We have learned that by our actions, we can keep our telomeres – and hence our cells – from aging prematurely. We may even be able to partly reverse the cellular aging process caused by telomere wear and tear.

Elizabeth Blackburn PhD
Nobel Prize Winner

Health span versus Disease span. Our health span is the number of years of healthy life. Our disease span is the years we live with noticeable disease that interferes with our quality of living. Joe and John may both live to one hundred, but each has a dramatically different quality of life in the second half of their life.

Aging can be defined as the cells “progressive functional impairment and reduced capacity to respond appropriately to environmental stimuli and injuries.” We now know that our “genes load the gun but it is our lifestyle that pulls the trigger.”

In their recently published book “The Telomere Effect” Elizabeth Blackburn PhD  and Elissa Epel PhD explore the different lifestyle factors that affect our telomeres. Not surprising 6 out of the 8 I.N.T.E.G.R.A.L. ‘root causes’ of disease are covered extensively in their book. The Gut and Bio-identical Hormones are not well covered. What was very clear is that the more stress you are under, the shorter your telomeres and the lower your telomerase. It also means that our life experiences, and the way we respond to these events (resilience) can change the length of our telomeres.

The I.N.T.E.G.R.A.L.  acronym thus contains the key epigenetic factors that can impact our 23,000 genes and can turn them on or off resulting in either longer or shorter telomeres.