Friday, October 24, 2008


Healthy living means different things to different people. But quality of life every human being has to strive for is decided by the type of food eaten and the daily regimens followed in managing the day to day stresses. But all said, the cells which make up the tissues in the body are governed by the well established Hayflick limit which restricts the multiplication by division to roughly about 50 cycles where after they die. In contrast an equally stunning discovery revealed how cancerous cells are not constrained by the above limit, being able to multiply rapidly ad libitum and stay young. It was only recently the real reason for such anomalies of cell multiplication was understood and the role of the enzyme telomerase was discovered in influencing cell division. Telomeres, occurring at both ends of chromosomes contain condensed DNA material and almost like a cap (similar to the two capped ends of a shoe lace) it gives stability to the chromosomes. Repeated cell divisions via mitosis reduces the telomere length and after about 50 divisions they practically disappear.

Nature has endowed the cells undergoing regular division such as those in the immune system with the enzyme telomerase to replace the lost bits of telomeres while in most somatic cells this enzyme, even if present, is not active. Embryonic cells express telomerase because of the necessity for fast growth of all cells. Telomerase enzyme is a reverse transcriptase that carries its own RNA molecule which is used as a template for elongation of telomeres which normally get shortened after each replication cycle. Thus telomerase is like a double edged sword because of its positive role in preserving the cells on one hand and the destructive role in helping the cancerous cells to grow unlimited on the other hand.

The Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California, USA came out with the startling findings that the telomerase activity in normal and healthy human beings can be enhanced through a regime of healthy diet, regular exercise and relaxation and cell damage responsible for aging can be slowed down significantly for a longer life. Though this study cannot be considered adequate to arrive at a firm conclusion due to the limited number of volunteers involved, it does give an indication of future direction of endeavors attempting to push life expectancy further and increase longevity. The life style changes used in the study involved consuming for 3 months a diet high in fruits and vegetables, supplements of vitamins and fish oils, adopting an exercise regimen and stress avoidance and it was found that the blood levels of telomerase in these subjects increased by a whopping 29% compared to the levels before the study. As anti-aging foods, drugs and therapies are increasingly becoming popular amongst consumers, this line of investigations will eventually bring about commercially viable technologies based on the telomerase system. Already the Swiss pharma giant Roche has the license to make a unique kit for testing for hard-to-detect cancers like bladder cancer through the telomerase enzyme assay in urine.

The larger question is whether human beings, when they are in the prime of their life, will ever pay attention to the fact that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, when they can afford, will be the biggest investment which will bring returns in later years in the form of longevity and freedom from some of the debilitating diseases that confront the society. It is unfortunate that wisdom dawns only at the old age when it is too late to recover from the past sins of over eating, sedentary living and stressful daily chores.



Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd say thanks for the interesting article. I'm looking at this with regard to endometriosis, rather than cancer, and although the former isn't terminal, the body's cells behave in a very similar way in both diseases -

Best wishes,


OMGaNewbie said...

Most people think that there is a cure for endometriosis thru nutrition or meds. NOT TRUE. Surgery is the only option.....period!

I too suffered from this horrible condition from the 1st day of puberty (1964) until I stumbled across an amazing gynecologist in 1998. She was the 1st doctor to diagnose me and give a very sound explanation of the cause of this nasty condition.

In very simple laymen's terms.....with my limited medical jargon, I hope you can get the jest of what I am trying to convey and research this with your own gyno.

Apparently, during the time the embryo is developing. Some time during the development of your brain, kidneys, liver, heart etc., after the uterus is developed....the brain is being set up to send out signals with instructions for the body.
Well, these little soldiers (for the lack of a better description) are also being created and directed to march into the uterus and establish themselves on the interior uterus walls. Then when a female hit puberty, the brain signals for these little soldiers to start menstruation. And all is well.

However, if some of these little soldiers lost their directions and did not find their way INTO the uterus, they adhered themselves to what ever organ was near by. They could have attached themselves to the outside of the uterus, kidneys, intestines etc.

Yet, these lost little soldiers still have the same communication equipment as the ones in the uterus, to intercept the communication from the brain, when the brain sends out the signal to menstruate.

So when the all the soldiers are doing their job, the blood inside the uterus flows out of the body, but the blood from the lost soldiers cannot come out the normal way. You are basically bleeding internally and your body has to absorb the blood.
And that condition is call endometriosis.

lololol I warned you that I am going to use as laymen a terminology as it gets. lololol but I think you can get the jest of what I am saying.
I hope that someone with the correct knowledge explains this process in better terms. This has NOTHING to do with diet, supplements or meds.

I was finally blessed to find the right doctor that knew what she was talking about. Surgery was the only solution. I was lucky. My lost soldiers all adhered on the outside of the uterus wall, so a simply hysterectomy solved the problem. The other 3 women in my ward were not so lucky. Why? Because their lost soldiers were so lost that they adhered on a multitude of internal organs as well as the outside of their uterus, so these women would have to have more procedures to be rid of them, even though they too had hysterectomies.

I hope that this explanation gives you enough to do your own research in the right direction, with the right doctor. Pls., do not buy into snake oil sales pitches. Ingesting this or that will NOT solve the problem. How can it? Think about why.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with reply-
I had a TAH (total abdominal hysterectomy) with all my reproductive organs removed, adhesions removed and 2 metres of intestines removed and 3 golf ball sized cysts removed along with loads of other smaller ones.
Two months later- ( I suspect after starting the HRT) the disease was back with a vengeance.

Eating and exercising is not the cure for endo- there is no cure for this horrible disease, not yet, until they find one.

I also have an ileostomy that was created because of this disease, and it was created after the hysterectomy, when the surgeons attempted to close the previous one, but unknown to them at the time there was a huge cyst that had burst behind the wall of the abdomen where the reversal of the previous one was.
Try telling me that not eating vast amounts of fruit and veg did that!
Speaking of fruit and veg- with an ileostomy you cannot eat all the recommended foods to keep to the regime- it is not possible without causing a serious risk of blockage.

I wish people would stop making hypes and stick to the medical facts, there would be a lot less confused peeps.

I have been guided by a wonderful gynae consultant who is an expert on endometriosis and has taught me everything I need to know, not what would just benefit me.

I am a very good advisor on an endo website that is community based and I am sorry to see how many women are fooled into thinking that eating that extra bit of green and yellow will rid them of their agony that they have lived with for years.

It is far more likely to be a result of finding out that their body was intolerant to a food type that they have simply cut out of their system for the first time in years, and not known what the cause of the intolerance was -
i.e. gluten.

Like I said, I totally agree with this lady here with her reply.