Super-centenarians, people age 110 years old and older, are extremely rare individuals. There are likely 60 or so in the United States and 200-300 world wide. There are a crap-ton of products on the market that claim to be “anti-aging,” but each and every one of them is either cosmetic or a total scam. There is nothing available right now that can either slow down or reverse the effects of aging, not even Resveratrol pills or Rapamycin. But this is set to change by the 2030s. Futurists and gerontologists aren’t entirely sure what form this intervention could take. It could be a genetic tweak, not unlike the one Cynthia Kenyon performed on roundworms to extend their lifespans by more than half.


And indeed, there are efforts currently underway to map the genetic constitutions of supercentenarians to isolate the factors that make them so robust. It might involve therapies to restore the length of our telomeres, or replenish our mitochondria. Or it could draw from any number of experiments currently being conducted on mice.


To better understand this connection and what biological mechanism could account for the shortening of the telomeres, let’s see what  Dr. Preston Estep, the Chief Scientific Officer of TeloMe, Inc., and an expert on genetics and human aging says: “Cell replication shortens telomeres, and telomerase, an enzyme encoded in our genes, makes telomeres longer. The overall balance of these two determines length, and typically telomerase levels are low enough to allow gradual shortening with time. One very important discovery made by the ENGAGE consortium is that genetic variants that predispose to shorter telomeres and higher disease risk are extremely common. I’m sure many people are surprised that common and even predominant genetic variants predispose to higher risk of disease and mortality, but we are finding this more often as more high-quality and large-scale studies like the ENGAGE study are published.

Anti Aging

However, from an evolutionary perspective this is to be expected, since the negative effects of these variants don’t occur until later in the post-reproductive phase of life. From our perspective, it is technically easy to measure average telomere length, and more difficult to do a detailed analysis that provides a detailed look at the distribution of telomere lengths from shortest to longest. Over the past 2-plus years we have developed and refined methods for measuring telomeres in saliva, and for establishing a mail-based saliva collection and processing pipeline. That allows us to keep costs low and make telomere testing available to essentially everyone.


Some weak ones that are already in use are vigorous exercise, stress reduction, good diet — the standard list of positive lifestyle factors. However, people don’t respond equally, and those who have very short telomeres might consider more potent means. I also think that more studies are needed to better understand the benefits and risks. Nevertheless, people with very short telomeres are living with higher risk for many serious health issues, and their best hope for reducing the risk is to fix the problem.


That isn’t a recommendation, it is simply a statement of fact. The findings open of the possibility that manipulating telomere length could have health benefits,” noted Dr. Veryan Codd through a statement. “While there is a long way to go before any clinical application, there are data in experimental models where lengthening telomere length has been shown to retard and in some situations reverse age-related changes in several organs.”