Los Angeles: A healthy diet, taking regular exercise and relaxing can boost levels of a longevity enzyme, say scientists.
In a new study scientists measured levels of the telomerase enzyme in men who were required to make positive lifestyle changes. The men were suffering from low-risk prostate cancer.
The patients ate a diet low in sugar and fats and rich in whole foods, fruits and vegetables. They were also required to walk at least 30 minutes daily and take part in anti-stress exercises.
The researchers, whose report has appeared in the medical journal, The Lancet Oncology, measured the amount of the enzyme after three months. The results revealed that levels in the blood has increased by 29 per cent , along with a drop in LDL(bad) cholesterol.
The bottom line is that the enzyme helps support the length of telomeres – these are tiny protectors of the DNA and keep inflammation and other ageing activity away from them. The length of telomeres is an indicator of biological ageing.
As people age, their telomeres get shorter and they become more susceptible to certain illnesses which are associated with ageing.
Experts believe this process is at the heart of many age-related diseases, and may even place a final limit on human lifespan.
Professor Dean Ornish, of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Sausalito, California, who led the study, said increases in telomerase levels were beneficial and could be quickly changed.
He said: “To our knowledge, we have reported here the first longitudinal study showing that comprehensive lifestyle changes – or any intervention – are significantly associated with increases in cellular telomerase activity levels.
“The implications of this study are not limited to men with prostate cancer.Comprehensive lifestyle changes may cause improvements in telomerase and telomeres that may be beneficial to the general population as well.Larger studies are needed.”