While you're busy putting creams and oils on your skin in a bid to look younger, did you know that beneath your skin lurks a biological ticking time bomb?
It's called telomere shortening, and the length of your telomeres means that you could be years older than your real age.
At the end of each of our string-like strands of DNA are caps called telomeres – which protect our chromosomes from fraying or getting tangled up with each other. Scientists say they’re like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, which stop them from unravelling and getting matted together. These telomeres shorten as we age and this is not good news, because your life expectancy shortens along with them.
Dr Sara Palmer Hussey, PhD, who is a leading global authority on ageing, explains it in layman’s terms:
"Every time a cell divides, its telomeres, the protective caps at the end of chromosomes, shorten. When telomeres become too short, the cell dies. The speed at which they shorten is indicative of the body’s rate of ageing."
Telomere shortening is as serious as it sounds: research has found that shorter telomeres equal a shorter life, plus there are links to certain neurological diseases, cardiovascular trouble, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to slow this process and stay younger on the inside for longer:
"Antioxidants protect telomeres from damage and omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are associated with longer, healthier telomeres," Dr Palmer Hussey says. "I've included sufficient quantities of effective antioxidants and these two nutrients in my anti-ageing supplement Lumity to protect telomeres. Telomere shortening is one of the nine causes of ageing, along with oxidative damage, cellular debris, glycation, DNA damage, inflammation, cellular energy decline, insulin resistance and hormonal decline. Lumity fights these simultaneously giving you better health, immunity as well as glowing skin and a number of other benefits."
As well as taking Lumity’s two-step day and night formula, there are other things that you can do to protect your telomeres and thus live a happier, healthier life.
1. Say no to stress
Stress is known as a culprit behind numerous fatal illnesses and serious diseases. It is the number one cause of premature ageing, and as well as giving you lines and bags under your eyes, it also speeds up telomere shortening. Avoid it at all costs. Is your boss or other half stressing you out? Ask yourself, is it worth the extra wrinkles and a shorter life?
2. An anti-ageing diet
An antioxidant-rich diet has been proven to slow down telomere shortening. Goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, elderberries and kidney beans are all packed with age-busting antioxidants which will help you live longer. For longevity-boosting selenium and glutathione, brazil nuts, oysters, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, spinach, and beetroots are all worth adding to your diet. If you can’t stand the taste of greens, hide them in a smoothie with apples or berries.
3. Anti-age workouts
A recent study showed that cardio and aerobic exercise help prevent telomeres from shrinking. If you’ve been meaning to get back into the gym, but keep finding excuses, then surely living for longer is the one you've been waiting for? If you can’t face a spin or HIIT class, there’s solid proof that yoga decreases your body’s overall stress levels.
4. Anti-age brain workouts
Meditating isn't just a new age fad - it will help you live longer. Meditating has been shown by studies to lower your cortisol levels, which in turn slows the ageing process.
5. Hit the snooze button
Scientists have found that getting your eight hours of beauty sleep a night slows down telomere shortening. If you're struggling through life with a sleep deficit, it might be worth planning in some early nights and catching up. There was never a better excuse for having a lie in.
Inspired to give Lumity a try? Get your 4-week supply for £79 here .
Written in partnership with Lumity .