DNA and Telomeres – The Keys to Reverse Aging

By Adele Lamborn

In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. Carol Greider, and Dr. Jack Szostak for their discovery of how our genetic material, our DNA, is protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. Telomeres are located at the ends of our chromosomes and are a key part of the process that ensures DNA is accurately copied. They protect the ends of chromosomes in a manner similar to the way the tips of shoelaces keep them from unraveling. At every cell division, telomeres lose a bit of their DNA. When a cell is old and has lost much of its telomeric DNA, the cell cannot replicate and, as a result, dies. Thus, the loss of telomeric DNA with every cell division acts as an aging clock for the lifetime of the cell. Short telomeres are associated with age-related decline, disease, and even mortality, whereas long telomeres can prevent physical and cognitive age-related damage, adding years of health and vitality to our lives.

Now, what’s the big deal? Why are telomeres and telomerase considered one of the most groundbreaking discoveries ever made?

The most fascinating fact about telomeres is that not only can telomere length be sustained through our lifestyle choices, it can be increased, which means the biological, physical aging process can literally and measurably be reversed. Hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted and published in peer reviewed journals, showing that our telomeres, our DNA, listen and respond to our thoughts, emotions, and our behavior. When our wandering mind is poisoned with toxic thoughts, endless circles of rumination, or psychological stress, our telomeres tend to prematurely shorten, robbing us of our aliveness. The same can happen when we feed our bodies with dead food and ignore the natural impulse of our bodies to move and rest.

At the same time, the physical aging process can be slowed and even reversed through consciousness-based practices such as meditation in nature, living in the now, yogic chanting, a plant-based diet, and/or swift walks in nature. These positive lifestyle choices can maintain our telomeres and prevent premature aging, but some can specifically increase telomerase activity and rebuild our telomeres. The largest increase seen so far, of 44 percent, was shown in a study of highly stressed caregivers doing the Kirtan Kriya chant “Sa Ta Na Ma” for twelve minutes a day for eight weeks.

This Nobel prize-winning discovery of telomeres and telomerase went almost unnoticed by the general public. As we have often seen in the past, old scientific paradigms die hard and new ones can take years to become common knowledge. It might take time for the general public to grasp the role of telomeres and telomerase but this important discovery has the power to change how we live our lives and motivate us to live consciously in all areas of human existence!

Conscious living is no longer the pursuit of a lofty ideal based in a belief system with no tangible, psychophysiological implications. Maybe we chose a conscious lifestyle out of love for the intangible, for the soft impulse in our soul, but now Nobel-prize winning discovery in medicine allows us to measure the remarkable implications of our conscious life choices on our own DNA. Those choices no longer simply have a philosophical impact on our lives. We now know that when we choose to live our lives consciously, we also directly impact the blueprint of life itself—our DNA.

Adele Lamborn is an Academic Researcher in the field of Longevity and Consciousness. She holds a Master’s Degree in Consciousness and Transformative Studies and is currently studying Genetics and Genomics at Stanford. Her doctoral research focuses on examining how Kundalini activation affects our biology, physiology, and psychology as well as spirituality. www.adelelamborn.com