In recent times the discovery that the telomerase enzyme can lengthen telomeres has caused a great buzz in the antiaging and medical fraternity, they’ve caused both controversy and excitement, so what’s it all about?
Watch this slideshow for an overview of the importance of telomere length to health and the effects of TA65 on the length of telomeres.
Well, telomeres are the protective tips or ‘strands’ found on the end of chromosomes that help to keep them from fraying, a bit like in the same way that aglets- the pieces wrapped around the end of a shoelace do.
In fact it is believed that telomeres don’t play a genetic function but exist solely to protect the DNA itself.
In the last few years telomeres have been getting a lot of attention because animal studies have been showing that shorter telomeres not only appear to equate to a shorter life, but also poorer health too and vice-versa that longer telomeres could equate to a longer and healthier life.
For some time the ‘DNA theory of aging’ has predisposed that damaged DNA leads to a worsening repair of cells and therefore, like a builder who each time he builds a house loses part of the plans, eventually leads to a cell (or a building in this case) which is no longer functional.
It could also be related to the Hayflick theory of aging whereby Professor Leonard Hayflick estimated that a cell can only divide itself by about 50 times before it could no longer function. Scientists are now asking themselves if it is the loss (shortening) of telomeres that causes this ‘countdown’ loss of functionality.
Could it be that the loss (shortening) of telomeres is a direct result of that DNA damage and the lengthening of telomeres the key to DNA repair? Well the ‘school is still out’, but since the animal models show much promise in terms of improving telomeres, ergo improving life and longevity, there has been a lot of excitement about the possibility of doing the same for humans.
Even in the much vaulted stem cells, the older we become the shorter the telomeres become even in stem cells, thus they progressively become impaired losing their ability to produce new healthy cells. Thus we see the importance for younger humans to store (freeze) their stem cells so that they may be injected back later into the same individual- but obviously this is a problem if you are already ‘older’ and don’t have a time machine to use and go back and store your stem cells! However a telomerase activator could in theory negate that need, because they can be used virtually at anytime to improve the condition of the individual’s cells- it is perhaps a true example of not just antiaging medicine, but indeed regenerative medicine.
There is published information that substances and protocols such as the omega oils (1), carnosine (2), vitamin D (3) multi-vitamins (4) and healthy lifestyle choices (5) have been found to help slow down the rate of telomere shortening. This may help to explain how those people who look after themselves and take key supplements age better than those who don’t, but until recently there wasn’t anything that was proven that could actually lengthen the telomeres themselves.
One of the key DNA and aging research facilities- the US based Geron Corporation, discovered several years ago that a ‘telomerase activator’ could help lengthen telomeres. That substance that Geron discovered was a highly purified and concentrated extract of the Chinese herb astragalus; this extract has become patented and produced by TA Sciences under the name of TA65®.
Recent studies have shown that the shortest telomeres can be lengthened, (which may be the most important factor- rather than improving overall average telomere length).
Telomerase is the enzyme used within the body to help repair telomeres and when activated can help repair and lengthen them. Why is this potential so exciting? Well let’s look at some of the experiments with telomerase activation to improve telomere length.
In January 2011, the scientific journal- Nature- published the results with telomerase deficient mice. (6) These mice had conditions of pro-aging resulting in smaller organs than normal, less neurons in their brains and poorer structural integrity and even an inability to produce sperm.
As telomerase was introduced and their telomeres lengthened the scientists noted that after only 30-days there was a reversal in every test conducted, with greater neuronal growth, better myelin sheath linings (that protect neurons), heightened sense of smell, plus intestinal and organ damage was repaired and even sperm was produced again.
Even though these mice were expected to live shorter lives than normal, after their telomeres were improved they went on to live longer and healthier than could have ever been expected. In conclusion the authors of the study stated; “...this unprecedented reversal of age-related decline in the central nervous system and other organs vital to adult mammalian health justify exploration of telomere rejuvenation strategies for age-associated diseases, particularly those driven by accumulating genotoxic stress.”
Other interesting evidence that telomeres may play an important role in longevity and health are from research that has shown that centenarians (people who live to be 100 years of age or more), have longer telomeres than the average individual in the population. (7)
Another interesting thought for the day is this one; why can ‘older’ individuals conceive healthy (and obviously young) children- despite the fact that their own DNA (and by association their own telomeres) have been damaged by aging?
The answer to that question is because all reproductive cells have their DNA switch for telomerase activation always turned on, (as opposed to all other somatic cells wherein their DNA switch for telomerase activation is always turned off). Therefore by consequence reproductive cells always have long telomeres and little or no DNA damage, (as opposed to the age affected somatic cells that have short telomeres and damaged DNA).
Are these strong clues as to the ‘power’ of telomeres to protect DNA and thereby protect our cells, our organs and our entire being from aging? Time will surely tell.
TA Sciences have conducted a number of clinical experiments, the most pivotal of which was published in the Journal of Rejuvenation Research.
These trials have highlighted that even when taken orally TA65® could alter a number of factors favorably, principally those related with the immune system as well as helping to normalize blood pressure and improve skin elasticity.
These experiments and others conducted by Dr. Bill Andrews at Sierra Sciences have also shown that TA65® when taken orally can lengthen the shortest telomeres in humans.
Some have asked that if TA65® is effective in lengthening telomeres by telomerase activation- and if it is extracted from the herb astragalus, then surely consuming astragalus will have the same or similar effects? Unfortunately there is no evidence to suggest this; in fact there is evidence to suggest that it will not. TA Sciences tested several food supplement astragalus extracts and found none of them to contain any trace of the active element and this was utilizing laboratory equipment that is accurate to finding one part in a million.
The astragalus in TA65® is sourced at monitored and approved farms in China and is then analyzed in an FDA approved laboratory to ensure a minimum of 90% purity, this process is kept proprietary. Under tight quality control conditions the extract is sent to New Jersey, USA for formulation and packaging, all according to ISO and cGMP standards.
Therefore, TA65® can guarantee its label claims and is the only product currently tested and proven to active telomerase and induce lengthening of telomeres. All other ‘products’ currently making such claims appear to be trying to piggy back on the work of Geron , Dr. Bill Andrews and TA Sciences and do not appear to have any proven clinical support and therefore simply do not have the ‘proof’ of efficacy.
Currently only TA65® can substantiate its right to be the world’s first proven telomerase activator that is commercially available today.
Dosing would ideally be based upon the need, so after a telomere test, (which are now available from some laboratories in the USA and Europe for a few hundred Dollars) the result would be an examination of the shortest telomeres, (this is now considered to be more important than the overall average telomere length). Obviously the shorter the telomere the greater the dose of TA65® should be given.
Without a telomerase test the so-called Patton dose is based upon age (which could be adjusted for the perceived health condition of the patient in question) and approximates as follows:
IAS has been watching this product with a great deal of interest for a couple of years and in that time many hundreds of people have consumed it on a regular basis. To date there has not been any report of a negative side effect or contraindication with its use.
Clearly TA65® represents the cutting-edge of commercially available antiaging medicine and until recently TA65® has only been available through a handful of antiaging clinics, but now for the first time, IAS is excited to be the first organisation to make TA65® available directly to the public.
For further information about TA65® including FAQs, testimonials and referenced articles, please use our information bar.
1. Farzaneh-Far R, Lin J, Epel ES, Harris WS, Blackburn EH, Whooley MA. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.
2. Shao L, Li QH, Tan Z. L-carnosine reduces telomere damage and shortening rate in cultured normal fibroblasts. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Nov 12;324(2):931-6.
3. Richards JB, Valdes AM, Gardner JP, et al. Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Nov;86(5):1420-5.
4. Xu Q. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):1857-63
5. Puterman E, Lin J, Blackburn E, O’Donovan A, Adler N, Epel E. The power of exercise: buffering the effect of chronic stress on telomere length. PLoS One. 2010 May 26;5(5):e10837
6. Jaskelioff M, Muller FL, Paik JH, et al. Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. 2011 Jan 6;469(7328):102-6.
7. Gil Atzmon, Yousin Suh et al ‘Genetic variation in human telomerase is associated with telomere length in Ashkenazi centenarians.’ PNAS, 11/ 2009
Disclaimer: Please note that only your own physician can determine your precise needs, but in order to give you some information these answers are based upon the ‘average person’ and clinical/ published results.
Where can I get a blood test to examine the length of my telomeres?
More labs are becoming available to perform this service and the price is coming down all the time. Two established labs that specialise in measuring both the average length of your telomeres and the shortest telomeres (the most important test of the two) are Spectracell Laboratory in Texas, USA www.spectracell.com and the Life Length Laboratory in Spain www.lifelength.com
Q. Is TA-65 a drug?
A. TA-65 is a nutritional supplement not a drug and we make no claims that it prevents or treats any disease. TA-65 is proven to activate telomerase which keeps cells functioning healthily as we age.
Q. How long will I have to take TA65 before I could see a measurable difference in my telomeres?
A. Many people’s telomeres measure longer after 6 months, but one year is recommended before users have their telomeres tested again.
Q. Can I expect anything to happen?
A. After 90 days of use, many patients reports an increase in energy levels, improved vision, improved sexual drive and less gray hair etc., but the time period and effects do vary from individual to individual.
Q. What happens if I miss the occasional dose?
A. Nothing, but don’t double up, just keep taking the same dose. The bottle will simply last a bit longer. However it is not recommended to make a habit of habitually missing regular dosing.
Q. If I stop taking TA65 after the end of the minimum recommended period, how long before the improvement in my telomere length would return to what it was before I started?
A. When a person stops taking TA-65 nothing happens immediately. Telomeres will stay at whatever length they were when you stopped and then they will start to shorten again with normal aging and cell division. It is not like with hormones where you lose all the benefits when you stop taking them. Of course how fast this renewed shortening occurs would be influenced by lifestyle: Does the person exercise regularly, smoke, consume too much alcohol, have a lot of stress, etc?
Q. Is there a minimum age limit, i.e. can a 21 year old use TA65?
A. The minimum age currently recommended is 40 this is because it is believed that people under the age of 40 wouldn’t see much of a difference in their daily lives and they normally don’t have short telomeres. However if a young person has their telomeres measured and they are unduly short, they should take TA-65, so in this respect there is no minimum age for an adult. Of course TA65 is not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing mothers.
Q. How long should I continue to use TA65 and can I reduce the dose without loss of action at any time?
A. It’s recommended to take the current/ starting dose for at least 2 years and ideally to just keep on going after that indefinitely, however if a person is on a budget he/she could cut down to a lower ‘maintenance’ dose of one capsule a day after 2 years. Of course ideally one should be responding to the lab tests indicating the length of the telomeres themselves, focusing on the shortest ones rather than the average length and adjusting the doses of TA65 accordingly.
Q. I’ve read that as cancer cells have long telomeres that long telomeres may be associated with cancer and that some of the animal trials that used telomerase activators appear to have induced cancer- can you comment on that in regard to TA65?
A. It’s a complicated question to address but we will try. Firstly let’s state that there are many more published papers that don’t suspect telomeres of being involved with cancer formation and only a handful that do. The papers that do actually used a process of whereby telomerase enzyme was injected specifically into the cells in question and that some scientists have suggested that this direct injection method was more likely the trigger for cancer rather than the telomerase enzyme (and long telomeres) themselves. It is true however that cancer cells do have long telomeres, as it is well known that cancer cells are virulent and not easily destroyed cells and in some cases have proven themselves to be ‘immortal’ or at least very long lived, (samples of cancer cells are still living in test tubes decades after their ‘owners’ have died). It is believed that cancer cells make use of telomerase and desire long telomeres to protect themselves to go on living etc. Meanwhile TA65 has not to date shown any carcinogenic properties despite having been used by hundreds of people regularly for a number of years and despite a number of clinical and published trials with it- all of which have reported no such cancer related findings. Taken in normal (Patton regime) doses to date there have no reported side effects or contraindications, but to err on the side of caution, if a patient has a pre-existing cancer condition then we would advise TA65 use only under the close guidance of a physician.