Will a physical structure known as the Fountain of Youth ever be found? This is a mythical spring that’s believed to restore youthfulness to anyone who drinks water from it. It’s highly unlikely that such a place exists. However, it seems the key to living longer might be related to DNA and the ends of chromosomes known as telomeres. Scientists are studying something called telomeres, which are located at the end of “chromosomes.”
Fun Fact: The Human Genome Project showed that humans have slightly more genes than a mouse. It seems that what they’ve discovered about telomere aging could be the secret to dealing with many serious diseases.
The aging process is basically about how long human cells can live. A string of cells keeps dividing/copying to form new cells. However, when the string becomes too short the process stops happening then the cells can’t survive. So, the key is to prevent the chain of cells from shortening, which can help to prevent disease and help people live longer. On a cellular level, this is the so-called Fountain of Youth. As the old saying goes “more research is needed” and scientists are studying ways to protect those cell strings so the average life of humans will be increased.
What in the World Are Telomeres?
There’s lots of stuff in the human body including DNA and things called chromosomes. These things have all the genetic data that parents pass on to their children. The gene data determines different features of a person including things like hair and eye colors.
Then at the end of every chromosome is something known as a “telomere.” They help to function as the little plastic caps at the end of shoelaces by protecting the chromosome. Here’s how it works. Cells divide/copy themselves so they can save the gene’s data. If you want to impress your friends and relatives the term is “mitosis.”
The telomeres make sure that there isn’t much data lost when mitosis takes place and cells split. The telomere does by getting a little shorter. When that happens, the telomere gets smaller. However, this helps to keep the cells copying if there’s enough data.
Telomeres have a big effect on how fast cells age. This also affects how fast a person’s entire boy ages. It’s related to many issues like serious diseases and how fast the body “wears down.”
There’s also an important enzyme in the process. These have stuff called RNA that cause chemicals to make reactions. Telomeres add data to chromosomes so cells can grow and divide.
How is this all related to long life? Several scientists think telomeres are the key to various medical conditions. For example, there’s a theory that slowing down the telomeres could slow down the cancer cells’ growth.
All of this could be related to the natural aging process. In other words, slowing down the growth of “bad” cells like cancer cells could help people to live longer. The telomeres could also help to regrow cells to treat different medical conditions.
Telomeres: Aging Solution?
Today several anti-aging products are on the market. They often make bold claims like being able to remove wrinkles or reverse skin damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. These products are related to the job of telomeres since the goal is to keep human cells alive to fight off signs of aging.
You can find several products on the market with various ingredients that supposedly can slow down or even reverse the normal aging process. These wrinkle creams are usually over-the-counter (OTC) products that don’t need a prescription.
This is a big issue. That’s because it means the products don’t require any scientific studies to show they’re effective and just as importantly do what the makers claim they can.
The “problem” with these products is the changes they provide are mostly cosmetic. They affect how old you look but don’t affect the aging process.
This helps to explain why scientists want to know more about how telomeres work. This is a different process because it affects the structure of human cells. Wrinkle creams try to hide the fact that you have wrinkles. A better approach would be to keep them from happening as long as possible.
The anti-aging products can add some moisture to your skin. This can, in turn, help your skin look better. The skin looks fuller for a while and it’s tougher to see lines/wrinkles in the skin.
There are several anti-aging products on the market. They include creams, lotions, gels, and moisturizers. They contain various ingredients like water, oils, waxes, etc. The combination of these ingredients helps the products do their “magic,” which is to give you healthier skin—for a while.
There are several different ingredients in anti-aging products. However, the main goal is always to try and add moisture to the skin. The products can’t prevent wrinkles from the get-go.
Top Tips for Healthier Skin
1. Eat a well-balanced diet
This is one of the best ways to achieve healthy skin from the inside-out. Eat lean proteins, whole grains, fruits/veggies, and seeds/nuts. For example, studies show that healthy fats are needed to boost skin health.
On the other hand, you should also avoid highly-processed and unhealthy food. They include added salt, sugar, trans-fats, and artificial ingredients like colors, flavors, and preservatives.
2. Gently treat your skin
This includes taking some basic steps to help prevent faster-aging skin. Avoid using strong soap. Limit how long your baths are. Use shaving creams when you shave your face or legs. After you bathe or shave pat-dry your skin. These are all basic yet effective steps.
3. Stop smoking
Putting out your last cigarette is one of the easiest ways to have more youthful skin. When you light a cigarette, it produces 100+ toxic chemicals. When you smoke it thins the blood vessels in the skin’s top layers, which lowers blood flow. This causes other results like less oxygen/nutrients in the skin. These are very important for good health.
Another effect of smoking is on fibers known as “collagen” and “elastin.” They help your skin to stay strong and stretchy.
A surprising skin-related effect of smoking is the expression you make when smoking. For example, when you inhale the cigarette’s chemicals or squint to keep smoke out, it can lead to skin wrinkles.
4. Protect skin from UV rays
Sunrays are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is a skin-friendly vitamin. However, it’s important to also protect your skin from UV rays, which over time can cause more wrinkles and skin cancer. There are some basic steps you can take like using sunscreen, staying in the shade from 11 AM to 2 PM, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants if you have sensitive skin to slow down telomeres aging.