Telomeres are sections of genetic material that form a protective cap at the end of each chromosome in every cell of the body. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a tiny bit shorter, until there is no more telomere left to protect DNA from “unraveling,” and the cell dies. Cellular death causes the body to age, thus making telomeres a novel biomarker for biological age. The longer one’s telomeres, the younger one’s biological age. Moreover, the rate at which telomeres shorten is accelerated by inflammation, oxidative stress, nutritional deficiencies, genetic pre-disposition, and other lifestyle habits. Telomere shortening, when expedited, contributes to cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, and cancers.
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