This past Wednesday, I finally did it. I rolled up my sleeve and had my blood drawn for Telomere testing!

The needle stick was inconsequential to me since I routinely get serum lab tests and also nutritional IV therapies. Just as I counsel and plan with all of my patients regarding everything from thyroid to toxic metals, I also devise my own therapies to correct, tweak, and improve my health markers. I have had my own major challenges, so I know personally that initial gut reaction to lab results!

However, Telomere testing kicks it up a notch regarding true aging. Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of every chromosome that serve as a cap to your genetic material. Think of them as the small plastic strands on the end of a shoe lace.

Each time one of your 100 trillion cells divide and replicate, the new strand becomes shorter which causes the cell to age. By evaluating the Telomere length on white blood cells, we can assess biological age versus chronological age. The higher the score, the “younger” the cells are, and thus, the goal is to slow the loss of Telomere lengths.

Variables that can affect Telomere lengths include diet, exercise, oxidative stress, weight, insulin resistance, and toxic exposure. Studies have shown that Telomere test results are strongly associated with cardiovascular risks, chronic disease, and cancer.

For me, knowing this biomarker will help me strengthen my desire to live healthy with specific restorative plans. Each piece of my “puzzle” gives me a glimpse of my own personal risk factors. My goal is not to live forever, but to live with the best possible quality of life.

As one of my patients stated, “I want to live hard and die fast!” We can’t predict our destiny. But the more knowledge we have about our bodies, the better choices we can make.

Nan Sprouse, RN, BSN, FNP-BC

I should have my results in a few weeks. Perhaps I’ll share them and we can figure out how to improve my health. In the meantime, I’ll be more intentional with my personal time. Spring is a great season for gardening, cooking organic vegetables, biking Cades Cove, and loving on grandchildren, family, and friends. Quiet times of prayer and a thankful heart are great for de-stressing. Nurturing our body, soul, and spirit is the best way to seize every day…and a great way to lengthen those Telomeres!

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