Thursday, 26 April 2012

TELOMERES: BIOLOGICAL AGE - PART II


  • Telomere Breathing and meditation. 


  • How you can prevent premature death by biological age? 
  • How you can strengthen your telomeres and beat the biological age and to live your full chronological age?
  • How you can strengthen your telomeres through oxygen massaging and by yogic exercise? 
  • How yogic exercise and meditation can help strengthen your telomeres and thereby chromosomes and CELLS? 


I refer to my last article; 'WHAT IS YOUR CORRECT AGE' posted by me on 20/2/2012. In short, what I said in the article is that a person dies not by his chronological age (normal life span of 100 yrs) but by his biological age (due to abnormal shortening of telomeres in his body), based on the findings of the Nobel Laureate: Dr. Jerry Shay, Prof. of Cell Biology & Neuroscience at the University of Texas (his finding that human chromosomes are protected by telomeres, had won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009). The Nobel Laureate also said that the person dies when his telomeres (caps on the cells containing chromosomes) shortens to the one third of its normal length and not necessarily by his chronological age. I also said in my article that the pace of shortening of telomeres can be arrested by yogic exercise and meditation (this is not my finding but that of the Nobel Laureate) Our ancient text books and great sages also from time immemorial said that the meditation and yoga will cure diseases and improve our longevity, but they did not say how medically it worked to strengthen the telomeres to achieve that objective. My attempt in this article is to synthesize and relate what Dr. Jerry Shay, Dr. Jue Lin and another Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn have said about aging of telomeres as the cause of death, to the miracle of our yoga and meditation in curing diseases and prevent aging by strengthening telomeres. 

Telomeres are caps on the billions of cells in our body which PROTECT chromosomes contained in the nucleus of each cell. DNA molecule is packaged into thread like structure inside the cells called chromosomes. It is an organized structure of DNA and protein that is found in the cells containing many genes. “……. Telomeres are tiny units of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protects and stabilizes chromosomes. Every time cell divides, some telomeres drops off. After a certain number of cell divisions, which varies depending on the cell age, the telomeres reach a critical length and the cell typically dies". The telomeres are tied to the end of chromosomes to protect them from degeneration during the division. “....... In recent years, scientists have discovered that shorter telomeres are associated with broad range of aging related diseases and are predictive of incidence and poor diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and variety of causes". “......... Our findings suggest that traumatic and chronic stressful life events are associated with shortening of telomeres in cells of the immune system, but that physical activity may moderate this impact" said Co-author Dr. Jue Lin Ph.D, Associate Research Biochemist in the Laboratory of Senior Author and Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn Ph.D, the Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. (UCSF is a leading University dedicated to promote health worldwide, the University of California, San Francisco). Research findings also showed that an increase in the perceived stress over the course of one year was associated with decrease in telomere length during that time. People who exercise vigorously and consciously at least 3 times a week, that helps stabilizing shortening process of telomeres. 

It is now well established that the telomeres, which is the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes are the measures of cell age and its health. The findings also suggest that the exercise may prevent their damage. Normal length of telomeres in the body is expected to last the full span of chronological age. It means they supposed to age at the same pace as your chronological age. Abnormal shortening of telomeres is associated with diseases or stress, then biological end will overtake the chronological end of the life. Remedy, therefore, is how to prevent the premature aging of telomeres so that we can live full span of our life as per chronological age. 

Shortening of telomeres could be both cause and effect of chronic sickness, means Chronic sickness may result in abnormal aging of telomeres and vice versa. If this happens after middle age, one may attract more old-age sickness. Dr. Jui Lin, who obtained her Ph.D in molecular biology at Cornell University, says that we should slow the rate of telomere loss or prevention or slow down the rate of genomic instability. Telomere is the longevity marker. Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn said that good exercise protects against stress related chromosome ageing. Stress accelerates telomere shortening. 

Both the Nobel Laureates (Dr. Jerry Shay and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn) and also Dr. Jue Lin have established that lifestyle modification, meditation and yoga can help preventing abnormal degradation of telomeres, though the research is progressing for an effective medical intervention. This article is to focus what one can do to increase the life span, to prevent premature death (biological death) through the age old yoga exercise and meditation and positive frame of mind to slowdown the aging process of telomeres. 

Abnormal aging process or deterioration of telomeres can be slowed down or normalized by practicing YOGA in a proper manner. By Y0GA what is meant is the yoga asanas coupled with complete relaxation of body and mind. Yoga asanas should concentrate on affected part of body if someone has medical complaint which will strengthen your deteriorating telomeres in that part of the body. It is better to combine yoga exercise with pranayama accompanied by meditation focusing on qualitative BREATHING. The secret of healing sick telomeres by yogic exercise and meditation is to concentrate on the affected parts of the body and touch your cells (telomeres being caps of cells) and gently give oxygen massage through breathing by nose (and not by mouth) and apply your mind. In other words, massaging of your deteriorating telomeres with pure oxygen and application of mind can be done only through correct breathing and correct yogic exercise relevant to the affected part of your body or organ. During the yoga exercise, meditation quietens your monkey mind and helps you to reach the affected parts of your organ and pump the oxygen to massage the telomeres. Remember the MIND is very powerful and it is the positive mind which is important. The positive mind achieved through meditation is the key to all healing. Application of positive mind through the yogic exercise on the affected telomeres and massaging them with oxygen supplied through breathing by nose is exactly what has been recommended by both the Nobel Laureates. Meditation is a technique to reduce stress and for quietening the mind which is very vital to improve the health of telomeres. "……. All chronic pain, sufferings and diseases are caused from lack of oxygen at the cell level (telomeres)" Prof. A. C. Guyton ,M.D. (the Text Book of Medical Physiology - the world's most widely used medical text book of any kind and World's bestselling physiology book). If you check the life span of great yogis even in the recent past or through history, you will find they lived longer lives with all their faculties intact till their last breath. 

Diabetes, blood pressure, digestive disorders, asthma and heart diseases are due to abnormal shortening of telomeres which can be controlled or in many cases reversed by telomere breathing through yoga and meditation. I am talking about yoga associated with asanas of Hatha Yoga which are popular as fitness exercises. I am not talking about yoga as means of enlightenment. Hatha yoga is pursued for health benefit it provides and not as a path for enlightenment. 


(I may write Part III - Telomere Breathing)

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 Prof. Ram Mallar.
© 2012
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