Everyone will agree that aging is a normal biological process and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. However, the expert biologist, Elizabeth Blackburn, reveals amazing details in her TED talk about the way we can influence the aging process.

In order to make her point clear, she began her explanation by describing the way cells multiply in the human body.

The life starts with one single cell which then divides into two cells. The two cells divide into four and the four cells divide into eight. The process of multiplication goes on until they become 200 million billion cells that compose the human body.

These cells continue to divide thousands of times. Every time the cell division occurs, the DNA has to be copied since it carries all vital information that keeps the cells in proper working order.

However, during this process, some parts of the DNA, known as telomeres, get shortened and worn down. This means that the DNA is no longer protected.

This intrigued Elizabeth to do further research. Namely, she was curious how does Mother Nature ensure that we can keep our chromosomes intact if we take into consideration that the telomere shortening is inevitable?

According to her findings, certain cells in the human body, known as Tetrahymena, never get old. Eventually, she has found out that the telomeres of these cells didn’t shorten. They even got longer.

This is because these cells have an enzyme, called telomerase, which makes the telomeres longer.

If we relate these findings to the process of aging, it can be concluded that the longer our telomeres, the healthier we are.
In other words, the telomere over-shortening leads to premature aging.

However, nudging up telomerase isn’t the right solution. Although it may significantly lower the risk of certain diseases, it increases the risk of some nasty cancers.

According to Elizabeth Blackburn, there is still something we can do in order to thwart the aging process.

Namely, she has found out that the more stressful our lives, the shorter our telomeres.

It means that the chronic stress makes us more susceptible to certain diseases and premature death.

Luckily, you can maintain your telomeres if you are resilient to stress. This means that instead of viewing the everyday stress as a threat, make sure you consider it as a challenge. It will make you more stress-resilient.

After her research, numerous scientists added their expertise to this research and confirmed that chronic stress affects telomeres.
Additionally, they have found out that social factors also impact our telomeres. Lifelong friendships, happy and long-term marriage and tight-knit communities improve the maintenance of our telomeres.

This actually means that we are powerful enough to change our telomeres and thus improve our lives.