
His take-a-way message is as follows: Eat well, stress less, move more, and love more. These four simple principles of lifestyle changes have been shown to have significant benefits in managing chronic disease risk, influencing aging and reducing health care costs. And that’s why lifestyle medicine is the right idea at the right time.
I think Dr. Ornish has it right. The Meschino Wellness Platform is designed to help facilitate the healthy eating, physical activity and stress management aspects of lifestyle change that are very consistent with Dr. Ornish’s proven method of reversing aging and decreasing disease risk. So, stay engaged in the process and have fun with it. As for loving more, I’ll have to leave that up to you to figure out. I’ve included a link to the research article and interview in the text below
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.