There's plenty of controversy these days around telomere testing.
Is it accurate?
Does it really show your so-called “biological vs. chronological” age?
And once you do get your results, how can you lengthen your telomeres?
In today's episode, I interview one of the world's leading experts on telomeres: Dr. Bill Andrews. Dr. Andrews is the Founder and CEO of Sierra Sciences, a company focused on finding ways to extend the human lifespan and healthspan through telomere maintenance. As a scientist, athlete and executive, he continually pushes the envelope and challenges convention. He has been featured in Popular Science, The Today Show and numerous documentaries on the topic of life extension including, most recently, the movie The Immortalists in which he co-stars with Aubrey de Grey.
Bill has been a researcher in biotech since 1981, focusing on cancer, heart disease and inflammation research; though his passion has always been aging. In the early to mid-1990s, while at Geron Corporation, Dr. Andrews led the research to discover both the RNA and protein components of human telomerase. He was awarded 2nd place as “National Inventor of the Year” in 1997. After earning his Ph.D. in Molecular and Population Genetics at the University of Georgia in 1981 he then served as Senior Scientist at Armos Corporation and Codon Corporation, Director of Molecular Biology at Berlex Biosciences and at Geron Corporation, and Director of Technology Development at EOS Biosciences, before starting Sierra Sciences in 1999. Bill is also a named inventor on over 50+ US issued patents on telomerase and author of numerous scientific research studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Bill is also an avid ultra-marathon runner. He regularly competes in 50 and 100+ mile races often finishing at the top of his age group. These grueling races have taken him all over the world to race in some of the most extreme environments, from Death Valley to the Himalayas. His running is presently featured in the movie “The High.”
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-The differing effects of short vs. long distance running on telomere lengths…9:25
- Not the length per se, but how you do it.
- If it quits being fun, it's time to quit.
- Consistent running actually decreases inflammation; inconsistent or sporadic running is problematic
-What are telomeres and what is their role in our physical mortality…13:15
- Think of each chromosome in the body as a “shoelace”; the little caps on the end of the laces are the telomeres
- Telomere shortening results in declining health with aging
- Each time our cells divide, our telomeres get a bit shorter
- DNA and cell replication
- Cells can't replicate DNA all the way to the end
- Cells eventually “crash”; lose the ability to function
- It's possible to calculate the maximum lifespan of a human based on telomere shortening rates
- Attention anti-agers: you can't do it unless you can figure out how to prevent telomere shortening
- Book by Jim Mellon: Juvenescence: Investing in the age of longevity
-How telomeres can be lengthened, and how to lower the rate by which they shorten…19:30
- Telomeres are not shortened when reproductive cells replicate
- Telomerase prevents the shortening of telomeres
- Telomerase is too big to get into cells
- Senescent cell: a cell that has lost the ability to divide
- Shutting down senescent cells actually inhibits cancer cells
- “Chromosome rearrangement”: a precursor to cancer
- Shortened telomeres hinder cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
- Keeping telomeres long is the best way to treat cancer should it enter the body
-Whether or not telomere tests work and how accurate they are…35:10
- Accuracy is extremely low in measuring biological age
- Best available is fluorescence in situ hybridization
- PCR, a popular means of testing, is “manipulatable”- uncontrollable changes
- Test yourself multiple times; use different names
- Telomere Restriction Fragment is Dr. Andrews favorite test
- Difference in costs:
- More accurate = more expensive
- Range: $100-300
-The research Dr. Andrews is conducting on increasing telomerase activity…44:20
- Two ways to produce telomerase inside the cells
- Find a way to turn the gene “on” in preexisting cells
- Deliver a brand new gene to the cell; turned on more than a regular gene
- Decreasing the rate of shortening the telomeres
- “Tug of War” analogy
- Not currently possible to reverse the aging process
- 1-3 years away from having the tug of war a “tie”; meaning the aging process comes to a halt, then possibly we'll see aging process reversed
- Real life products in the marketplace based on Dr. Andrews' research at Sierra Science…50:30
- Dr. Andrews focuses solely on research; partners with pharmaceutical companies for marketing, distribution, etc.
- TAM-818: a supplement that increases telomerase levels
- Dr. Andrews takes every supplement that's been shown to increase telomerase levels
-Dr. Andrews' personal anti-aging protocol…53:45
- You can't design natural products to be better; they would cease to be natural products
- Elements of his protocol that may fly under the radar:
- Vitamin D/K Blend
- Omega 3 fatty acids (Superessentials Fish Oil)
- Barlean's Flax Seed Oil
- Vitamin C from American Nutraceuticals
- Yellow bell peppers: highest amount of Vitamin C and lowest amount of sugars
- Book: The Kaufman Protocol
- Yoga, meditation, running, don't increase telomerase, but limit shortening of telomeres
-Precautions to take before diving headlong into an anti-aging protocol…1:07:35
- No known negative effects of long telomeres
- Gene delivery/therapy
- Libella Gene Therapeutics
-About the “telomere clock”…1:16:15
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Book: The Kaufman Protocol
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