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Secret to eternal youth lies in exercising our DNA, claim experts

London, Tue, 24 May 2011 ANI

London, May 24 (ANI): Experts have claimed that there is a way by which we can maintain our youthful looks, and that is by exercising our DNA.


The strands of DNA in our bodies are protected by telomeres, which work like plastic ends on shoelaces, slowing down their wear and tear.


Our DNA sits in the middle of each cell in the body, held in sausage-like tubes. Our cells are constantly dividing, and every time this happens a tiny nick is taken off the end of each sausage. These ends are the telomeres.


Without the buffer of the telomere, every time a cell divided it would lose fragments of DNA at the ends, so the new pair of cells would be faulty.


Telomeres help prevent ageing and the immune system from becoming less effective, so in order for them to maintain their length, experts have suggested exercise and a daily diet rich in fruit and vegetables.


In a new book, 'The Immortality Edge', co-author Michael Fossel, professor of clinical medicine at Michigan State University, described ageing as a disease.


"As yet we can't cure it, but we can already slow it down far more dramatically than most people realise," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.


"Within 20 years we'll have a drug that directly targets our telomeres to keep them and us youthful," he explained.


Telomeres were originally identified by US physiologist Elizabeth Blackburn, and her discovery was considered so groundbreaking she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009.


"Exercise, a daily diet rich in fruit and vegetables, a low BMI and not smoking have all been linked with having longer telomeres," co-author Dr Dave Woynarowski, chief medical education officer for the company T.A. Sciences, which is involved in telomere research, said.


"Handling stress better should help, too," he stated.


Some of the ways by which telomeres can be lengthened are by doing about 20 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise a day, such as running, cycling, swimming or sculling, and also some weightlifting exercises to build up muscle.


Having lots of animal protein such as fish, poultry and beef and at least ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and cutting out on grains, diary products, refined fats, sugar, coffee, tea and cigarettes also helps.


Learning how to handle stress is also important, as Blackburn found that being under serious chronic stress can have a direct effect on telomere length.


Another way to prevent the shortening of telomeres is by taking about 17 vitamins every day, starting with omega-3 fish oils. (ANI)


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