The Feb. 23 issue's cover story is "This Baby Could Live to Be 142 Years Old." You might want to pick it up, or I'll try to remember to bring it the next time I see you. The various articles discuss telomeres in a few places, and say there's some evidence that reducing stress and increasing exercise might help increase the output of telomerase and make telomeres grow. But Harvard psychologist, Dr. Ellen Langer is cautionary:
"Telomere supplements, however -- either synthetically produced or in the many herbal supplements that claim to include the enzyme -- are not the answer. If telomeres never burn down, you get immortal cells -- which is another way of saying cancer cells."
" 'Cancers love telomerase, and a number of cancers regulate it like crazy,' says Blackburn.'But some cancers are also related to low telomerase because that makes telomeres less stable.' Trying to boost telomerase through supplements is a dangerous game to play -- at least given the present state of medical knowledge. 'We don't know how to strike some kind of balance. My feeling would be that if I take anything that would push my telomeres up, I'm playing with fire,' says Blackburn."
Personally, I have no opinion on this, but it suggests you should be watchful as you move ahead with your study.
This is actually pretty good news because it tells me that the sales of Telomerase Activation supplements, even at $2000 per month, is starting to have an impact on pharmaceutical sales.
I think almost everyone taking the supplement understands, as even former Nobel prize winners have cautioned, about cancer risks, because telomerase is how cancer cells multiply without burning out.
But all the real science I have read, so far, shows no increased propensity to develop cancer when your telomeres are long. Instead health and cancer-disease risk apparently is reduced to that of a 20 or 30-year old.
So if that Blackburn is Elizabeth, I am surprised that she wouldn't want to extend her own longevity? (There is another Blackburn who writes about telomeres but did not win the Nobel prize. I look forward to reading the story to find out which one. And I am sure there are a lot of scam products on the market, especially those that claim to have telomerase in them. That is why we are spending a lot of money to test our TA-65 analog in liposomes.)
And once your telomeres have been lengthened - you can stop taking a telomerase activator, so there would be little risk of "helping" new cancers, or developing them in the first place.
The bottom line is that we all have an expiration date, and nothing other than lengthening telomeres can postpone that date past the theoretical limit of 120 years.