My goal as an anti-aging doctor isn’t to lengthen your lifespan.
It’s a noble goal. But it’s not what I’m trying to do.
My idea of anti-aging is to help you live as young and youthful as possible, right now – without being sidelined by pain or disease.
I want to help you increase your “health span.” That’s the amount of time you feel energized, vivacious, and ready to take on the world.
Of course, the healthier you are, the more quality years you’re likely to have.
One of the most exciting advances in anti-aging medicine I use to help my patients increase their health span is next-generation telomere therapy.
You may recall telomeres are the tiny “countdown clocks” located at the end of each DNA strand. They control the aging process.
Every time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter. This is what accelerates aging… And the secret increasing your health span is slowing down this clock.
New research shows that telomere length is one of the strongest markers of disease, health span, and quality of life. Here are just a few of the studies:
- Women over 60 with the shortest telomeres have 3 times the risk of developing heart disease.1
- Shorter than average telomere length means 12 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s in women…2
- And 9.6 times greater risk of cognitive impairment.3
- Patients suffering from heart failure had telomeres that were 40% shorter than normal…4
- Short telomeres in women increased the risk of getting a serious infectious disease 8.5 times.5
Fortunately, your cells have the ability to produce an enzyme that lengthens telomeres. This ability is built into your DNA. Once you activate this ability, your DNA produces an enzyme called telomerase.
The telomerase then rebuilds the length of your telomeres.
One of the most effective telomerase activators is omega-3.
I’ve witnessed the effects in my patients firsthand. But it’s always great when clinical studies back up what I see…
One study found that people with the lowest levels of omega-3 fats had the fastest telomere shortening over a five-year period. Those with the highest levels had the slowest shortening.6
And in another study, researchers at Ohio State University wanted to know if high doses of omega-3s could shield telomeres from the free-radical damage caused by stress.
Free radicals are a key factor in the aging process, damaging cells and causing illness and aging.
In this case, the researchers gave 138 people difficult problems to solve, then studied their bodies’ reactions. Those who took 2.5 grams of omega-3s daily had 19% lower cortisol levels and 33% fewer inflammatory proteins than normal.7
But participants taking a placebo experienced a 25% drop in telomerase. That’s alarming because without enough telomerase to repair your telomeres, old age and frailty are right around the corner.
Protect your telomeres to increase your health span
Supplementing is the easiest way to get the right kind of omega-3s. The key ingredient to look for is docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. I recommend at least 500 mg of DHA and 60 mg of EPA every day!
Look for a supplement powered by high-DHA calamari and krill caught in the pristine waters near the Antarctic.
Here’s what else I suggest…
- Use sacha inchi oil. When I traveled to Peru, I discovered a delicious oil that may be the world’s best kept omega-3 secret. Most vegetable oils have only a minuscule amount of omega-3. Olive oil has just 1% by volume, for example.But sacha inchi oil (plukenetia volubilis), made from the peanut-like seeds of a plant found primarily in the Amazonian Rainforest in Peru, is absolutely one of the best fatty acid sources on the planet – a whopping 48% by volume. It’s also high in protein and antioxidants like vitamin A and E.
- Sprinkle on some hempseeds. These seeds come from a plant in the cannabis family… but without the psychoactive THC. They offer a nearly ideal ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, estimated at between 2:1 and 3:1.3 That’s highly significant because over the last 75 years, the disease-causing omega-6/omega-3 ratio has jumped to a stunning 20:1 – mostly due to grain-fed cattle and cheap vegetable oils.To counteract this trend, use hempseed whenever you can. I sprinkle it on salads, or you can toss it in soups and stews.
- Eat more organ meat. As soon as someone says “omega-3s,” you probably think of fish, not meat. Many readers remain unaware that meat is also an excellent omega-3 source. But not just any meat will do:
Unless livestock is 100% grass-fed, its omega-3 content will be negligible. The best cuts are liver, heart, and kidneys. Organ meat is also packed with other vital nutrients such as CoQ10, B vitamins, and protein.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Atzmon G., et al. “Genetic variation in human telomerase is associated with telomere length in Ashkenazi centenarians.” Proc Natal Acad Sci USA. 2010 Jan 26.
2. Grodstein F., et al. “Shorter telomeres may mark early risk of dementia: preliminary analysis of 62 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study.” PLOS One. February 13, 2008.
3. Grodstein F., et al. “Shorter telomeres may mark early risk of dementia: preliminary analysis of 62 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study.” PLOS One. February 13, 2008.
4. Chang A, et al. “Telomere shortening is a hallmark of genetic cardiomyopathies.” PNAS. 2018 September;115(37):9276-9281.
5. Gerontol A, et al. “Association between telomere length, specific causes of death, and years of healthy life in health, aging, and body composition, a population-based cohort study.” Biol Sci Med Sci. 2009 Aug;64(8):860-4.
6. Farzaneh-Far R, et al. “Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease.” JAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257.
7. Madison A, et al. “Omega-3 supplementation and stress reactivity of cellular aging biomarkers: an ancillary substudy of a randomized, controlled trial in midlife adults.” Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Jul; 26(7): 3034–3042.