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Do longer telomeres raise the risk for brain cancer?

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Longer telomeres may be linked to a higher risk of brain cancer, says a new study, "Genetic and molecular epidemiology of adult glioma," published online June 8, 2014 in the journal Nature Genetics, explains the double-edged sword, that gene variants may promote overall health while increasing risk of gliomas. First in other studies, you're told to eat certain foods or do specific exercises to help lengthen your telomeres so you might live longer.

Now new genomic research led by University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) scientists reveals that two common gene variants that lead to longer telomeres, the caps on chromosome ends thought by many scientists to confer health by protecting cells from aging, also significantly increase the risk of developing the deadly brain cancers known as gliomas. On the other hand, both longer and shorter telomere length may be pathogenic, depending on the disease under consideration, the researchers explain.

The genetic variants, in two telomere-related genes known as TERT and TERC, are respectively carried by 51 percent and 72 percent of the general population. Because it is somewhat unusual for such risk-conferring variants to be carried by a majority of people, the researchers propose that in these carriers the overall cellular robustness afforded by longer telomeres trumps the increased risk of high-grade gliomas, which are invariably fatal but relatively rare cancers.

You also may wish to check out, "The San Francisco Bay Area Adult Glioma Survival Study." Or see, "UCSF, Mayo Team Discovers Genomic Variant That Increases Risk of Brain Tumors." Also noteworthy is, "Marin County's High Breast Cancer Rate May be Tied to Genetics, (August 7, 2012.)

People diagnosed with brain cancer often comment that they've never been sick in their life

"There are clearly high barriers to developing gliomas, perhaps because the brain has special protection," said Margaret Wrensch, MPH, PhD, according to the June 8, 2014 news release, "Longer telomeres linked to risk of brain cancer." Wrensch is the Stanley D. Lewis and Virginia S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research at UCSF and senior author of the new study. "It's not uncommon for people diagnosed with glioma to comment, 'I've never been sick in my life.'"

New genomic research led by UC San Francisco scientists reveals that two common gene variants that lead to longer telomeres, the caps on chromosome ends thought by many scientists to confer health by protecting cells from aging, also significantly increase the risk of developing the deadly brain cancers known as gliomas.

A genetic balancing act between risks and benefits

In a possible example of this genetic balancing act between risks and benefits of telomere length, in one dataset employed in the current study—a massive genomic analysis of telomere length in nearly 40,000 individuals conducted at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom—shorter telomeres were associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Though longer telomeres might be good for you as a whole person, reducing many health risks and slowing aging, they might also cause some cells to live longer than they're supposed to, which is one of the hallmarks of cancer," said lead author Kyle M. Walsh, PhD, according to the news release. Walsh is an assistant professor of neurological surgery and a member of the UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Program in Cancer Genetics.

In the first phase of the new study, researchers at UCSF and The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine analyzed genome-wide data from 1,644 glioma patients and 7,736 healthy control individuals, including some who took part in The Cancer Genome Atlas project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and National Human Genome Research Institute. This work confirmed a link between TERT and gliomas that had been made in previous UCSF research, and also identified TERC as a glioma risk factor for the first time.

The same variants associated with glioma risk were also associated with greater telomere length

Since both genes have known roles in regulating the action of telomerase, the enzyme that maintains telomere length, the research team combed the University of Leicester data, and they found that the same TERT and TERC variants associated with glioma risk were also associated with greater telomere length.

UCSF's Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her pioneering work on telomeres and telomerase, an area of research she began in the mid-1970s. In the ensuing decades, untangling the relationships between telomere length and disease has proved to be complex.

Individuals exposed to chronic stressful experiences have shortened telomeres

In much research, longer telomeres have been considered a sign of health—for example, Blackburn and others have shown that individuals exposed to chronic stressful experiences have shortened telomeres. But because cancer cells promote their own longevity by maintaining telomere length, drug companies have searched for drugs to specifically target and block telomerase in tumors in the hopes that cancer cells will accumulate genetic damage and die.

Walsh said the relevance of the new research should extend beyond gliomas, since TERT variants have also been implicated in lung, prostate, testicular and breast cancers, and TERC variants in leukemia, colon cancer and multiple myeloma. Variants in both TERT and TERC have been found to increase risk of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive disease of the lungs.

In some of these cases, the disease-associated variants promote longer telomeres, and in others shorter telomeres, suggesting that "both longer and shorter telomere length may be pathogenic, depending on the disease under consideration," the authors write.

You also may wish to see another study, "Exploring the association between melanoma and glioma risks," published online June 2014 in the Annals of Epidemiology. And additionally, noteworthy is the research, "Genetic Predisposition to Disease."

In addition to the Mayo Clinic and Leicester University teams, Wrensch and Walsh were joined by colleagues from University Medical Center Groningen in Germany. Other UCSF authors include Ivan V. Smirnov, PhD; Terri Rice, MPH; Helen M. Hansen; Annette M. Molinaro, PhD; Lucie S. McCoy, MPH; Paige M. Bracci, PhD, MPH; Belinda S. Cabriga; Melike Pekmezci, MD; Shichun Zheng, MD; Joseph L. Wiemels, PhD; Tarik Tihan, MD, PhD; Mitchel S. Berger, MD; Susan M. Chang, MD; Michael D. Prados, MD; and John K. Wiencke, PhD. Alexander R. Pico, PhD, of the Gladstone Institutes also took part in the research, as did members of the ENGAGE Consortium Telomere Group.

Research conducted at UCSF was supported by the National Institutes of Health; the National Brain Tumor Foundation; the UCSF Lewis Chair in Brain Tumor Research; the UCSF Robert Magnin Newman chair in Neuro-Oncology; and by donations from families and friends of John Berardi, Helen Glaser, Elvera Olsen, Raymond E. Cooper and William Martinusen.

Some say omega 3 fatty acids might help to lengthen telomeres. But where are the newer studies that back up the other older studies?

You also may wish to check out the news release, "Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell Aging." For some people interested in holistic health, it's foods and food extracts such as omega 3 fatty acids. See articles, "Omega 3 EFA lengthens telomeres in new OSU study" and "Lengthens telomeres | Dr. Daves Best Articles."

In an article called “Dietary approaches that delay age-related diseases,” fish oil was ranked against other interventions for its effectiveness based on the existing evidence a few years ago, the article explains. Some of the other interventions included calorie restriction, fruit and vegetable consumption, plant fatty acids and various vitamins including B and C. Also see the article, "Telomeres, And How To Lengthen Them - by Lawrence Wilson, MD." Or in contrast, see, "Telomere Lengthening - from News-Medical.Net." That article notes that, UCLA confirmed a small-molecule extract from a plant, that turns on the expression of telomerase in human cell.

In 2008, Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (Sausalito, CA) and colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco conducted a study of 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer on the possible effects of lifestyle changes on telomeres.

The findings of the study were published in The Lancet Oncology.

The men were asked to make several lifestyle changes, including attending a three-day retreat; eating a diet low in refined sugars and rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, with only 10 percent of calories derived from fat; and engaging in several other activities, such as moderate aerobic exercise, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.

Telomerase levels were measured at baseline, and again after three months, when researchers discovered that, in the 24 participants with sufficient data for analysis, telomerase in the blood had increased by 29 percent.

The authors commented that "The implications of this study are not limited to men with prostate cancer. Comprehensive lifestyle changes may cause improvements in telomerase and telomeres that may be beneficial to the general population as well."

In a cautionary note due to the limited nature of the pilot study, the authors indicated the link between lifestyle changes and increases in telomerase activity was reported as "significant association rather than inferring causation" until wider studies are completed.

The diseases of shortened telomeres also include Age Related Macular Degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Heart disease, and more. Taken as whole fish oil won hands down and that was thousands of studies ago, according to the article, "Lengthens telomeres | Dr. Daves Best Articles."

Resveratrol

On the other hand, resveratrol also is said to reduce the rate at which telomeres shorten from rapid aging. Check out the article, "Nutrition Makes Anti-Aging Possible: Secrets of Your Telomeres." Which foods are best to lengthen telomeres? You may wish to check out Dr. Stephen Sinatra's June 24, 2013 blog article, "Why Resveratrol Truly is 'Magic' for Your Health."

Foods that are said to keep short telomeres from getting shorter focus on fruits and vegetables and other plant extracts such as resveratrol that make up a part of balanced nutrition. In some research studies, fish oil also was named in various articles and studies.

Can you grow longer telomeres? They are the protective caps on your chromosomes that keep a cell's DNA stable, but shorten with age.

The shorter your telomeres are, the faster you age and experience the diseases of aging. The longer the telomere, the healthier the cell. After age 50, women's telomeres may grow longer or not get short as fast as men's over age 50. Short telomeres may signal shorter lifespan. But scientists are researching how to slow down the shortening of your telomeres or even grow them longer and possibly extend lifespan. Also see, Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Shorter Telomere Length.

You'll see various nutrition ads touting how supplements or foods can lengthen the caps on your chromosomes. You could help yourself by researching whether nutrition can influence your telomere length with such supplements as resveratrol and pterostilbene that mimic caloric restriction.

Recently studies explore not only foods, but also how stress in childhood could shorten your telomeres, for example looking at childhood abuse. The question for researchers is whether childhood abuse or a bad marriage shortens the telomeres that speed up your aging process. Which shortens the telomeres more: stress or unbalanced nutrition?

Research continues on this notion, as no final conclusion has been in the news yet as to how to grow your telomeres longer after they've been shortened by time, wear, or stress. According to the Nov. 21, 2009 BBC article, "Childhood abuse speeds up body's aging process," physical or emotional abuse in childhood may shorten telomeres and speed up the aging process later in life. Chromosomes have telomeres at the end of each strand.

As you get older, the telomeres grow shorter.

But if you were abused as a child or perceived emotional issues as abuse, do your telomeres get shorter, thereby causing you to age faster with a shorter life span? That's what the new study is trying to find out. The Brown University study suggests that emotional or physical abuse as a child could speed up the body's aging process.

A team from Brown University focused on telomeres, the protective caps on the chromosomes that keep a cell's DNA stable but shorten with age, according to the BBC article. What the study actually looked at were the telomeres of 31 people. Each person reported childhood abuse. Scientists wanted to found out whether the telomeres shortened faster, thereby speeding up cells' ageing process.

But before you reach for nutritional supplements that are supposed to keep your telomeres from shortening too quickly, the experts are warning that the study needs to be repeated on a larger scale. Thirty-one people is a small number. You can read more about the study in the journal, Biological Psychiatry. The lead researcher is Dr. Audrey Tyrka.

Before you jump to any conclusions about how fast your telomeres are shortening due to something you can't help that happened in early childhood, the studies will have to look at early developmental experiences. What the scientists were trying to find out is whether childhood abuse or even if you perceive emotional stress as abuse could have profound effects on biology. The question is can perceived emotions or physical abuse influence cellular mechanisms at a very basic level?

What are telomeres?

They are short sections of specialized DNA that sit at the ends of all our chromosomes. Think of a telomere as the plastic tip at the end of your shoelace that keeps the fabric from fraying. The study is trying to find out whether childhood abuse increases your risk for illness. They have been compared to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling.

How you actually age is that when cells divide over time the telomeres get shorter. When they get so short that they can't reproduce, you die. If you expose yourself to toxins such as smoking and radiation, the telomeres shorten at a faster rate. Tell that to your dentist when he/she insists on frequent full-head X-rays on older machines.

It's not only childhood abuse that might shorten telomeres, but also psychological and psychiatric issues. Basically, childhood trauma can shorten your telomeres and your life. But can a bad marriage do the same to adults? It's how you perceive the trauma. What happens is that if you have an emotional trauma in early childhood, you might also store up problems for the future that are similar in nature.

Science is trying to find a way for you to override your bad genes with food, nutrients, and removing toxic substances such as plasticizers from your body.

Okay, not every one your bad genes can be fixed. But certainly a healthy diet may have some benefit on some of your genetic variations. Your genes that have those little tags and switches that sometimes healthy foods can be of help to turn on the good genes and turn off the bad genes. Other influences besides food, plant extracts, and other nutrients, are sometimes lifestyle changes such as walking 45 minutes several days a week. Then there are holistic exercises such as Qi Gong or Tai Chi for balance.

Nutritional epigenetics

How you do override your bad genes is by protecting all your genes with antioxidants and oils that have gene repair abilities. Switching on the good genes that repair other genes is part of the science of epigenetics.

To protect your genes, first look to fish oil containing enough DHA. Why? Because DHA helps to repair 504 genes. But the DHA needs to be balanced with EPA to work. Is the vitamin consultant at your health food store experienced enough to guide you?

What about the nutritionist you consult at your HMO? Who can you turn to? Start reading for self-empowerment to at least know how various nutrients affects your body. Next, do you know whether you are getting enough zinc, but not too much because zinc is in charge of 33 gene?

You can talk to your health care provider to find out if you have a deficiency of vitamin D3. Some nutritionists suggest vitamin D3, in its natural form, not the synthetic D2. This information may be because vitamin D3 communicates with more than 200 genes. How much do you need? 1,000mgs? Less?

What does your body require to override bad gene tags that need to be switched off while the good gene tags are switched on? Find out whether you have a genetic variation that makes it worse if you take vitamin D supplements perhaps by calcifying your arteries. It's important to tailor your supplements to the way your body handles them, or get your nutrition in the active form from foods.

Can you grow longer telomeres?

The shorter your telomeres are, the faster you age and experience the diseases of aging. The longer the telomere, the healthier the cell. After age 50, women's telomeres may grow longer or not get short as fast as men's over age 50. Short telomeres may signal shorter lifespan. But scientists are researching how to slow down the shortening of your telomeres or even grow them longer and possibly extend lifespan.

Research continues on this notion, as no final conclusion has been in the news yet as to how to grow your telomeres longer after they've been shortened by time, wear, or stress. According to the Nov. 21, 2009 BBC article, "Childhood abuse speeds up body's aging process," physical or emotional abuse in childhood may shorten telomeres and speed up the aging process later in life. Chromosomes have telomeres at the end of each strand.

As you get older, the telomeres grow shorter. But if you were abused as a child or perceived emotional issues as abuse, do your telomeres get shorter, thereby causing you to age faster with a shorter life span? That's what the new study is trying to find out. The Brown University study suggests that emotional or physical abuse as a child could speed up the body's aging process.

A team from Brown University focused on telomeres, the protective caps on the chromosomes that keep a cell's DNA stable but shorten with age, according to the BBC article. What the study actually looked at were the telomeres of 31 people. Each person reported childhood abuse. Scientists wanted to found out whether the telomeres shortened faster, thereby speeding up cells' ageing process.

But before you reach for nutritional supplements that are supposed to keep your telomeres from shortening too quickly, the experts are warning that the study needs to be repeated on a larger scale. Thirty-one people is a small number. You can read more about the study in the journal, Biological Psychiatry. The lead researcher is Dr. Audrey Tyrka.

Before you jump to any conclusions about how fast your telomeres are shortening due to something you can't help that happened in early childhood, the studies will have to look at early developmental experiences. What the scientists were trying to find out is whether childhood abuse or even if you perceive emotional stress as abuse could have profound effects on biology. The question is can perceived emotions or physical abuse influence cellular mechanisms at a very basic level?

You could help yourself by researching whether nutrition can influence your telomere length with such supplements as resveratrol and pterostilbene that mimic caloric restruction. But what this study looked at was not so much what might reverse the effects on your telomeres of childhood stress and abuse, but whether the abuse itself shortens the telomeres that speed up your aging process.

Short sections of specialized DNA that cap the chromosomes

Telomeres are short sections of specialized DNA that sit at the ends of all our chromosomes. Think of a telomere as the plastic tip at the end of your shoelace that keeps the fabric from fraying. The study is trying to find out whether childhood abuse increases your risk for illness. They have been compared to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling.

How you actually age is that when cells divide over time the telomeres get shorter. When they get so short that they can't reproduce, you die. If you expose yourself to toxins such as smoking and radiation, the telomeres shorten at a faster rate. Tell that to your dentist when he/she insists on frequent full-head X-rays on older machines.

It's not only childhood abuse that might shorten telomeres, but also psychological and psychiatric issues. Basically, childhood trauma can shorten your telomeres and your life. But can a bad marriage do the same to adults? It's how you perceive the trauma. What happens is that if you have an emotional trauma in early childhood, you might also store up problems for the future that are similar in nature.

Childhood stress and short telomeres

The study worked with healthy people without psychiatric problems who reported abuse in childhood. But before you jump to conclusions, a lot more study is needed to find the specific impact of childhood abuse, emotional stress, or trauma on how fast your cells age. Scientists already found that chronic stress shortens telomeres, but how much, how fast? For further information, also see, "Childhood abuse speeds up body's ageing process," or "Mutant genes 'key to long life."

The big question is, if your telomeres are speeding up because of early emotional trauma, stress, or abuse, what can you do about it? Are there nutritional programs, supplements, or dietary regimens and relaxation exercises that can reverse and restore your telomeres so you can stay free longer from the diseases of rapid aging?

Science is trying to find a way for you to override your bad genes with food, nutrients, and removing toxic substances such as plasticizers from your body.

Okay, not every one your bad genes can be fixed. But certainly many of your genetic variations that have those little tags and switches that you can turn on and off with food, nutrients, and sometimes lifestyles such as walking 45 minutes several days a week.

How you do override your bad genes is by protecting all your genes with antioxidants and oils that have gene repair abilities. Switching on the good genes that repair other genes is part of the science of epigenetics.

To protect your genes, first look to fish oil containing enough DHA. Why? Because DHA helps to repair 504 genes. But the DHA needs to be balanced with EPA to work. Is the vitamin consultant at your health food store experienced enough to guide you?

What about the nutritionist you consult at your HMO? Who can you turn to? Start reading for self-empowerment to at least know how various nutrients affects your body. Next, do you know whether you are getting enough zinc, but not too much because zinc is in charge of 33 gene?

You can talk to your health care provider to find out if you have a deficiency of vitamin D3. Some nutritionists suggest vitamin D3, in its natural form, not the synthetic D2. This information may be because vitamin D3 communicates with more than 200 genes. How much do you need? 1,000mgs? Less?

What does your body require to override bad gene tags that need to be switched off while the good gene tags are switched on? Find out whether you have a genetic variation that makes it worse if you take vitamin D supplements perhaps by calcifying your arteries. It's important to tailor your supplements to the way your body handles them, or get your nutrition in the active form from foods.

How can you help yourself to override your bad gene variations?

Whatever gets rid of all that plastic in our bodies. It's glutathione (Recancostat) because it binds to some toxic chemicals in your body and flushes them into your liver, gall bladder, and colon, finally removing them from your body.

Plastics show up 10,000 times more than other pollutants in our bodies, even more than heavy metals. And there's a pathway that rids your body of plastics. Your body makes glucuronic acid that catches nasty chemicals like glutathione, where they end up in your color or urine and are eliminated as waste.

Intestinal enzymes can force you to re-absorb toxic chemicals back into your body

These are some ways to override bad stuff. But look out for enzymes made by your intestines that force you to re-absorb toxic chemicals back into your body. Guess what makes these enzymes in your gut? It's red meat eaten in large quantities or in diets that constantly emphasize red meat, especially char-broiled red meat.

This enzyme made by your gut after you eat lots of red meat is called beta-glucuronidase. So now you need a safety net, and your body makes D-glucaraic acid that stops your enzyme called B-glucuronidase from putting toxic chemicals back into your bloodstream.

D-glucaraic acid is an enzyme made by your gut after you eat lots of red meat

The information on this you'll find in a lot greater detail in Total Wellness newsletter, April 2009. But the point of this is that there are nutrients and foods out there that are simple, wholesome, and cost-efficient that have the ability to override a lot of your bad genes and reduce the risk in them at least while you're eating right.

Your health care professional can let you know whether you need vitamin B12 or a multiple vitamin in a sublingual form you can absorb better as you age, or whole foods, or maybe CO-Q10 or magnesium, or even Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA balanced with Omega 9 found in avocados and a little Omega 6 found in extra virgin olive oil. Or maybe you need a swig of Kyolic liquid aged garlic to get rid of the H. pylori in your stomach that is giving you acid reflux.

Only you know when you ask the right questions of your physician, and then get a second opinion from someone trained in complementary, alternative, integrative, and preventive medicine. The answer is out there. You need to find out all the possibilities existing right now to help you override any genetic variations that can be helped with nutrition or lifestyle changes.

Read the latest findings on why you need more (and how much) vitamin D3 to prevent heart disease, calcifications, autoimmune chronic diseases, diabetes, and recurrent infections. See the article, Dobnig, H. " Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality," Archives of Internal Medicine, 168; 12:1330-49, 2008.

Many nutritionists recommend about 1,000 mgs daily, but the dose you take is up to you and your consultation with your own doctor. But be aware of what is written and researched out there and find out how it applies to you as an individual because we all have different needs and many variations in our genes. When you change your diet, do you change your genes?

How do you switch on the good genes and switch off the bad genes when you change your foods? Epigentics and nutrigenomics are fields of study that look at how your body switches the tags on genes on or off. When you're looking for hope, start by looking for validation. It works.

One in eight people in the U.S.A has at least two of the conditions that pose a serious risk leading to heart disease.

According to the April 26, 2010 Los Angeles Times article by Thomas H. Maugh II, "Nearly Half in U.S. have heart disease risks," high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes are plaguing Americans, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This article also appears in the April 27, 2010 Sacramento Bee on the front page under "Health." See the L.A. Times article of April 26, 2010, The Heart Disease Trifecta.

Is it the food Americans eat, a sedentary lifestyle, or a perfectionist boss or spouse that creates the symptoms that lead to heart disease? Or is it 70 percent lifestyle and 30 percent genetic? See the April 27, 2010 article "Paging Dr. Gupta," CNN, Heart disease risk heightened in nearly half of Americans.

One out of eight adults, or 13 percent, have two of these conditions, and 3 percent have all three, the CDC said in its analysis of people over 20 years old from 1999 to 2006. Forty-five percent have at least one of the three. Is the cause based on how individuals perceive stress? Some people suffer more stress than others under the same environment or even under the same diet.

Why do African American individuals have a greater likelihood of having at least one of these three conditions than non-Hispanic white people and Mexican Americans, according to the latest CDC study? White Americans more commonly have higher cholesterol than African Americans and Mexican Americans. As for diabetes, African Americans and Mexican Americans have a higher prevalence than white individuals.

Can work-related stress seriously affect your health?

Listening to the reviews of former employees sometimes helps if there are large numbers of former employees with the same conclusion about a specific boss's personality. Should bosses get reviewed online in the same manner as certain professors? It's how you perceive your boss or work environment or even co-workers that controls how you experience stress and how it may affect your health.

It's a controversial issue with legal ramifications that's open to defamation of character if former employees review their bosses like some people review films, books, or plays online. On one hand it's an opinion. On the other hand, it's defamation if the boss loses his job, clients, or business resulting in loss of income, home, and family. It's a very touchy question. Should a boss that 'gave' people heart disease be reviewed online? It's one person's opinion with no proof.

Again, it's a controversial issue with legal ramifications. Can someone 'give' you heart disease? Or is it how you perceive the stress caused by that person that gives you the heart disease risks such as high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes? And is how you perceive and experience stress genetic or learned from your early childhood experiences?

Most people know about the books on the market on reversing heart disease risks by changing diet and activities, such as more vegetables and fruits, more green juices from fresh vegetables such as the leafy greens, more raw plant foods, some supplements, and dark purple, red, and orange fruits such as blueberries and blackberries, even dried goji berries.

Fish oil and your telomere size

Other books tout fish oil to increase the length of your cells' telomeres and balance your omega 3 fatty acids with your omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids. See the April 18, 2010 Sacramento Bee article, Integrative Medicine: Yet another strong hook for fish oil.

According to that article, eating oily fish like salmon or taking fish-oil supplements can lower blood triglycerides, raise HDL ("good") cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, protect you from heart disease risks, and improve your mood.

Studies focus on how fish oil helps slow the process of macular degeneration in the elderly. Fish oil may also be beneficial in preventing cancer. According to the Sacramento Bee article, Integrative Medicine: Yet another strong hook for fish oil, the latest studies suggest that one of the ways fish oils keep us healthy is by protecting the parts of our chromosomes known as telomeres.

Some worry that fish oil may increase the stroke rate about 5%. The best way to find out more information is to see whether your blood type, blood thickness, or thin blood predisposes you to any risk. For example, if your blood is already thin, how much more will fish oil thin your blood?

Telomeres are caps of genetic material on the ends of our chromosomes

If your telomeres are longer, you can bet they can mark the youthful quality of your cells. The longer the telomere, the healthier the cell. Every time one of our cells divides, a small portion of that telomere is lost. Eventually, telomere shrinkage leads to cell aging and death.

So you want to increase the length of your telomeres or at least slow down the shortening process. Fish oil helps here and so does to a degree, resveratrol or resveratrol combined with blueberry extract, called pterostilbene. But it's fish oil being studied in the research mentioned in the Sacramento Bee article, Integrative Medicine: Yet another strong hook for fish oil as to how omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil help to keep the telomeres from shrinking.

Only the incidence of heart disease risks may not be caused by only nutritional deficiencies or a sedentary lifestyle. There may be another factor--working for a perfectionist boss or a bully boss or living with a spouse or other relatives or friends that are perfectionists or bullies.

How can you help yourself to override your bad gene variations?

Whatever gets rid of all that plastic in our bodies. It's glutathione (Recancostat) because it binds to some toxic chemicals in your body and flushes them into your liver, gall bladder, and colon, finally removing them from your body.

Plastics show up 10,000 times more than other pollutants in our bodies, even more than heavy metals. And there's a pathway that rids your body of plastics. Your body makes glucuronic acid that catches nasty chemicals like glutathione, where they end up in your color or urine and are eliminated as waste.

Intestinal enzymes can force you to re-absorb toxic chemicals back into your body

These are some ways to override bad stuff. But look out for enzymes made by your intestines that force you to re-absorb toxic chemicals back into your body. Guess what makes these enzymes in your gut? It's red meat eaten in large quantities or in diets that constantly emphasize red meat, especially char-broiled red meat.

This enzyme made by your gut after you eat lots of red meat is called beta-glucuronidase. So now you need a safety net, and your body makes D-glucaraic acid that stops your enzyme called B-glucuronidase from putting toxic chemicals back into your bloodstream.

The information on this you'll find in a lot greater detail in Total Wellness newsletter, April 2009. But the point of this is that there are nutrients and foods out there that are simple, wholesome, and cost-efficient that have the ability to override a lot of your bad genes and reduce the risk in them at least while you're eating right.

Your health care professional can let you know whether you need vitamin B12 or a multiple vitamin in a sublingual form you can absorb better as you age, or whole foods, or maybe CO-Q10 or magnesium, or even Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA balanced with Omega 9 found in avocados and a little Omega 6 found in extra virgin olive oil. Or maybe you need a swig of Kyolic liquid aged garlic to get rid of the H. pylori in your stomach that is giving you acid reflux.

Only you know when you ask the right questions of your physician, and then get a second opinion from someone trained in complementary, alternative, integrative, and preventive medicine. The answer is out there. You need to find out all the possibilities existing right now to help you override any genetic variations that can be helped with nutrition or lifestyle changes.

Read the latest findings on why you need more (and how much) vitamin D3 to prevent heart disease, calcifications, autoimmune chronic diseases, diabetes, and recurrent infections. See the article, Dobnig, H. " Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality," Archives of Internal Medicine, 168; 12:1330-49, 2008.

Many nutritionists recommend about 1,000 mgs daily, but the dose you take is up to you and your consultation with your own doctor. But be aware of what is written and researched out there and find out how it applies to you as an individual because we all have different needs and many variations in our genes. When you change your diet, do you change your genes?

How do you switch on the good genes and switch off the bad genes when you change your foods? Epigentics and nutrigenomics are fields of study that look at how your body switches the tags on genes on or off. When you're looking for hope, start by looking for validation. It works.

One in eight people in the U.S.A has at least two of the conditions that pose a serious risk leading to heart disease.

According to the April 26, 2010 Los Angeles Times article by Thomas H. Maugh II, "Nearly Half in U.S. have heart disease risks," high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes are plaguing Americans, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This article also appears in the April 27, 2010 Sacramento Bee on the front page under "Health." See the L.A. Times article of April 26, 2010, The Heart Disease Trifecta.

Is it the food Americans eat, a sedentary lifestyle, or a perfectionist boss or spouse that creates the symptoms that lead to heart disease? Or is it 70 percent lifestyle and 30 percent genetic? See the April 27, 2010 article "Paging Dr. Gupta," CNN, Heart disease risk heightened in nearly half of Americans.

One out of eight adults, or 13 percent, have two of these conditions, and 3 percent have all three, the CDC said in its analysis of people over 20 years old from 1999 to 2006. Forty-five percent have at least one of the three. Is the cause based on how individuals perceive stress? Some people suffer more stress than others under the same environment or even under the same diet.

Why do African American individuals have a greater likelihood of having at least one of these three conditions than non-Hispanic white people and Mexican Americans, according to the latest CDC study? White Americans more commonly have higher cholesterol than African Americans and Mexican Americans. As for diabetes, African Americans and Mexican Americans have a higher prevalence than white individuals.

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