Long Telomeres: How Meditation Slows Aging, Extends Life
How Meditation Lengthens Telomeres, Extends Life
Longevity: Why Telomeres Are So Important
You may have noticed the "White House Effect." That is, how a new president or prime minister appears to age a decade within only their first couple of years in office.
You can probably guess why. According to leading health and longevity researchers, stress speeds up our biological clock — leaving us looking and feeling old long before our time.
If there was a movie theatre where we could, with a big bowl of popcorn, watch our own molecular aging, then each of our telomeres would be a wide-screen IMAX.
Serving as the protective layer over our chromosomes, telomeres are often compared to the little plastic sheaths covering the end of our shoelaces.
As father time and mother stress take their hefty toll, our telomeres begin to fray and shorten, exposing our chromosomes to life’s harsh elements.
The resulting cell breakdown can be seen especially within areas of the body which are more "cell renewal" dependent, with our skin, hair, and immune system extra vulnerable.
Short Telomeres, Short Life
Short telomere tissue degeneration and cell death can, like a rock star living life in the fast lane, make us age hard and fast even if we are nowhere near over the hill.
When you look at timeless celebrities, think Keanu Reeves, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, etc — they most certainly have long and strong telomeres.
Can high-tech medicine save the day? While a number of anti-aging companies are working on telomere lengthening gene therapy techniques, it looks like we are at least a decade away from official FDA approval.
No need to wait, though. You can checkmate father time in a far more natural and time-tested way.
One where you don’t need to fork over your life savings, wait a decade for the government green light, or hop on a plane to South America for under the table unproven treatment. It’s called meditation.
How Meditation Lengthens Telomeres, Shortens Cancer
There have been some amazing studies showing meditation’s telomere lengthening capabilities, with far reaching implications. Here are a couple:
A study published in the highly respected journal, "Cancer", (Carslon et al) measured the telomere length of 88 stage I to III breast cancer survivors, with mindfulness meditation the tested "treatment" method.
Amazingly, while cancer and its aggressive treatment normally grinds our telomeresdown to a nub, the meditating cancer survivors had somehow managed to maintain their telomere length (an incredible result!), while the non-meditators' telomeres shortened significantly (as expected).
Another study by the world famous Dr. Dean Ornish and his University of California (UCSF) colleagues looked at prostate cancer survivors practicing a deep breathing meditation routine. What did they find?
Amazingly, after 3 months, the subjects had "molecularly mitigated" and "silenced" the processes which play a role in developing cancer, including significantly lengthening their telomeres.
This is a landmark finding because, according to Dr. Ornish, "So often people think ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it. But these findings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live [practicing meditation]. Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate."
In addition to the ancient practice's futuristic SciFi movie age regression superpowers, can meditation also stop the spread of cancer in its tracks?
Or even better, contribute to those miraculous stage four spontaneous remission cancer cases we hear about every now and then? Too early to say, but the studies certainly look good.