Ponce de León searched for, but never found the fabled fountain of youth.
Throughout the history of mankind, many scientists and philosophers have pondered the concept of immortality. Biblical accounts chronicle four people living to be over 900, with Adam being the oldest at his time of death at the age of 930. Whether you believe those accounts or not, living to 930 is beyond impressive, but far from being immortal.
So What is so “Special” About Cancer Cells?
First we have to cover how cells die of “old age.”
We each have 23 sets of chromosomes that carry our specific genetic code.
Each chromosome is made up DNA and DNA is composed of a code made up of four different building blocks called nucleotides.
Each chromosome has a tail of extra nucleotides called a telomere. These telomeres are of varying lengths. We start off when we are in the womb with telomeres on each chromosome of about 15 – 20 thousand extra nucleotides.
Every time a cell replicates or divides into two daughter cells, the telomeres shorten by about 50 – 200 nucleotides.
When telomeres shorten down to about 5,000 nucleotides, the cell can’t replicate any longer and the organism is ready to die form “old age.”
The number of cell divisions before this occurs is called the Hayflick limit and that number varies from species to species. As we will see, the human Hayflick limit is not written in stone.
Cancer cells are immortal because their telomeres don’t shorten after each cell division as non-cancer cells do. Cancer cells have an enzyme called a telomerase that adds nucleotides to the cancer cell’s telomeres, so they never shorten to the point that the cell can no longer replicate.
How Does This Help Us To Live Longer?
If we can lengthen our telomeres, we hypothetically may live longer before we die of old age.
Certain strategies can increase human telomere length and effectively “bank longevity.”
Telomere lengthening Strategies:
1. Protandim is a supplement that I have been taking for about 10 years that can lengthen human telomeres. Biohacking the Aging Code
2. Intermittent fasting is a strategy to eat all of your food every day during about an 8 hour window and only drink water for the other 16 hours/day.
3. High intensity interval training (HIIT)- Science has shown that this may slow aging. I have been doing this for about 6 years now but don’t start HIIT is you are sedentary. These workouts are so intense that if a couch potato attempted HIIT, they could have a heart attack. Even people who think they are in shape have been unable to complete their first HIIT workout.
4. Resistance exercise lengthens telomeres in women recovering from breast cancer.
5. Ketogenic diet – A high healthy fat diet may increase longevity and lengthen telomeres. Contrary to popular belief, a low fat diet is very unhealthy. Cholesterol is essential for the nervous system and makes up a good part of the brain. Cholesterol is also the base molecule used to form many hormones.
I hope you all “Live long and prosper”!