SpectraCell Laboratories, the nation’s leading nutritional testing laboratory, now offers the ONLY commercially available telomere analysis in the United States. Telomere testing is an innovative cellular aging test that measures a person’s biological age in comparison to their chronological age.
Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that cap genetic material and serve as protective buffers that keep the ends of chromosomes from becoming attached to each other or rearranging. They are often compared to the caps at the ends of shoelaces. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere gets shorter, eventually causing cell death once the telomere attrition has reach its maximum. Measuring telomere length in human lymphocytes is an indicator of cellular aging, and research demonstrates that shortened telomeres are responsible for many of the normal processes of aging.
“Telomeres have been a hot topic for several years now because their link with aging is so strong. Doctors have shown such a persistent interest in telomere testing, especially those whose practices are oriented to anti-aging, that we knew we should invest in it. It’s really cutting edge.” says SpectraCell CEO, William “Chip” Stanberry. “We strive to offer the most informative and innovative diagnostic tests, and our new Telomere Testing is exactly that.”
The phenomenon of cellular aging was first noted by Professor Lenhard Hayflick in 1961. He discovered that cells cannot divide beyond a specific number of times, a phenomenon called the Hayflick Limit, which we now know is triggered by the cell’s telomeres shortening below a specific threshold. When cells can no longer divide, conditions associated with advanced aging appear.
Telomere length is affected by many factors: age, genetics, lifestyle, disease and pharmaceuticals. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and dementia have strong associations with shorter telomeres. But telomere attrition can be mitigated significantly with aggressive lifestyle therapies as well as certain medications. Since deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamins C, D and E can shorten telomeres, it is important to correct such deficiencies. Oxidative stress is another major culprit in telomere shortening so reducing inflammation and shoring up the body’s antioxidant defenses is critical for telomere maintenance. A sedentary lifestyle and excess weight also negatively affects telomere length.
SpectraCell’s test measures a person’s telomere length. A control gene is also measured and compared to the telomere length, and then results are stated as a ratio. A higher ratio means a longer telomere, and younger biological age. The Telomere Score is also compared to other individuals in the same chronological age group.
This automated test is based on Quantitative Real Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology and only requires 1 mL of whole blood. When a sample is received at SpectraCell’s Houston laboratory, the white blood cells are broken apart, the DNA is extracted and the telomeric DNA is amplified into a measurable signal. This signal is compared to a control gene of known length and a Telomere Score is generated. The price of the Telomere Test, which is not yet covered by insurance, is approximately $350. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.
About SpectraCell Laboratories
SpectraCell (spectracell.com) is a CLIA accredited laboratory that services healthcare providers nationwide by providing advanced clinical testing.
SpectraCell’s micronutrient tests provide an innovative assessment of a patient’s nutritional status. Unlike traditional serum, hair and urine tests, SpectraCell’s micronutrient tests measure how an individual’s white blood cells respond in specific nutritional environments. As a result, individual differences in metabolism, age, genetics, health, prescription drug usage, absorption rate and other factors are taken into consideration. Over 31 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants are evaluated.
SpectraCell’s Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ is the most advanced lipoprotein test available. Unlike traditional cholesterol tests, SpectraCell’s LPP™ directly measures both the size and number of several classes of lipoprotein particles providing an accurate assessment of this independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.