Telomerase Activation: The Path to Eternal Youth?

The Empire of today’s China has existed for more than 5,000 years and produced numerous emperors, whose life stories seem very mystical and heroic today. Including the “Yellow Emperor”, whose empire is estimated to have existed in the Mythical Era around 3,000 BC.

In later times, the countries of modern China were divided into separate kingdoms. The king of Qin, Ying Zheng, united these kingdoms through war, determination and strategic vision about 2,200 years ago and became the first emperor of Qin (= China). He took the name of Qin Shihuangdi, built the Great Wall and created an ancient wonder of the world with his own tomb near the old imperial city of Xi’an: The largest pyramid of the world as well as the famous “Terracotta Armies” made up of clay soldiers, which can be admired again today after excavation near Xi’an.

After the fall of the Qin Dynasty, other rulers took control of unified China. The rulers of this vast and seemingly endless empire had a power that is almost unimaginable, even by today’s standards, and lived in great luxury and grandeur. But they shared one thing with the “mere mortals” of the time, and that was the dream of eternal youth, beauty and immortality.

Qin Shihuangdi already tasked alchemists with finding the source of youth and to research the correct ingredients to fulfill this dream, for not even the most powerful in the world were protected from aging and the degradation of cells, after all. Despite of all these efforts, the first emperor of China died quite early, probably due to mercury poisoning. In this regard, it is important to understand that cinnabar (a kind of mercury salt) was attributed a rejuvenating effect in the field of Taoist alchemy. But even then it is was well known, that it could also be lethal and there is some evidence that suggests that Qin Shihuangdi fell victim to a conspiracy instigated by his senior officials who gave him too much of the “rejuvenating” poison.

Modern medicine has determined that cells stop multiplying with increasing age and therefore are lost ever more. We have also come to discover that there are certain sections of our chromosomes that determine the lifespan of the individual cells and are called telomeres. The longer these are, the longer a cell is capable of performing cell division and to thus replace the body’s lost cells. Every cell division causes the telomeres to get a little shorter – until they are finally depleted completely.

However, if an enzyme called telomerase is added to these cells, the telomeres are extended, which apparently causes the biological potency of the cells to be extended as well, allowing them to live longer. About as old as the empire itself: The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is becoming more and more integrated into Western medicine as well and serves to supplement it time and time again. The practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine has, for example, brought about the astragalus, a plant that is among the most important medicinal products of TCM and is referred to as Huang Qi (黃芪) there. Its ingredients possess a number of regenerative effects: Astragalus is known for its antioxidant and immune-stimulating effect. It can also protect telomeres from shortening and can even contribute to lengthening them.

A study in mice has, for example, shown that the telomeres lengthened in animals that received a dietary supplement with ingredients derived from the astragalus plant (TA-65). This biological rejuvenation of cells resulted in an improvement of the skin quality, osteoporosis and other life expectancy indicators.

To date, there is no approved medication that lengthens telomeres and protects them. There are, however, already a number of experimental substances that are being produced on the basis of TCM medicinal plants. We have been testing this substance in my clinic for quite some time and I can confirm that the skin looks both younger and more energetic, sun damage is regressing and the patient looks better and rejuvenated in general after just a couple of weeks of treatment. I am convinced that this treatment will, in the future, catch on as an addition to hormonal regeneration using bioidentical hormones and stem cell therapy.

Qin Shihuangdi would therefore have been better off using astragalus concentrates instead of cinnabar. He likely would have lived a longer and healthier life, but ultimately he still would not have become physically immortal. However, he “immortalized” himself through his achievements as a statesman, his tomb and the construction of the Great Wall of China. He can probably be quite content with that, in my opinion.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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