Telomerase Activation: The Breakdown
A telomere is an integral part of human cell replication and directly affects how human cells age. Think of telomeres as the caps on the end of shoe strings. These plastic tips on the end of shoe strings protect the laces from unraveling and coming undone. Without these caps, the laces will become useless for their essential purpose. Similarly, telomeres are the caps on the ends of DNA strands. Telomeres protect the chromosomes contained in DNA strands. Without the protection of telomeres, the DNA strands would become damaged and would become useless for an essential cellular purpose: the replication of cells.
DNA is a part of all cells in the human body. As such, telomeres play a vital role. As cells replicate, telomeres get shorter and shorter. As this happens, the DNA in the cells remains protected by the telomeres that are still in place. Because cell replication is a constant process throughout a human's life, telomeres are also constantly shortening. At some point in the cell's lifespan, the telomere will become too short to protect the DNA contained within the cell. At such a time, cells will no longer be able to replicate and will age and eventually die. This is where telomerase activation comes into play.
What is Telomerase Activation?
Telomerase is a naturally occurring enzyme that affects the shortening of telomeres and, therefore, aging. Telomerase is a part of telomeres and the amount of telomerase each person has decreases as the person get older. Telomerase can stop or slow down the effects of telomere shortening. It may even possibly reverse the shortening of telomeres altogether.
Telomerase Activation is currently the main player in the fight against aging. TA-65 is a nutritional supplement developed based on the research of three scientists on telomerase that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. TA-65 activates the telomerase already in the human body to lengthen telomeres.
As telomeres lengthen, the aging process is halted. The immune system strengthens, and cells are essentially rejuvenated. The once-dying cells begin to replicate once more and the cells take on a newer, younger phenotype which causes them to function as younger cells would. This includes faster-growing hair, renewed skin elasticity, immune health and so much more. With telomerase activation affecting cell replication, there also comes the potential for health risks.
Telomerase activation is akin to having an unlimited supply of gas in a car. The car represents the cell. With an unlimited supply of gas, the car can keep going longer than the energizer bunny. By activating the telomerase enzyme, cells will be able to replicate into perpetuity. Cells will not age, die, or ever stop functioning.
This breakthrough, while it may have massive benefits which combat aging, could potentially cause an increased risk for cancer. While shortened telomeres have been linked to cancer and other malignant diseases, it a safe assumption that unlimited cell replication can create that same risk. However, determining whether to accept such a risk should be solely up to the individual wishing to combat aging. Which is worse dying of old age or dying of cancer? You would be surprised on the varying opinions.