What about the connection of brain health and telomeres? Brainhealth is a big issue as you age, and now studies show that longer telomeres are linked to better brain function. Telomeres are those DNA time keeps on the ends of our chromosomes that determine the lifespan of our cells.

One promising study came from the University of California at San Francisco. For 7 years, they tracked the telomere health of nearly 3,000 men, with an average age of 74. Every year in the study, they put the men through a series of brain tests and compared the results from year to year. The men with longer telomeres, definitely scored better on the mental performance tests.

In a pilot study published in the journal Nutrition in October 2013 found a reduction in the shortening of telomere length among men and women with mild cognitive issues who were given the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. An increase in telomere shortening has been associated with several aging-associated conditions, including cognitive issues.

Research also shows that when your telomerase enzyme is made very active, it can even lengthen telomeres and reverse aging of your cells. When this reversal occurs in your brain, mood, learning and memory improve. The scientists who discovered telomerase won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for this breakthrough.

In another human study from the major Betula Project, which according to the Swedish Research Council is one of the ten strongest research settings in Sweden and has the goal of studying how the memory changes during aging. It comprises 427 non-demented individuals between the ages of 41 and 81 years. They found that shorter telomere length is an important determinant in memory loss.

Here’s a women’s study. The famous Nurses’ Health Study looked at the telomeres of 2000 women, and found that those people with longer telomeres had less cognitive decline. Each unit increase in telomere length is like your brain acting a year younger.

Another significant Women & Telomere study from UC-San Francisco telomere experts and researchers at the Stanford Center for Neuroscience in Women’s Health:


How about one more? At the Protestant Geriatric Center of Berlin, Dr. Thomas von Zglinicki and colleagues found a significant association between telomere length and vascular dementia, a type of brain damage caused by blood vessel disease. Of 186 subjects in the study – 149 of whom were 55-98 years old – the researchers found that 41 had probable or possible vascular dementia. It was found that the telomere lengths in the leukocytes (white blood cells) of these 41 subjects were shorter than those in age-matched control subjects, in cognitively competent subjects, and in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease. By contrast, those subjects in the study with the longest telomeres were 100 times less likely to have vascular dementia than those with the shortest telomeres. Because telomeres generally get shorter with age, this finding is provocative.

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