Each cell in your body contains a complete set of all our genetic information. The cells carry this genetic information, your DNA, in the form of chromosomes. Unfortunately every time a cell divides in our body, a small bit of DNA is lost from the end of each chromosome. That would be absolutely disastrous (deadly in fact!), if it weren’t for our telomeres.
Telomeres are located at the ends of each of our chromosomes. Like a little cap they protect your chromosomes – you could compare it to the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. With every cell division our telomeres take the brunt of the unavoidable DNA shortening and thus protect the vital genetic information between them.
As our telomeres get shorter every time a cell divides, their length can be used to determine the biological age of our cells. Younger cells are known to have longer telomeres, while older cells have shorter telomeres. Short telomeres will eventually impair the ability of cells to divide properly, causing the cells to function poorly and ultimately die. Short telomeres have also been connected to cancer and a shorter life span overall.
The good news is that you can influence how quickly your telomeres shorten with your everyday lifestyle! Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, unhealthy diet, no exercise and stress, can cause telomeres to shorten more quickly, increasing your risk for a whole host of diseases and health problems.
On the other hand, a healthy lifestyle, which includes, but not limited to, eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, exercise and stress management, helps protect your telomeres.
At European Dermatology London, we can measure your telomere length with a simple blood test, thus giving you an indication about your true biological age. For only £699 you will find out your biological age within a few short weeks. We have found this test to be invaluable and highly motivating with regards to adjusting your lifestyle and making good choices.
To arrange your telomere length test, please call reception on 020 7467 8500 and ask for a 30min blood test appointment with Dr Valeria or Dr Stefanie.