What is a Telomere?
Telomeres are protective ends on each of our chromosomes that protect these long, twisted strands of DNA during the replication process. What is interesting is that scientists are not finding out the direct correlation of the length of our Telomeres and our health and life span. They are also discovering that some supplement, like Coriolus Versicolor PSK and PSP are able to help build our immune system and slow the shortening of Telomeres during the replication process.
To begin, let’s zoom in on the human body. Our body is made up of over 100 trillion cells. Zoom in further and we see every cell contains a nucleolus. Zoom even deeper and that’s where the chromosomes are. Chromosomes are long strands of DNA genes that decide who we are, what we look like, how tall we’ll be, etc.
So, let’s look at a single chromosome. Each chromosome is made up of 2 arms, and each arm contains a single molecule of DNA. DNA is like a long string of informational beads that determine everything about us. DNA strings are measured in units called “basis”, and a typical chromosome string is about 100 million basis units long. These strings are coiled up like a slinky (remember those toys?) just like the picture. So, if were to unravel the entire chromosome string, we would find the telomere at the end of each string. These special “beads” are designed to protect the DNA strands during the replication process.
So, if were to unravel the entire chromosome string, we would find the telomere at the end of each string. Now the length of that telomere at birth is only about 15,000 basis units long (remember it’s about 100 million basis units long). Each time the chromosome divides, that telomere gets a little bit shorter. In fact, before we are 1-year old, our telomeres are down to about 10,000 basis units. When those telomeres get down below about 5,000 basis units, the cell dies. If enough chromosomes get below 5,000, we die of old age.
What is interesting is that most scientists and researchers agree that the theoretical age of the average person, based on the time it takes the telomeres to shorten to under 5,000 basis units, is about 125 years. The reason most of don’t live that long is due to a number of factors including the inability of our body’s immune system to fight off diseases and the inability of our body to manage the shortening of the telomeres.
When a cell divides, it is through the process of DNA replication. Basically, the chromosomes strand splits in half, and is then each half is replicated to a whole by DNA replication process so you now have 2 exact duplicate chromosomes. The only difference is that in the process, the telomeres are now a bit shorter they the original one. Why, you say?
Well, DNA replication is a bit like laying a brick wall. The first layer of bricks represents one half of the original chromosome. Our body (bricklayer) then places another row of bricks on top of the first row, continuing this for the entire 100 trillion “bricks” in the strand. However, as the bricklayer nears the end of the row, backing up as he goes, he has nowhere to stand to lay the last brick (one of the telomere bricks) without falling off the wall. So that 2ndlayer is just a bit shorter than the first one.
The next time that cell divides, the same thing happens. And so it goes over and over again as the cell divides each time and replicates.
We can accelerate the shortening of the telomeres by our unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and the environment we live in. What happens is that these activities create free radicals that bond to the telomeres and can shorten them prematurely.
Important Note: According to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research special conference on Colorectal Cancer Biology to Therapy, held Oct. 27-30, 2010, for the first time, researchers have found a link between telomere length and an increased risk for cancer.
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What is interesting about our body is that the telomeres in our reproductive cells don’t shorten. So, they theoretically never age. This is due to the production of an enzyme called telomerase.
Telomerase is an enzyme made out of proteins and ribonucleic acid (RNA), and is designed to maintain the DNA telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes. Telomerase maintains the quality and quantity of DNA located at the ends of each of our chromosomes.
So, what happens in reproductive cell division is that the bricklayer still falls off and the telomere is shorter than the original chromosome. But, telomerase “magically” comes in and replaces that missing telomere brick so the new chromosome is identical to the original one.
Cool! So, what does this all mean? The fact that most of our cells telomere gets shorter during the DNA replication process is part of natural ageing. So, controlling the length of the telomeres is therefore one of the key ways to give our bodies the ability to fight against diseases, and age-induced degradation.
Coriolus Versicolor PSK/PSP
So, how can we effectively control our telomere’s and help rebuild and maintain our immune system? Polysacaride PSP and PSK, an extract from, the Coriolus Versicolor mushroom, acts on our bodies as a modulator, helping to control the length of the telomere during cell division and helps our body’s immune system to rebuild and maintain its ability to fight diseases.
Coriolus Versicolor is a mushroom that has been used in Asia and Europe for hundreds of years. It is just now becoming recognized and readily available in the US. Unlike most drugs that are prescribed now, Coriolus Versicolor PSP and PSK is all natural. If we look around us, nature teaches us some things that most Western medical science has ignored until now.
Sadly, the pharmaceutical industry brought us to the philosophy of intervention, not prevention. The word should be prevention, not intervention. That’s what it’s really all about.