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The End of Wrinkles? Anti-Aging Pill That Delays the Effects of Growing Old Could Be on the Horizon

Telomeres — protective bits of DNA on the end of chromosomes — become shorter every time a cell divides, researchers have found, the Daily Mail reports. Coupled with other knowledge they already have on telomerase — which lengthens telomeres’ protective tips — scientists believe they not only eventually may be able to come up with an anti-aging pill, but even cure cancer.

This is an incredibly promising discovery, particularly since we already know that your age isn’t the best predictor of your health. Rather, a wide range of health indicators including weight, mobility and even psychological well-being are now part of your health “age.” And that’s where telomeres come in.

Each of your chromosomes has a compound structure on the end called a telomere. These telomeres cap the end of the DNA strands, protecting them much like the plastic pieces on the end of a shoelace protects the lace from unraveling.

Telomeres protect vital information in your DNA strands. Your cells rejuvenate through replicating or reproducing. With each reproduction, the telomere protecting the end of the DNA strand becomes shorter and shorter, until finally the telomeres are so short the cells don’t function correctly.

But genetics aren’t the only determining factors. What you eat, how well you stay hydrated, and whether you exercise also figure in to your health age — as well as having a good attitude and mindset. For example, people who have lived until their 100th birthday say that being happy and having a positive attitude were important to their longevity.
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