Telomerase, the Holy Grail of Anti-Ageing

Can telomerase, the anti-ageing buzz word of the moment, help keep skin cells young, forever?

It might be some time since you studied the cell in all its glory but the latest buzz word is going to require a trip back to beauty school. We know that human ageing is the result of cellular ageing so let’s start with the basics.

What is a telomere?
Found within every cell, telomeres are specific DNA sequences located at the tips of chromosomes. Importantly, they act to protect the chromosome from damage but with each cycle of cell division (and this is happening all the time in our bodies) they typically get shorter. So after lots of cycles the telomeres could be gone altogether and that leaves the chromosome vulnerable.

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Dr Michael Fossel

In his latest book, The Telomerase Revolution, Dr Michael Fossel discusses how this process contributes to ageing in that with every shortening of the telomere, the cell’s ability to repair its molecules decreases.

“Cell ageing underlies all skin ageing, as molecular “recycling” and repair slow,” Dr Fossel explains.

“For example, extracellular collagen and elastase are constantly being turned over, but the rate of turnover slows with cell ageing, damage slowly accumulates, and we see wrinkles.

“As cell division slows, the skin layers themselves become thinner and easier to damage. No matter how you look at skin ageing, cell ageing underlies it all.”

What about this buzz word, telomerase?
Discovered by Tasmanian-born Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, telomerase is an enzyme that replenishes the structure of the telomere — and in doing so it helps keep a cell young. But we need to be cautious in touting it the newest miracle cure.

“Telomerase is potentially an important anti-ageing ingredient although currently there is no science proving that it helps skin ageing,” says Dr Ronald Moy, founder of the DNA Renewal range, adding we should be cautious and suspicious of telomerase claims.

Trending Telomeres STORYDr Fossel agrees, stating it’s already a buzz word, complete with unsubstantiated claims.

“I’d beware of any product that claims to have telomerase or to reset telomeres. For every product that might possibly increase telomeres, there are ten that don’t, but will happily take your money,” he says.

So, what does this mean for clients?
While we await further research and product development both Dr Fossel and Dr Moy agree that sun protection remains the best approach for clients – all year round.

“Anything that damages the skin will increase the rate of ageing, whether it’s sun, chemical, trauma, or infections. For now, the only reasonable approach to slowing skin ageing is to avoid damage and sunscreens are probably the best single option we have,” Dr Fossel says.

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Dr Ronald Moy

“Sunscreen is always recommended, as the best offense is a good defense!” Dr Moy adds.

“Making sure that sunscreens are broad spectrum and have DNA Repair Enzymes like ours would be the best way to ensure you’re getting the best protection, but also studies have shown that twice daily intakes of nicotinamide and other DNA repair supplements can prevent DNA damage and help telomere preservation.”Trending Telomeres STORY sml

The Telomerase Revolution by Dr Michael Fossel is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now, RRP$29.99.