Identification of Telomerase-activating Blends From Naturally Occurring Compounds

Altern Ther Health Med. 2016 Jun;22 Suppl 2:6-14.


Context • Telomeres are repeated deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences (TTAGGG) that are located on the 5' ends of chromosomes, and they control the life span of eukaryotic cells. Compelling evidence has shown that the length of a person's life is dictated by the limited number of times that a human cell can divide. The enzyme telomerase has been shown to bind to and extend the length of telomeres. Thus, strategies for activating telomerase may help maintain telomere length and, thus, may lead to improved health during aging. Objective • The current study intended to investigate the effects of several natural compounds on telomerase activity in an established cell model of telomere shortening (ie, IMR90 cells). Design • The research team designed an in vitro study. Setting • The study was conducted at Roskamp Institute in Sarasota, FL, USA. Intervention • The tested single compounds were (1) α-lipoic acid, (1) green tea extract, (2) dimethylaminoethanol L-bitartrate (DMAE L-bitartrate), (3) N-acetyl-L-cysteine hydrochloride (HCL), (4) chlorella powder, (5) L-carnosine, (6) vitamin D3, (7) rhodiola PE 3%/1%, (8) glycine, (9) French red wine extract, (10) chia seed extract, (11) broccoli seed extract, and (12) Astragalus (TA-65). The compounds were tested singly and as blends. Outcome Measures • Telomerase activity for single compounds and blends of compounds was measured by the TeloTAGGG telomerase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The 4 most potent blends were investigated for their effects on cancer-cell proliferation and for their potential effects on the cytotoxicity and antiproliferative activity of a chemotherapeutic agent, the topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan. The benefits of 6 population doublings (PDs) were measured for the single compounds, and the 4 blends were compared to 3 concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Results • Certain of the compounds increased telomerase activity, and combinations of the top-ranking compounds were able to increase telomerase activity significantly, from 51% to 290%, relative to controls. Conclusions • The results have confirmed that many naturally occurring compounds hold the potential to activate telomerase and that certain of those compounds have demonstrated synergistic effects to produce more potent blends. Given the relationship between telomere shortening, aging, and the decline of tissue function, it is reasonable to hypothesize that such telomerase-activating blends may have health-promoting benefits, particularly in relation to aging-associated conditions. Further investigation of such blends in human studies that are designed to evaluate safety and the effects on telomere length are thus warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorella
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Telomerase / drug effects*
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / drug effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Telomerase