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Telomerase Enzyme in Skin Care Q: Hello and thank you again for all your wonderful answers to our questions. I have been reading an article on Telomerase Enzyme.......hope I'm spelling all this half way close to correctly. Adding this to skin care is supposed to have some vivid positive effects according to the info. It explains; and I quote "telomeres extend off the cap of our DNA.....at end of each telomere is a ribonucleoprotein {?} complex known as telomerase enzyme....{clock that regulates aging}." unquote. I gather this ingredient/formulation is supposed to stop aging in its tracks so to speak or deter it from occuring or some such. This sounds very spooky ......and perhaps even a little dangerous. So, of course, I'm curious. smile What can you tell us about Telomerase Enzyme? I've read a lot on the goodness of plant enzymes, but this is a whole other ball game I think. .I thought if an ingredient claimed to alter something it had to be classified as a 'drug' . Something as significant as altering skin aging to the degree indicated in the article seems to place this into that category. This was written by a well known, well established [noted for scientific research individual]. I think I would be very apprehensive and be thinking that trying to 'fool' Mother Nature might have unexpected results.. Some of the 'new and latest advances' in anti aging skin care sound almost frightening when you read about them.....but knowing all of this, I am still curious. smile I love using all natural and that isn't likely to change for me, but I still like to keep up with what all else is going on in the other end of the spectrum...........as shame upon me, but there are SOME synthetically-derived items that are actually very good......this may not be one of them; however. smile..and I suppose this is synthetically derived? If not, I think it might be really scary maybe to learn HOW they come by it........thanks in advance for your reply.
Jeflin

A: Dear Jeflin,
Your curiosity and enthusiasm are contagious in the most positive way! Don't be shy about them smile
Here is a little bit about telomeres and telomerase:
You know already that genes are organized into chromosomes, and chromozomes are paired. At the end of each chromosome, there is this little 'cap' of genetic material that is called telomere. What scientists have discovered is that with the division of cells - which is how we remain alive, because the cells aren't as long-lived - the telomeres progressively get smaller. When they eventually disappear, the genes below them are exposed and changes and deterioration ensues - at different levels and with varied intensity obviously. This has been linked to aging and disease.
By further research, it has been discovered that there are cells in which telomeres don't degrade. These cells are embryonic stem cells (so that the embryo can produce a human being at an accelerated speed of cell division) and cancer cells, which may kill a human being through their own accelerated growth impeded by nothing.

Then comes telomerase. This is an enzyme which prevents the shrinking of telomeres. The embryonic stem cells and cancer cells have a lot of it. Normal human body less and less as it ages.

The hopes are that research will not only prove that the use of telomerase therapy can prevent or cure disease, but also reverse aging and prolong human life a great deal longer. To create an effective therapy will be difficult enough, but to predict possible side effects at this point is simply impossible, even for those at the epicentre of the most intensive research, I would suspect.

Using telomerase in a cosmetic cream is doubtful. Enzymes are proteins, which means that they are very large molecules. They can't be absorbed through the skin. The current cosmetic use of enzymes utilizes their effect on the skin surface, as exfoliants.

I have come across a product line that promotes a supplement with a supposed activator of the telomerase (extracted from a plant). Could that work? Possibly. How much? I don't think that the odds are any different than with other ingredients we have discussed before.

I hope that this helps. And I fully understand your uneasiness about this matter. Even the most precise work can be clumsy when dealing with complex matters of which we understand only fragments.

My best,

Ivana K.




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