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Telomeres – Should you Measure Yours with TeloMe?

DNA


The last several months have seen an explosion of direct-to-consumer medical tests. We had Talking20 launch DIY blood-tests (my review of the testing experience), uBiome and American Gut (now in phase II for international participation) allow us to catalog the bacterial populations of our gut and other locations, and the already well-established 23andMe drop their price to $99 for a partial sequencing and risk profile of our genomes. The latest service is from TeloMe, inc, offering to measure the length of our telomeres via their Indiegogo campaign.

Background on telomeres

Telomeres are often analogized to the plastic caps on the ends of shoelaces that help keep them from fraying. Similarly, our telomeres are caps of repeated non-coding DNA sequences that help maintain chromosomal stability. They also play an important role in gene regulation.

When a cell divides, its telomeres tend to shorten, unless the enzyme telomerase is present, which is able to preserve and even extend telomeres. However, telomerase is normally only turned on in cells intended for many divisions – reproductive, stem, blood, and skin – or in cancer cells. When a cell’s telomeres become very short, it will no longer divide, a point called the Hayflick limit. This is a potential problem, depending on the tissue, as your body needs cell division for basic bodily repair, wound healing, and sufficient immune response to pathogens. Most cells in humans reach their Hayflick limit after 30-80 divisions. 1

 

Biomarker for aging

Telomere length (TL) has been found to add information to chronological age (how old you are) in predicting many forms of age-related degeneration and mortality in humans. 2 However, it’s clear that TL is not a sufficient predictor on its own, as mere chronological age itself is a much better predictor in the majority of studies. Furthermore, counterintuitively, TL tends to lose its predictive power as you age. 3 Some studies suggest that the fraction of “very short” telomeres, or the rate of increase in this fraction, is a superior indicator of aging than the average length or rate. 4

TL is often hyped as a stand-alone proxy for biological age – your effective age accounting for cognitive and physiological function. However, this is clearly not true, as chronological age adds significant predictive power to metrics of physical and mental youthfulness beyond TL alone. 5 Some have proposed that TL is better viewed as a biomarker for somatic redundancy – the body’s ability to rebound after insults, such as wounds or infections, since somatic cell replication is key to this resiliency. 6

Elizabeth Blackburn received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase” She summarized their status as a health prognosticator thusly:

“Telomere shortness is associated with just about all the major diseases of aging… from cardiovascular disease, death from cardiovascular disease, risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diabetes risks such as insulin resistance, vascular dementia, to osteoarthritis…The list goes on and on and the correlation is always in the same direction: shorter telomere length is associated with more disease. The association is absolutely solid now because it has been found in so many cohorts that it cannot be a statistical accident.” 7

 

Cause of aging?

It pretty clear that telomere shortening must play a causative role in immunosenescence – the reduced functionality of the immune system with age – via the Hayflick limit. But it’s not entirely clear whether it’s causative of other aspects of aging that it correlates with. An alternative theory is that TL is merely a secondary biomarker of mitochondrial oxidative damage. 8 9

However, these distinctions are a bit academic for our present concerns, as telomerase activation seems to ameliorate both mitochondrial function and telomere length, taking care of either possibility. 10 11

Some evidence regarding the relationship between telomeres, telomerase and aging:

  • Taking typical human cells and growing them in a petri dish will result in short telomeres and no further cell divison after the Hayflick limit is reached. Adding telomerase to these same cells results in immortal cell lines that can divide indefinitely.
  • Cancer cells that divide indefinitely require some means of keeping their telomeres long, and in practice that is usually achieved via a mutation to activate telomerase.
  • Dyskeratosis congenita (DKC) is a disease displaying many symptoms of premature aging. It is believed that inability to maintain telomeres due to mutated telomerase is a major cause of the symptoms. Stem cell treatment resulting in functional telomerase alleviates many of the symptoms.
  • Researchers intentionally mutated the gene for telomerase in some mice, making it non-functional. These mice aged rapidly and died young. Adding normal telomerase back to the same mice restored much of their youthfulness. 12
  • There’s strong circumstantial evidence from human prostate cancer that short telomeres play an important role in the progression of that disease. 13

 

Actionability

When I consider spending the time and money to have a test done, I generally require that information I might discover from it would be potentially actionable, either now or in the foreseeable future, and furthermore that those actions have at least a moderate expected positive impact on my life.

Interventions backed by correlative evidence

So what actions could be taken if your TL test shows that you have shorter telomeres than you would like? There is a long list of practices that have been shown to correlate with longer telomere length in observational studies in humans. These practices largely overlap with generally healthy practices that have been known to at least correlate and in some cases cause greater health in other ways.

  • Endurance exercise has been strongly linked to longer telomeres in leukocytes (white blood cells) in humans. 14 15
  • Being overweight as measured by waist-to-hip ratio has been negatively correlated with leukocyte TL in those with coronary artery disease. 16
  • High fiber consumption in women has been associated with longer mean leukocyte TL. 17
  • Smoking and alcohol cessation – Smoking has been found to have dose-dependent adverse correlation with TL. 18 Leukocyte TL didn’t have a statistically significant correlation to alcohol consumption in one study. 19 However, among a population of heavy drinkers, quite a large correlation was observed in another study, along with dose-dependence. 20 A quite large (100k persons) study reported statistically significant adverse correlations of both alcohol and smoking with TL. 21
  • Multivitamins, particularly vits C and E correlate with greater leukocyte TL. 22
  • Higher levels of plasma omega-3 (EPA and DHA), or lower ratios of omega-6/omega-3: A pretty substantial correlation was found [after controlling for other variables] between higher DHA+EPA omega-3s and longer telomeres in a prospective study of coronary artery disease patients over ~5y. 23 A study in women found an inverse correlation between linoleic acid (an omega-6) intake and Leukocyte TL. 24
  • Stress reduction. Signs of chronic stress correlate with shorter telomeres. 25 As does childhood abuse and neglect. 26 

Interventions backed by causative evidence

There are a few more items that have some evidence for directly causing an impact on TL:

  • Meditation and Qigong interventions have been shown to increase telomerase expression. 27 28
  • Lowering the plasma omega-6:3 ratio in humans: A randomized controlled trial of 4 months supplemented healthy volunteers with 1.25g or 2.5g of combined EPA+DHA (mostly the former) and compared this to a control taking an oil capsule representative of the fat composition of the standard American diet. It found a dose-dependent effect of TL elongation compared to baseline in the omega-3 groups, but it failed to reach significance (4 months isn’t very long to try to measure a change in TL). However, the change in plasma concentration of omega-6 to 3 did correlate significantly with telomere elongation over the 4 months. 29 Interestingly, there was negligible difference in change in telomerase expression.
  • Caloric restriction in mammals has been shown to reduce the rate of telomere shortening and increase life- and health-spans. Interestingly, the mechanism is not via activation of telomerase. 30 This effect was enhanced in mice engineered to be cancer-resistance by further genetic manipulation to turn on telomerase. 31
  • Exercise in mice – Mice given a wheel to voluntarily exercise on had higher leukocyte telomerase levels after 3 weeks than those who were denied a wheel. 32 33
  • TA-65® is a proprietary supplement developed by T.A. Sciences. It is distilled from the roots of the Chinese medicinal plant astragalus membranaceus. There have been preliminary trials suggesting that TA-65® is efficacious at both activating telomerase and leading to fewer cells with very short telomeres. The evidence is: in vitro human cell lines; 34 via oral supplementation in mice resulting in a reduced fraction of short telomeres and extended healthspan, but neither extended mean nor maximum life, and no elevation in cancer occurrences; 35 and in vivo in humans via oral dosing as part of a broader supplementation plan resulting in a reduced fraction of short telomeres and favorable changes in T-cells and natural killer cells, especially in those who tested positive for cytomegalovirus. 36 For a critical appraisal of the aforementioned study, see Suppversity.However, all of the studies that I have been able to find have authors with heavy conflicts of interest – many either affiliated with T.A. Sciences or with with other companies that sell TA-65®. Calvin Harley, one of the founders of Telome Health, inc (a separate company from TeloMe, inc), is also one of the inventors of TA-65®, and claims to take it regularly, as apparently everyone over 40 does at T.A. Sciences. 37 38
    Another longevity research company, Sierra Sciences, focuses on telomere-enhancement and is an apparent competitor to T.A. Science. They claim to have independently verified the effectiveness of TA-65® along with at least 4 other “weak” telomerase activators. 39 Sierra also claims to have “a close working relationship” with T.A. Sciences, and a Scientific American article 40 describes Sierra as a “client” of T.A. 41
    While the prospect of a supplement that can keep telomeres long is too important to ignore, it should go without saying that there is need for 3rd party confirmation of this finding. At the time of this writing, TA-65® is very expensive.

Future

Looking ahead to the future, we should expect the successful gene-therapeutic approaches to telomerase activation in mice to eventually make their way to humans. Recently, these techniques have yielded very exciting results: middle- and old-aged mice that were not pre-engineered to be cancer-resistant were delivered a single gene therapy treatment via viral vector. They experienced statistically significant health- and life-span increases, the latter of 24% and 13% in the middle- and old-aged mice, respectively. 42 These mice did not have a statistically significant excess of cancer, in contrast to past experiments where similar genetic changes were put in place at an embryonic stage.

 

TeloMe

The company

TeloMe, inc is not a brand new startup pushing a prototype product on Indiegogo. It was founded in 2010 and currently measures telomeres for the Personal Genome Project, a big Harvard-run study to map genomes of Americans and track changes and health outcomes over time.

The service

The test that TeloMe provides is proprietary. They describe it as: “Our standard test is very much like a standard slot/dot blot, which is among the most accurate of all current telomere analysis methods.” 43 I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the technical merits of this test, but I take it as a good sign of quality that TeloMe is the company that measures telomeres for the Personal Genome Project.

Saliva rather than blood – Leukocyte TL is one of the more studied TLs, and appears to be one of the more important ones. One reason for this is that if your leukocytes can’t divide very many times, then the strength and rapidity of your immune response to pathogens will be diminished. 44 This mechanism been implicated as a major indirect cause of death in the elderly who succumb to pathogenic infections that a younger person would probably shrug off. 45

Instead of a blood test that is commonly used to measure leukocyte telomeres, TeloMe will measure and report the average telomere length of all cells found in your saliva. 46 It turns out that leukocytes (white blood cells) can be extracted from saliva, so at least some of these will contribute to your TL reported by TeloMe. 47 Furthermore, a recent study has revealed that while TL of different tissues in the body can vary quite a bit, there are strong correlations between them, and moreover their rates of shortening are strongly correlated. 48 This gives support to the notion that TL measurements of any tissue may be approximately equally useful as biomarkers of aging.

Worldwide – TeloMe will ship to most countries in the world, for a $15 extra shipping fee if outside of the US. Note that you may additionally be charged import fees and VAT, depending on where you live.

Details – TeloMe will measure your telomeres regardless of whether it meets its funding target on Indiegogo. They are not relying on this for funding, as they already have funding by providing tests to the Personal Genome Project. Their Indiegogo campaign expires on April 29, along with the discounted rates. You can expect your saliva collection kit to be delivered in May of 2013.

 

Weighing the benefits

I purchased TeloMe’s service because I would like to have my telomere length as one of the biomarkers in my “health dashboard.” The likelihood that in the near future telomerase therapy will be an option, 49 and the near certainty that in its early days it will carry risks associated with it, 50 means that the better the data I have on my risk profile via my telomere length, the better decision I can make on the risk/return of telomerase therapy.

Whether the service is worth the price depends on how much money you have available to spend on such things. If the $89 price tag is not steep for you, then I would suggest monitoring this biomarker. If money is tighter, then I wouldn’t put this near the top of the list for health expenditures. I would take care of the basics of diet, exercise, activity, sleep, and stress, before getting into genetic testing. And if you want to get genetic tests, then I suggest starting with 23andMe sequencing for about the same price, as it has the possibility of alerting you to serious genetic issues that are highly actionable, such as familial hypercholesterolemia and a genetic predisposition towards hemochromatosis.

If money were no object, I myself would get the $499 measurement that gives you the distribution, not merely the average, of telomere length of the cells in your saliva. The added benefit of this measure is that in several studies the proportion of very short telomeres has scored better as a predictor of mortality and aging than the average length. 51

Another point to keep in mind is that the value of measuring your telomeres at several time points may far outweigh the value of a single measurement. For example, it would allow you to estimate the rate of telomere shortening. We still await larger prospective cohort studies of to guide usage of information of this type. The data that TeloMe generates will be studied (with your consent) in the Personal Genome Project to help yield just that. So by participating in this service, you also help advance our understanding of telomeres and their role in human health.

 

Help support Biohack Yourself: If you would like to purchase the TeloMe service and found this review to be helpful, then you can help support Biohack Yourself by purchasing through our affiliate link. You get the same price, and this allows me to dedicate more time to future articles like this.

 

EDITS: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified TeloMe, Inc, the provider of the direct-to-consumer telomere testing being discussed here, with a different company, Telome Health, Inc. Apologies for that mistake.

 

Acknowledgements

I uncovered many of the studies for this post on the blogs: Fight Aging!, Sam Snyder, and Suppversity.  Thanks to them for all their great work.

 

Disclaimer: The information presented on this site is not medical advice, and should not be construed as a substitute for medical care or clinical testing. Any content or services offered by Biohack Yourself and it’s authors is not intended to constitute, or substitute for, the practice of medicine, or a clinical or healthcare diagnosis.

 

Further Reading

Tansey, Bernadette. “TeloMe Turns to Crowdfunding to Promote Telomere Testing.” Xconomy.

Dvorsky, George. “People who age prematurely could soon benefit from rejuvenation therapies.” io9.

Notes:

  1. TELOMERES AND TELOMERASE. The American Federation for Aging Research. 2011
  2. Der, Geoff, et al. “Is Telomere Length a Biomarker for Aging: Cross-Sectional Evidence from the West of Scotland?.” PLOS ONE 7.9 (2012): e45166.
  3. Boonekamp, Jelle J., et al. “Telomere length behaves as biomarker of somatic redundancy rather than biological age.” Aging cell (2013).
  4. Vera, Elsa, et al. “The rate of increase of short telomeres predicts longevity in mammals.” Cell Reports (2012).
  5. Der, Geoff, et al. “Is Telomere Length a Biomarker for Aging: Cross-Sectional Evidence from the West of Scotland?.” PLOS ONE 7.9 (2012): e45166.
  6. Boonekamp, Jelle J., et al. “Telomere length behaves as biomarker of somatic redundancy rather than biological age.” Aging cell (2013).
  7. http://www.svhi.com/newsletters/2011/slf-081811.pdf
  8. Linking Telomere Shortening and Mitochondrial Damage?” Fight Aging! 2007.
  9. More On Telomere Shortening and Mitochondrial Dysfunction” Fight Aging! 2008.
  10. Ahmed, Shaheda, et al. “Telomerase does not counteract telomere shortening but protects mitochondrial function under oxidative stress.” Journal of cell science 121.7 (2008): 1046-1053.
  11. Pérez-Rivero, Gema, et al. “Telomerase deficiency promotes oxidative stress by reducing catalase activity.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 45.9 (2008): 1243-1251.
  12. Jaskelioff, Mariela, et al. “Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice.” Nature 469.7328 (2010): 102-106. Summary
  13. Meeker, Alan K. “Telomeres and telomerase in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and prostate cancer biology.” Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations. Vol. 24. No. 2. Elsevier, 2006.
  14. Werner, Christian, et al. “Physical exercise prevents cellular senescence in circulating leukocytes and in the vessel wall.” Circulation 120.24 (2009): 2438-2447.
  15. Du, Mengmeng, et al. “Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and leukocyte telomere length in women.” American journal of epidemiology 175.5 (2012): 414-422.
  16. Farzaneh-Far, Ramin, et al. “Telomere length trajectory and its determinants in persons with coronary artery disease: longitudinal findings from the heart and soul study.” PloS one 5.1 (2010): e8612.
  17. Cassidy, Aedín, et al. “Associations between diet, lifestyle factors, and telomere length in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 91.5 (2010): 1273-1280.
  18. Valdes, A. M., et al. “Obesity, cigarette smoking, and telomere length in women.” The Lancet 366.9486 (2005): 662-664.
  19. Bekaert, Sofie, et al. “Telomere length and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle‐aged population free of overt cardiovascular disease.” Aging cell 6.5 (2007): 639-647.
  20. Pavanello, Sofia, et al. “Shortened telomeres in individuals with abuse in alcohol consumption.” International journal of cancer 129.4 (2011): 983-992.
  21. Significant relationship between mortality and telomere length discovered.” Eureka Alert. 2012.
  22. Qun Xu, Christine G Parks, Lisa A DeRoo, Richard M Cawthon, Dale P Sandler and Honglei Chen. “Multivitamin use and telomere length in women.” Am J Clin Nutr 2009 June 89: 1857-1863, 2009.
  23. Farzaneh-Far R, Lin J, Epel ES, Harris WS, Blackburn EH, Whooley MA. Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart DiseaseJAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.2008.
  24. Cassidy, Aedín, et al. “Associations between diet, lifestyle factors, and telomere length in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 91.5 (2010): 1273-1280.
  25. Parks, Christine G., et al. “Telomere length, current perceived stress, and urinary stress hormones in women.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18.2 (2009): 551-560.Summarized
  26. Tyrka, Audrey R., et al. “Childhood maltreatment and telomere shortening: preliminary support for an effect of early stress on cellular aging.” Biological psychiatry 67.6 (2010): 531-534.
  27. Jacobs, Tonya L., et al. “Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 36.5 (2011): 664-681.
  28. Ho, Rainbow TH, et al. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue Symptoms, Functioning, and Telomerase Activity in Persons with Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2012): 1-11.
  29. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: A randomized controlled trial.” Brain, behavior, and immunity (2012). Summary
  30. Shackelford, Rodney. “Telomeres, Telomerase and Aging.” h+ Magazine. 2011.
  31. Vera, Elsa, et al. “Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Synergizes with Calorie Restriction to Increase Health Span and Extend Mouse Longevity.” PloS one 8.1 (2013): e53760.
  32. Werner, Christian, et al. “Physical exercise prevents cellular senescence in circulating leukocytes and in the vessel wall.” Circulation 120.24 (2009): 2438-2447.
  33. Du, Mengmeng, et al. “Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and leukocyte telomere length in women.” American journal of epidemiology 175.5 (2012): 414-422.
  34. Molgora, Brenda, et al. “Functional Assessment of Pharmacological Telomerase Activators in Human T Cells.” Cells 2.1 (2013): 57-66.
  35. de Jesus, Bruno Bernardes, et al. “The telomerase activator TA‐65 elongates short telomeres and increases health span of adult/old mice without increasing cancer incidence.” Aging cell 10.4 (2011): 604-621.
  36. Harley, Calvin B., et al. “A natural product telomerase activator as part of a health maintenance program.” Rejuvenation research 14.1 (2011): 45-56.
  37. see the “Author Disclosure Statement” of: Harley, Calvin B., et al. “A natural product telomerase activator as part of a health maintenance program.” Rejuvenation research 14.1 (2011): 45-56.
  38. Kendrick, Mandy. “Anti-aging pill targets telomeres at the ends of chromosomes.” Scientific American 17 (2009).
  39. http://www.sierrasci.com/research/index.html March 24, 2013.
  40. Kendrick, Mandy. “Anti-aging pill targets telomeres at the ends of chromosomes.” Scientific American 17 (2009).
  41. http://www.sierrasci.com/newsletter/newsletter2.html. March 24, 2013.
  42. Bernardes de Jesus, Bruno, et al. “Telomerase gene therapy in adult and old mice delays aging and increases longevity without increasing cancer.” EMBO Molecular Medicine (2012).
  43. Personal communication
  44. Reed, John R., et al. “Telomere erosion in memory T cells induced by telomerase inhibition at the site of antigenic challenge in vivo.” The Journal of experimental medicine 199.10 (2004): 1433-1443.
  45. Fossel, Michael. “Reversing human aging.” The Science of Anti-Aging Medicine(2003): 7.
  46. Personal communication
  47. Vidović, Anđelko, et al. “Determination of leucocyte subsets in human saliva by flow cytometry.” Archives of Oral Biology (2011).
  48. Daniali, Lily, et al. “Telomeres shorten at equivalent rates in somatic tissues of adults.” Nature Communications 4 (2013): 1597.
  49. de Jesus, Bruno Bernardes, and Maria A. Blasco. “Potential of telomerase activation in extending health span and longevity.” Current opinion in cell biology (2012).
  50. Rae, Michael. “Tale of Telomerase: Lessons and Limits in a Late-Life Launch.” SENS Research Foundation
  51. Vera, Elsa, et al. “The rate of increase of short telomeres predicts longevity in mammals.” Cell Reports (2012).

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Dr Dave 2013/03/26, 05:04

    Sir there are a few things that need to be addressed in your blog.
    First the analogy between 23 and me and Telome is stretched because 23 and me measures genes not telomeres. The accuracy and reproducibility of the salivary genetic testing is improved when the gene is fairly large. In most cases the genes commented on by 23 and me are in excess of 200,000 base pairs.
    The average newborn has a telomere length of 10,000 base pairs, the average middle aged adult, 6800 base pairs-far shorter and far more likely to be misinterpreted by a salivary test where DNA degradation is inevitable. Most people are not forensic scientists and will not use the careful collection and processing needed to preserve salivary samples. In addition salivary cells completely leave out the important WBC component tested in blood telomere testing. You mention immunosenescence. Nothing about salivary testing tells you anything about this.
    Next biologic age can only be interpreted by the percentage of short telomeres present not by mean or average telomere length. Those values in the individual case are worthless and say nothing of the biologic age. I have seen numerous cases where people had “normal” average telomere length and very different (higher or lower) % of short telomeres which would have been missed by a mean telomere length test. In the same vein a mean telomere test has huge gaps in accuracy and reproducibility that are not found in HT QFISH short telomere testing. In all cases two or more tests done at 1 year intervals will be much more useful. I would be very curious to see how close your 1 year values will be with this test. If they vary greatly which is highly likely, the results will be meaningless.
    Next careful what you say about calorie restriction. Like sirtuins this has been a banner for large amounts of money research dollars and even a society dedicated to its enactment. But the data are extremely thin as one moves up the biologic ladder from invertebrates to mammalian forms. There are only a very few strains of mice that respond to calorie restriction with extended life spans. Recently Maria Blasco tested the effects of CR on wild type and telomerized mice. CR did not extend life span in either. Increasing telomerase expression did. The recent debacle in monkeys surrounding the horrible diet fed to the controls and the optimal diet fed to the CR monkeys abrogated any response from CR in what had been the flag ship species to prove the efficacy of CR in higher mammals. Increased expression of telomerase is at this point the only broadly applicable way to increase lifespan in many higher species. For it to work the way it does it must improve mitochondrial function de facto as well as a whole host of other things including protein crosslinking, sirtuin expression, AGE’s, mutation rates etc etc.
    The mitochondrial theory of aging is most likely false for many reasons. The simplest of which is that mitochondrial diseases do not prevent with accelerated aging. Telomeropathies do. Next the work of Passos and DePinho in the past 2 years points out the likely way that short telomere length controls the behavior of mitochondria which frankly have too few genes that regulate even their own function to be a true central controller of aging.
    While telomere testing varies greatly in price and accuracy, people spend more on their cell phones and TV’s than on an accurate telomere test that gives them true biologic age and other information. Not a good use of funds. You mention various price points for testing. At this point there is no good cheap way to get meaningful information from a cheap test for the individual wishing to monitor and potentially alter their telomere length. Those on TA-65 will likely get a nill result because TA-65 has been shown to affect only the percentage of short telomeres ( biologic age) rather than mean telomere length at least in the time frame that most people have been tested. People are better off ponying up if they want a real answer or saving their money and waiting until prices on better tests come down. Best, Dr Dave woynarowski MD author The Immortality Edge- Wiley 2010.

  • Winslow Strong 2013/03/26, 09:43

    Hi Dr. Dave,

    Thanks for your considered, detailed comment. I’ll reply in points:

    23andMe: I mention them not in a technical comparison of the underlying sequencing technologies, but as a comparison for a prospective who might only have enough funds to purchase just one such genetic service. In that case, I think 23andMe will deliver a bigger expected health impact.

    Re: utility and accuracy of a salivary test. I am concerned about this also. When I inquired with TeloMe regarding this point, they referenced

    http://www.nature.com/bmt/journal/v25/n5/full/1702170a.html
    and
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22118990

    as evidence that leukocyte TL could in principle be obtained from a salivary sample. Of course it doesn’t logically follow that their particular test will do so well. Also, one of those tests cited paraffin as important in stimulating the salivary sample, whereas TeloMe’s test wont use paraffin. I’d be interested to hear any more technical points regarding this. My main basis for estimating that their test is probably accurate is that it is used in the Personal Genome Project. I suspect they put some thought and analysis into test selection.

    Re: % short telomeres vs avg telomere length: I agree that the former seems to be more predictive. I don’t agree that the latter has no predictive power wrt biological age. See: Der, Geoff, et al. “Is Telomere Length a Biomarker for Aging: Cross-Sectional Evidence from the West of Scotland?.” PLOS ONE 7.9 (2012): e45166

    “I would be very curious to see how close your 1 year values will be with this test. If they vary greatly which is highly likely, the results will be meaningless.”
    I agree. Its pretty simple to check for test variance via repeated measurements of the same sample and measurements of 2 different samples collected close together, e.g. 1 day apart. I think this information should be provided, and I will request that TeloMe provides it. I’ll post their response in the comments.

    Re: CR – well the studies I cited stand on their merits. If you provide me with more studies with counter-findings, I would be happy to post those as a counterpoint. I agree that the evidence for CR in life-extension is not overwhelming, and certainly diminishes as we move towards organisms closer to humans. However, the evidence for CR extending healthspan seems to be much stronger. Do you agree?

    How are you so certain that the proprietary tests developed in the last few years by TeloMe have not improved accuracy quite a bit? I agree that skepticism is completely warranted. I for one would like to see published scientific data that this proprietary test matches more established methodologies in accuracy. For now we just have TeloMe’s word, and the Personal Genome Project’s stamp of credibility. For some, the latter might be enough, for others maybe not. It’s good to be aware of this lack of published proof on accuracy.

    Conversely, are you really so confident in TA-65? All of the studies on it that I could find were published by authors with HEAVY conflicts of interest. If you have more evidence than what I have cited, then please let us know.

    Winslow

    • Dr Dave 2013/05/26, 03:26

      HI Winslow, First with regards to my feelings about TeloMe. Two very brilliant and long time players in the telomere field, Cal Harley, and Nobel Laureate Liz Blackburn have as of yet not been able to perfect and release their salivary test ( Telome Health not to be confused with TeloMe) so I am not sure the boys running Telome have any more knowledge or reason to expect success with their test. I am guessing you looked at the two references you sent to me above and found there is not one mention of telomeres or telomere length in them, so I am not sure what either of them prove with regards to telomere measurement. In addition I have the good fortune of speaking with the bulk of the scientific community on salivary telomere testing and no one other than the folks mentioned is enthusiastic about the results based on all of the reasons I cited above in my first post. I am however willing to believe that if anyone can do it its Liz Blackburn and Cal Harley. That said it simply has not happened.
      Next with regard to the value of MTL vs % short telomere. I should clarify my statements. The Telome “project” is being offered for individual participation as well as presumably part of the personal genome project. The caveat should be it is of little or no value for the individual. MTL by surrogate measures (everything else other than the Life Length HT-Q FISH Assay) is fraught with too much variability and non reproducability ranging from 500 to 1000 base pairs- equivalent to up to 10 year variation in age. So you could do the test this week and be 40 and next week and be anywhere between 30 and 50. This is of little value to the individual. MTL works reasonably well when the “n” is in the thousands and statisticians can see trends that exceed these limitations. So studies using QPCR for instance in an “n” of 10,000 can have meaning in bluntly determining where “you stand”. However some perhaps many of those people may have normal MTL’s and a high percentage of short telomeres (I do these interpretations weekly with doctors around the globe) and for those people this is actually a disservice since they think they are “average” while they are significantly older than stated age. If TeloME explains that to its participants then I have no issue with it. Then again it is called the “personal” genome project so I am assuming the implied message is that it is of personal value. Again if one wants to follow their personal telomere lengths ( several data points are needed) the only test that looks at individual telomeres and not surrogate probe measurements etc. is the Life Length Assay (ADLtests.com). As a clinician this is the only one I can in good conscience recommend even though it is more expensive- it has real value in determining YOUR biologic age.
      As far as TA-65 is concerned you are correct about most of the studies having heavy author interest ( TeloME does not?) but that is clearly noted, the studies have been peer reviewed and more are on the way. In the interim Maria Blasco who does not have interest in TAS did a study on TA-65 in mice which like the cell culture and human studies showed parallel improvements in skin , bone , immunity, inflammatory measures etc e.g. health span. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21426483
      The mice did not live longer but they were only treated for 3 months and obtained marked health span improvements. I would remind people that TA-65 is not a drug and is not funded by the deep pockets of a drug company so in a sense we are lucky to have any studies. Other supplements one of which is mentioned in your posts above have used this data to claim efficacy without doing ANY studies, human or otherwise. So while it is far from widely accepted in the scientific community there is more data on it than anything else out there and more is in the works. The most recent study enrollment was just completed in Barcellona so it will be at least a year probably more before that study is available to you and I but it will be an RTC study and hopefully will add more credibility to a field that suffers from lack thereof due to the lack of science and the speed the internet marketing. Sadly there is a concept out there that applies to a lot of things. That is: You can do things cheaper and still get something from it. In the long run the test of supplements, testing and other things surrounding the field of telomeres and telomerase will get cheaper and the hack 4 hour body etc. approach may work. Just not in this case- not yet anyway.

      • Dr Dave 2013/05/26, 04:02

        “However, the evidence for CR extending healthspan seems to be much stronger. Do you agree?” I do agree it is potentially valuable for health span. But to generalize that into humans is more difficult. We have 60+% overweight/obesity, maybe we should focus on ideal body weight first! In addition how to apply it how much when and for which people. The elderly represent the largest calorie/protein restricted cohort out there and generally- they have a pretty high morbidity and mortality. For how long? Most CR studies were done for life time. do we start people as neonates? I am sure you are aware of the disasterous oversight in the monkey studies where the ad libitum monkeys were given the equivalent of McDonald land monkey chow- nothing like their wild type diet- negating all of the positive findings in this study! Should we calorie restrict cancer patients? After all there are studies that show CR reduces cancer incidence and severity. Should we take a cachectic sick population and calorie restrict them? To me there are far too many questions to recommend the typical CR approach especially since most of us in clinical medicine are battling an obesity epidemic. CR of ANY kind would help these people be healthier! I am not being silly here Winslow but CR is far from ready for prime time in people and its been studied for decades. I liken it to resveratrol, a billion dollars later it is still a big disappointment. When do we start looking at other interventions. Omega 3 levels at ideal (0.75 6 to 3) would dramatically improve the health of western nations and probably bankrupt the entire med/pharma industry in one fell swoop. Best, Dr Dave

        • Dr Dave 2013/05/26, 04:41

          Finally! I noticed mention to a QPCR test result in someone’s telomeres below as proof a particular supplement works. A huge disparity between chronologic age and biologic age while not impossible is highly implausible at best. We don’t know what the original telomere length was, and QPCR varies by 1000 BP ( between 10 and 20 years depending on the “telomere loss” rate you believe in for WBC lines tested). It is highly unlikely that ANY supplement produced that result. Again this is my point about testing in individuals. If you use a test that works only in large scale populations, ignores % short telomeres and varies hugely (we can only assume the “blot testing” used by Telome is southern blot restriction fragment testing which has a large gap in reproducability and accuracy by its very nature).
          The individuals mentioned as examples of a supplments fantastic prowess are more likely examples of testing inaccuracy. The only inteverventions with telomerase activation that have shown THAT kind of “de-ageing” have been a minimum of 10X over expression of telomerase due to gene insertion and amplification or the AAV9 viral vector ( trophic non integrating Blasco et al. ) and these studies were in mice.
          Winslow I think you should read this article: it clarifies the problems with measurement and outlines why the Life length assay is in my mind the only one worth doing: http://www.impactaging.com/papers/v4/n6/full/100462.html

          • Winslow Strong 2013/05/26, 23:04

            Thanks for your extensive comments, Dr. Dave. Your point about the likely noise in individual MTL measurements is well taken.

            I do think that the references provided bolster the case that mean leukocyte TL is in principle proxyable from salivary measurements. Even if high noise is an issue, repeated measurements on the same sample can tame this noise. It by no means follows that TeloMe’s actual test either is or is not sufficiently precise for an individual to get meaningful precision. We simply don’t know.

            I tried hard to get Dr. Estep to divulge, or at least go on the record stating the precision of TeloMe’s test measurements, but he never gave me any such data. I am critical of TeloMe for marketing a test to consumers in this way without at least being willing to quote a precision figure on repeated measurements from the same individual. It’s not good practice, and makes me suspicious.

            Thanks for your thoughts on TA-65 and HT-QT-FISH. Your references give those who want to dig further a good place to start. I’m by no means an expert on telomere science or clinical practice, so won’t debate your points.

            Re:Obesity and CR – I think we are talking past each other a bit. I’m in no way trying to influence en masse nutrition recommendations or clinical practice with this blog. I’m trying to give my readership information for optimizing their health and performance. The people interested in doing that are likely not morbidly obese, so my guidance is not tailored towards the morbidly obese. It’s a serious health crisis, but not one that I purport that my blog will have a big influence on.

            Re: n-3/6 – I’m not sure what point you are trying to make here, other than leaving a reference (thanks for that). I’d point out also that the Jaminets’ “The Perfect Health Diet” gives an excellent treatment of the n-3/n-6 issue in their “PUFA” chapter. You suggest that I didn’t read the Blackburn paper, but I read the better part of it, and I don’t see what part of my write up you think is not consistent with the paper. IMO it’s necessary, but insufficient, to focus merely on n-6/3 ratio. If BOTH total n-6 concentration in cell membranes were lowered and n-6/n-3 ratios in those membranes were optimized then this would likely do wonders for total health. There’s some evidence that given a good n-6/3 tissue ratio (i.e. 1:3), that rather low quantities of both are desirable. This is due to the very high peroxidizability of both. But given high n-6 levels, high n-3 levels are probly best. Too much health advice focuses on raising n-3 as opposed to lowering n-6. Probably bc the former is easier to implement, which makes it a useful prescription for public health, but again that’s not what my blog is about, its about a prescription for optimal health, happiness, and performance.

          • Dr Dave 2013/05/27, 03:16

            Thanks Winslow. I think the fact that Dr Estep is not willing to divulge the info you request speaks volumes. I will leave it to you to do follow up evaluations on yourself and …. see for yourself. I would appreciate knowing if I am wrong about this. I will sooner believe Cal Harley who is in spite of the TA-65 reference you posted a quintessential scientist and Liz Blackburn who is his partner in their endeavors to create a meaningful salivary test.
            As far as CR I just don’t know how to apply it clinically. The current brave crop of CR society members are doing the study for us in people, so we’ll just have to see how they fare.
            RE omega 3 if you do get Bill Lands book ( again its a $90 paper back but well worth it!) you will see a direct correlation between Omega 6/3 ratios. Its a simple biochemical fact one inversely mirrors the other- no way around it. These days it is indeed very popular to say “Just lower your omega 6’s!” Bill himself admonished me heavily along those lines, telling me it can be done by focusing on Omega 6 reductions…right before he told me he takes fish oil supplements! The problem is most people simply will not do the Nix the Six enough to make a difference although in deference to Bill and the kind and generous amounts of time he spent with me my new books will have 25 recipes each for those who want to venture down that road. I have as of this date done several hundred Omega 3 levels on various populations of people (Vegans are the lowest Omega 3’s as a group!). So far there are 3 documented populations that have an ideal ( “paleolithic”) levels. They are all hunter gatherers of some sort: Inuits, Kitaavans, Okinawan fisherman. Bill’s work details may other population values. Indeed 3 to 1 is far better than 20 to 1 but there is an almost linear correlation to the ultimate ratio meaning more omega 3 (or a higher ratio) is better. This carries over to cancer incidence, auto immune diseases, telomere length, depression, Alzheimer’s etc etc. Again don’t take my word for it, read Bill’s book. As far as perooxidation- that is primarily the voice of the biochemists who are not doing human evaluations. Chaining Peroxidation of Omega 3’s is driven primarily by the excess ratio of 6’s. If the essential nature of these FA’s is respected you will NEVER run into a problem in people because you will always have a pool of fresh non oxidized omega 3’s ( and 6’s) to replace the oxidized ones and the balance of the eicosaniods, prostanoids, resolvins etc will be tilted toward “anti-inflammation”. In a sense the absolute amounts matter less than the ratios because of the affinity for 6’s and 3’s for the shared enzyme pathways. Independent of the actual consumption (within reason of course!) you can overwhelm the conversion systems with either 6 or 3- most people its 6’s due to the concentration of vegetable oils in the diet. This is of course not popular since it implies you can “just take fish oil pills” to achieve the appropriate levels. While I am not rampant with my Omega 6 consumption I have personally found it is easier to exist in this society by doing just that while maintaining an Omega 3 levels of 60% or greater. Most of my patients agree.
            2 words for heads up: beware of studies that use DHA only especially brain studies- this over looks the fact that at least 20% of usable DHA comes from an extremely rapid Beta Oxidation of EPA which while not mearable in CNS tissue is still a very important contributor to CNS Omega 3 levels. Next beware of “mouse models” using Omega 3’s Mouse models for aging are well developed and robust but the dietary models using SNPS to create things like HTN overlook the fact that mice are herbivores and process the 3’s very differently- so generalizing “mouse nutrition and behavior” the way one recent study on HTN did to humans is not valid. They have a totaly different eicosandoid profile than humans and would naturally respond differently to things like ethyl ester DHA. Thanks for your consideration and indulegence-and I hope you continue with your education and healthy skepticism! Best, DD

  • J Burrows 2013/03/29, 12:52

    Hey Winslow, what a great article! However, whilst you have mentioned TA-65, I believe you left out TS-X perhaps because you are unaware of it, as it’s the newest Telomere Support Supplement on the market – in fact the manufacture SISEL, only introduced TS-X (short for Telomere Support — Xtreme.) in 2012.

    TS-X levels of effective ingredients are in higher concentrations than telomere products we know of on the market sold by physicians. Astragalosides in TS-X are approximately at 30% more concentrated levels and bacosides are approximately at 50% higher levels. We have also enhanced the formula with complementary botanicals and an antioxidant complex to shield telomeres against oxidation from free radical hotspot attacks, making TS-X the premiere product on the market.

    TS-X is a master formula with immense power and potential to uniquely and dramatically fight the root causes of aging at the stem cell and telomere/chromosome level. There are a couple other formulas and protocols on the market, but the costs are high and the choices few. Because SISEL is a research and development company, debt free, highly sophisticated, and manufactures the products it sells, we can purchase and use these highly advanced, very expensive ingredients and use them in a synergistic formula to maximize the effects and provide massive support at a reasonable cost to the consumer.

    Researchers believe that extracts from Bacopa, (Bacosides, Bacopasides), Astragalus (Astragalus IV-VII, Cycoastragenol), Resveratrol, Curcumin, Blueberry pterostilbenes, Vitamins D, B-6, B-12 and Citrus bioflavonoids may synergistically affect chromosomes and telomeres and nutritionally support IL-2 in a variety of ways that may prolong the stem cells ability to replicate itself vigorously & healthily.

    SISEL believes stem cell and Telomere Support are dose dependent. With the science we have available, we believe TS-X has the most powerful blend of highly concentrated, unique ingredients that will assist in achieving the maximum possible benefits.

    SISEL operate out of 38 countries and deliver direct from manufacture to consumer via either a free Preferred Customer account (20% loyalty rebate paid back into your account at the end of any month you order) Anyone can have their own account by clicking this link http://freeaccount.mysisel.com or alternatively you have the opportunity to become a Brand Partner Distributor, marketing, promoting and earning commission from product sales.
    -J Burrows

    • Winslow Strong 2013/03/29, 13:08

      Hi J. Burrows,
      Indeed, I hadn’t heard of TS-X. Since supplementation purporting to protect telomeres is a market with a high potential for snake oil, I focused on anything that I could find some peer-reviewed published scientific studies supporting.

      Of course TS-X could work brilliantly, but without unbiased scientific research supporting its efficacy, there’s not much reason for anyone to believe that it does. So if you have such evidence to post, please offer it up to us. As it is now, the above is just a sales pitch, and I am debating whether or not to delete it.

      • J Burrows 2013/03/29, 13:28

        Indeed I understand and agree, the world is full of unethical people, companies and governments – For any company to perform double-blind placebo-controlled studies (the gold standard in testing) on their product in order to make an FDA drug claim, it costs millions of dollars and takes 5-10+ years.

        When you take a look at the peer-reviewed and published scientific studies supporting the actual ingredients, at the high doses used in TS-X, then anyone can see for themselves the results.

        Here are a list of claims TS-X can and cannot make in the USA, Canada and other markets where applicable according to laws and patents:

        CAN CLAIM:
        • TS-X provides what we believe is the most powerful and effective telomere support in the marketplace.
        • TS-X can protect against free radicals.
        • TS-X supports anti-oxidant defense systems.
        • TS-X protects against oxidative stress which may accelerate telomere shortening.
        • TS-X has a unique, revolutionary structure that functions as a support for cells and telomeres.
        CANNOT CLAIM:
        • Any structure/function changes or claims, such as activates, active, stimulates, etc.
        • Any drug, medical, or curing a disease claims
        • TS-X lengthens telomeres
        • TS-X stimulates, creates, or induces telomerase activation (an enzyme that reverses telomere
        shortening or repair).

        What is a Dietary Supplement?
        The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined both of the terms, “dietary ingredient” and “new dietary ingredient” as components of dietary supplements. In order for an ingredient of a dietary supplement to be a “dietary ingredient,” it must be one or any combination of the following substances:
        • A vitamin, mineral, and herb or other botanical or extract thereof
        • An amino acid, proteins, peptides, and combinations of the same
        • A dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake
        (e.g., enzymes or tissues from organs or glands), or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or
        extract
        • Statements that address a role of a specific substance in maintaining normal healthy structures
        or functions of the body are considered to be structure/function claims. Structure/function claims may not explicitly or implicitly link the relationship to a disease or health-related condition
        All Dietary Supplement Statements Must Include the Following:
        As required by law (DSHEA), when a manufacturer makes a structure/function support claim on a dietary supplement label, it must be accompanied by the following statement or “disclaimer.”
        “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

        I hope this helps, and of course as it’s your blog please feel free to delete my comments as you see fit.

        I am certainly NOT a ‘snake oil’ salesmen, I, like you, provide education and information and I always encourage everyone to do their own ‘due diligence’ before making any purchase decision – and I would be happy to discuss any of the above via my Skype twocommakid – Thank you.

        • Winslow Strong 2013/03/29, 14:05

          I understand the problematic situation facing any supplement developer to prove efficacy, especially of a proprietary blend: the price is prohibitive. This is an unfortunate feature of our current regulatory, legal, and research systems, and is certainly stifling progress towards development of effective drugs and supplements.

          As you say, TS-X is a blend of nutritional supplements. So, to provide support of its efficacy as a telomere-“supporter”, it would be a good start to provide evidence that any of the supplements in it do this. Namely:
          “Researchers believe that extracts from Bacopa, (Bacosides, Bacopasides), Astragalus (Astragalus IV-VII, Cycoastragenol), Resveratrol, Curcumin, Blueberry pterostilbenes, Vitamins D, B-6, B-12 and Citrus bioflavonoids may synergistically affect chromosomes and telomeres and nutritionally support IL-2 in a variety of ways that may prolong the stem cells ability to replicate itself vigorously & healthily.”

          If you are bound legally to not say the words “TS-X protects telomeres,” you could at least point us to research that says those words about the substances in TS-X. This doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

  • J Burrows 2013/03/31, 11:18

    Hey Winslow

    Making use of the PubMed database, one can search for the science behind the ingredients in TS-X, for example:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=astragalus+telomerase
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=resveratrol+telomerase

    Specifically, “Two Chinese herb-derived small molecule telomerase activators, astragaloside IV (AG-IV) and cycloastragenol (CAG), have recently been shown to improve the proliferative response of CD8+ T lymphocytes from HIV-infected patients by upregulating telomerase activity…” more here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22083896

    Just to provide you with 2 real life examples, Tom Mower Sr. Founder and Chairman for SISEL had his telomeres tested by Spectracell Labs (www.spectracell.com/patients/our-tests/patient-telomere-testing/) in January and although he is chronologically 74, is biological telomere length is that of a 48 year old. Another person also had his telomere length tested after being on TS-X for 9 months and his chronological age is 94, his biological telomere length is that of a 49-year-old.

    I don’t waste my money on products that are ‘over-hyped’ and ‘under-deliver’ – and in my opinion, and I hope yours also, once you do your own due diligence, SISEL products are of the highest quality, potency and efficacy.

    Yours in health – J Burrows

    PS. SISEL (pronounced “sizzle”) is an acronym for; Science, Innovation, Success, Energy, and Longevity. These are the key foundational principles for the company.

    SISEL, researches the research to find exciting new discoveries in modern science, and bring to market spectacular products unlike the world has ever seen. SISEL is committed to the use of evidence-based nutraceutical ingredients, known to be of scientifically-proven biological value, in the most concentrated strength and form possible, combined with other synergistic ingredients to achieve maximum results.

    Moreover, we strive to avoid potentially harmful ingredients found in common, off-the-shelf products and use only the most pure, potent, safe, and effective ingredients nature has to offer. SISEL’s products are manufactured under the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standard, and are rigorously controlled to ensure the highest quality in each and every product we produce.

    • Winslow Strong 2013/03/31, 15:00

      Thanks for the references, J. In light of you providing some science-based evidence for the claims, I’ll retain your initial comments.

      In general I’ve decided that: Anyone may comment with a naked opinion, EXCEPT when clearly marketing a product, in which case I’ll require scientific evidence backing the claims or will delete such comments.

  • Don 2013/04/01, 17:11

    Winslow,

    Appreciate your post on this subject. Very informative and well written.

    In your “Interventions” section, you didn’t mention anything about the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. There was research that came out of OSU in 2012 that showed “… when the researchers analyzed the participants’ omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in relationship to telomere lengthening, a lower ratio was clearly associated with lengthened telomeres.” http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/omega3aging.htm

    Are you aware of this research? I’d like to know your thoughts on it. Thanks.

    • Winslow Strong 2013/04/01, 19:58

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for that link! I have updated the post to include it, along with a few other studies it cited. I perused the study, it looks like it was very well-conducted. Only too bad that it wasn’t longer than 4 months, as that’s a very short time to try to measure changes in TL over. Chalk up another generally healthy lifestyle choice for TL preservation.

      I’ll speak a bit in my next post about omega-3s. Although I suspect that this trial had a very high-quality source, recent research strongly suggests that more health benefits are reaped from consumption of omega-3s from fish than from supplementing with fish oil. One potential issue is that not all fish oil is preserved well enough to not go rancid while its on a shelf in a warehouse. Omega-3s are very fragile!

      Cheers,
      Winslow

      • Dr Dave 2013/05/26, 03:40

        With regards to Omega 3’s and health and telomere length you should read the study ( not just the abstract!) produced by Farzeneh-Far and Liz Blackburn et al. Breifly this study equated health parameters AND telomere length with the highest levels of Omega 3 consumption.
        Classic issues with Omega 3/fish oil studies are 1) the lack of measurement of blood/ tissue levels 2) the lack of any attempt to reproduce levels similar to populations that have almost none of the “classic Western diseases: Hint the 6/3 ratio is around .75. In addition to telomeres/telomerase my other area of expertise is Omega 3/6 biochemistry.
        Once again I need to tell you there is an enormous amount of mis information ( also known as BS!) out there. If you wish to know the truth then go to Amazon and buy a very expensive little paperback by the godfather of the field, Bill Lands : http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Omega-3-Human-Health-Second/dp/1893997812/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369532364&sr=1-1&keywords=Lands+Fish+Omega+3+human+health
        Essentially you will see that most of what we suffer is indeed nutritional.
        Best, Dr Dave

        • Don 2013/05/29, 01:34

          Dr. Dave – any suggestions on a reasonably priced way for an individual to get their O6/O3 ratio tested? For about three months I’ve been:
          >>> Taking a concentrated supplement that gives me 3g of EPA and 1g of DHA per day (total fish oil amount is 5g)
          >>> Using macadamia nut oil in salads and for frying (1:1 O6/03 ratio, and very low in O6)
          >>> Eating paleo meals about 70%-80% of the time (which has probably doubled my fish intake – mostly wild salmon and tilapia)

          I’m interested to see where my O6/O3 ratio is now. I want to see if I’m close to the 0.75 you mention above.

          Thanks!

          • Dr Dave 2013/06/06, 04:44

            HI Don if you are following a fairly strict Paleo diet you should be reasonably close with 5grams of your supplement if it is indeed of a good quality. The test I use clinically was developed by W.E Lands the godfather of essential fatty acid biology in humans and marketed by a company called IdealOmega. It is a simple finger stick and runs about $130. It is extremely well correlated with tissue fatty acid composition. I usually do it 2x a year depending on diet and supplementation. It is pretty important to know where you stand on this given the wealth of positive information about the benefits of omega 3. Keep in mind 60% or above is considered extremely good. Best, Dr Dave

          • Dr Dave 2013/06/06, 05:00

            Don Talipia is one of the rare fish that may be Omega 6 dominant! See below for the rest. DD

  • David Wischer 2013/04/23, 13:48

    Hi Winslow,

    Great Blog on Telomere Biology Thank You!

    May I send you the support email that I have sent to a major hospital in Australia for Clinical Trail of Product B Telomerase Support for Alzheimer’s Dementia and Parkinson’s Diseases. It would add a great deal to your already excellent knowledge!

    Best wishes from

    David Wischer
    Canberra ACT Australia

  • Winslow Strong 2013/06/04, 14:02
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