If you’re a regular reader of my blog, by now, you’ve probably heard that I like to walk. I also like to read.
The thing is: I don’t have much reading time these days. Even though I try to read each night before bed, I usually end up falling asleep on my book.
A useful way to indulge in both activities is through audiobooks. I’m able to read fun novels before bed, and listen to educational books on my walks.
One of the last books I “read” (via Audible) was The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer.
What are Telomeres?
I had never heard of telomeres until I saw this book and decided to buy it. I consequently found out that they are quite important to our health.
The word telomeres – pronounced tel-uh-meerz – come from the Greek: telos – meaning end – and meros – meaning part. In short, telomeres are “the caps” at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes very much like the plastic caps at the end of your shoelaces. (1)
The shoelace cap analogy is a great one because as these plastic pieces protect your shoelaces from fraying and becoming damaged, telomeres serve the same function for your DNA strands.
Telomeres and Cellular Aging
DNA is the blueprint which makes every cell and organ in our body.
Telomeres shorten over time. Once very shortened, they become unable to do their job (protect our DNA); causing our cells to age and stop functioning properly. When this happens we enter the disease stage.
Scientists have discovered that telomeres act as a timer that clock the aging of our cells. Shortened telomeres have been linked to premature cellular aging–and cellular aging has been linked to a myriad of health concerns.
Basically, telomeres tell us about our biological age.
Our Impact on the Health of our Telomeres
While it is true that telomeres shorten as we age, certain habits do have a positive or negative effect on their length. Habits like smoking, over-eating, poor sleeping habits, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, and poor diet, have all been shown to have an impact on our telomeres.
The good news is that we can increase (to a point) the length of our telomeres.
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer
The Telomere effect is written by two women:
Dr. Elissa Epel is a leading health psychologist and founder and director of UCSF s Center on Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment (COAST). She has received several research awards, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine Award, the Neal Miller New Investigator Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and multiple American Psychological Association Awards. (2)
Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn is an Australian born Nobel laureate who is currently the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. (3) (4) She won the Nobel prize for her studies on telomeres.
The Telomere Effect is divided in four parts:
- Telomeres: a Pathway to Living Younger
- Your Cells are Listening to your Thoughts
- Help your Body Protect its Cells
- Outside In: The Social Word Shapes Your Telomeres
Each main part is comprised of three to four very informative chapters.
Additionally, each part ends with a section called “Renewal Lab.” These labs give a recap of ideas and tips on what you can do to care for your telomeres and slow the aging process. Sometimes you can even (under the right conditions) reverse the aging process.
My Opinion about The Telomere Effect
The book was well written, easily understood, informative, and full of practical tips.
It was not a dry scientific book; which it easily could’ve been considering the caliber of the authors as well as the copious amount of scientific data.
Overall, it is upbeat and encourages us to take positive steps toward maintaining our health for as long as possible.
This book was well worth the read (or in my case, listening to).
It was uplifting rather than depressing.
As of this writing, The Telomere Effect has received 150 reviews in Amazon with 80% of them a four star or above. Only 5% of the reviews were a one star (or five reviews). There was a complaint about the kindle version and a few more negatives regarding the uselessness of the book and the information it contained.
As with everything to each his/her own.
I for one do not regret the time I took to listen to it. If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.
BUY the book (this is an affiliate link, it is at no cost to you although Amazon does give me a small commission).