I hope you've been enjoying these videos from my good friend Dr. Joel Baumgartner over the past couple of months. I appreciate him taking the time to sit down with us and discuss several of the main health concerns we all face in our lives, and I'm hopeful that you've learned some good lessons that you are able to apply in your own health and wellness regimen.
Today, Dr. Baumgartner talks about what he calls "Star Wars" medicine, which is actually a Nobel Prize winning discovery in the field of anti-aging medicine (Dr. Baumgartner's specialty). This finding isn't some far-out, unrealistic, untouchable phantom. It's an enzyme that you and I can utilize right now to help us maintain our health and vitality. Let's hear more from Dr. Baumgartner...
All right, now today we're a little bit cutting edge, we get a little bit futuristic. It's going to be kind of Star Wars medicine. So, medicine year by year, it's amazing, it's a fun field to be in because things are changing so fast that we're actually making people healthier by some of the things that we're doing, increasing longevity. But it's also increasing people's vitality and youth. It's one thing everyone is kind of looking for when they come to see a physician like me who specializes in regenerative procedures and anti-aging is, "What can I do to be healthier to live longer, and to make my joints and stuff last longer?"
So, it's a new finding a few years ago, it's a Nobel Prize-winning finding that there's an enzyme called telomerase. We've known for years that there's this thing called telomere. You know, back in biochemistry and histology back in Med School, we all learned about this thing called a telomere. So, what it is, if anybody knows anything about DNA, we all have DNA. It's kind of like our biological mapping of what we're going to become in our lives. DNA is a double wound helix. It's these two strands coiled together.
At the very end of those strands is just a little teeny cap, it's like the little cap that protects your shoelaces, it's kind of a hard little thing so your shoelaces don't unroll. It's the same thing; it's a little protective cap on the top of your DNA. And what we're finding is that cap length, how long that cap is, is a determination of how healthy that DNA strand is going to be.
So, every cell in our body, of course, has DNA that encodes what that cell is supposed to do, what it's supposed to become, how does it function, does it metabolize right? And as we age that telomere becomes shorter and shorter and shorter. And as that telomere gets closer to the DNA, the DNA gets to start to unwind, which causes cellular death, which causes cells to mutate. It causes your body not to work efficiently which can lead to fatigue. It causes your skin to start to sag; it causes your body basically to break down.
So the Star Wars medicine is, if we can do something to get the telomere to stay longer, by increasing that cap, that's going to be amazing. So, they found this enzyme called telomerase. What telomerase does, it actually, helps to extend the length of that telomere and protect the health of that DNA. So, recently we found that there is different things that actually affect the length of that telomere, that actually have a positive effect on telomerase to increase the length of that protective cap.
So, it's a really exciting time in medicine because now we're finding that we can give people different supplements that, will increase their telomere length that are going to help with longevity, but also quality of life. You know, who wants to live to be 100 if they're sick and unhealthy and can't hike.
So, other things that you can do if you want to do just practical things for your telomeres is you can exercise. They're finding studies, and I'm actually involved in a study right now, we're going to compare telomere length of people to don't exercise to people who are fit and exercising.
What we're hypothesizing is that people that are exercising are actually increasing the length of their telomere as well. Another thing they have found is vitamin D may have an effect on the telomerase, so there's different things we can do from supplementation to some of the Star Wars type medicine we like to call it, which is amazing, to just being healthy, eating right, and exercising.