Telomeres are dynamic chromosome-end structures that serve as guardians of genome stability. They are known to be one of the major determinants of aging and longevity in higher mammals. Studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between telomere length and life expectancy, stress, DNA damage, and onset of aging-related diseases. This review discusses the most important factors that influence our telomeres. Various genetic and environmental factors such as diet, physical activity, obesity, and stress are known to influence health and longevity as well as telomere dynamics. Individuals currently have the opportunity to modulate the dynamics of their aging and health span, monitor these processes, and even make future projections by following their telomere dynamics. As telomeres react to positive as well as negative health factors, we should be able to directly influence our telomere metabolism, slow their deterioration, and diminish our aging and perhaps extend our life and health span.
Keywords: Dietary restriction; Human aging; Longevity; Telomeres.
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