What is “Shoelaces” in the body?
Red parts in Fig. 1 play the same role as plastic parts of shoelaces which bind the shoelaces not to be loosened. These red parts are called Telomer.
Young people have the red parts clearly, but as we age, they become very small. It is like the plastic part of a shoelace becomes short (Fig. 2).
It is said that telomer becomes short as we age and is related to our life span.
It has started to be reported that telomer becoming short is related to various diseases.
Cancer and Telomer
People whose telomer is short have 3 to 4 times more risk to have cancer. But if you can keep your telomer long, the risk of cancer occurrence becomes low and it can be effective to prevent cancer.
Hardening of blood vessels and Telomer
Both people who have hardening of blood vessels and people who have died due to hardening of blood vessels have short telomer. So it is important to maintain the length of telomer in order to prevent hardening of blood vessels which causes serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Dementia and Telomer
If telomer is short, the function of the brain becomes low and sea horse of the brain is shrinking. So if you can maintain the length of telomer, you can stop the decline of brain function and prevent forgetfulness.
How can we maintain the length of Telomer?
According to a recent research of UCLA in CA, it has come to light that a method slows down the speed that telomer becomes short and maintain the length of telomer.
Why does life span become short if telomer becomes short?
Our body consists of about 60 trillion pieces of cell. Every cell has 46 “shoelaces”. If telomer, plastic part of a shoelace, becomes short, the tip of the shoelace becomes loosened, and our body condition worsens and our life span becomes short. Even if one of 46 telomers is damaged, our body condition worsens.
What makes telomer short?
Telomer becomes short by happening of cell division. After a few hundred times of cell division, telomer becomes as short as the shoelace is not loosened, and telomer transmits a signal to stop cell division. Once cell division stops, old cells stay while new cells are not created and aging is progressed.
Shortening of telomer happens to everybody, but some people’s telomer is long while some people’s telomer is short even at the same age.
One of the causes of shortening of telomer is a way of thinking.
If you think about things negatively, the speed your telomer becomes short is fast.
It is considered that people who think about thing negatively have more stress than people who think about things positively, and the stress makes the speed telomer becomes short faster.
There is more dangerous negative-thinking which makes the shortening of telomer much faster.
That is pessimistic view about the future which has not happened yet by predicting a bad result.
An example is like before you have a physical examination, you predict that some serious diseases will be found in the physical examination.
The length of telomer is measured by blood test.
4 women with the age of 60s were checked for the length of telomer.
2 women who had more positive thinking had longer telomer than the guide line and 2 other women who had more negative thinking had shorter telomer than the guide line.
One of the 2 negative women is always anxious about the future of her son.
The method expected to slow down the speed telomer becomes short
That is Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is listening to the sound of breathing.
The Method of Mindfulness
1. Sit straightening your back.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Put your hands on wherever you feel comfortable.
4. Breathe as you always do.
5. Listen to the sound of your breath. Just focus on breathing in and breathing out. Even if worldly thoughts come across your mind, you don’t need to mind it. Just accept the worldly thoughts and focus on your breath again.
6. Do this for 3 minutes, using a timer.
It is recommended to do this for multiple times a day.
Why does focusing your attention on your breath lead to controlling the length of telomer?
Because Mindfulness reduces stress which a cause of shortening telomer. Focusing on your current breathing pushes out your negative thoughts like your past mistakes or anticipating your bad future from your mind. If you practice Mindfulness every day, you will be able to focus on the present moment, leading to stress reduction.
The above 60s woman whose telomer was shorter than the average of 60s tried Mindfulness 4 to 5 times a day for 6 days. Before the verification, her stress level was high (Sympathetic nerve was more active than para-sympathetic nerve). After the 6 days Mindfulness, her stress level became lower (Para-sympathetic nerve was more active than sympathetic nerve). So stress that was the cause of shortening telomer was reduced.