"DNA repair" refers to a collection of processes by which the human body identifies and corrects damage to its own DNA molecules. In human cells, exposure to abnormal, destructive environmental factors ( eg.-UV light/radiation, toxic chemicals, poor nutrition, genetically modified foods-GMOs etc), along with even normal daily metabolic activity, can cause DNA damage. When our cells' DNA is damaged and unrepaired the results may include such things as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other illnesses that either accelerate the aging process...or severely diminish the quality of our lives.
In one day, the DNA in a single human cell can undergo up to one million errors (known as 'lesions") in its normal molecular skeleton. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to function effectively. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations which can affect the survival of daughter cells, after a cell undergoes replication. In an attempt to prevent this, the body's DNA repair process is constantly active, as it responds to damage in the DNA structure. When normal repair processes fail, irreparable DNA damage may occur.
The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:
- An irreversible state of dormancy, known as senescence
- Cell suicide, also known as apoptosis or programmed cell death
- Unregulated cell division, which can lead to the formation of a tumor that is cancerous
The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence life span have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.
The winners of the 2009 NOBEL PRIZE in MEDICINE were scientists who discovered that a certain part of our DNA was responsible for the aging and death of our cells. This DNA segment is called the telomere. Telomeres are like the little plastic caps on the ends of your shoelaces. When the plastic cap wears away, the shoelaces fray, unravel, and don't work anymore. The same goes for telomeres. Over time, these "DNA caps" breakdown and begin to shorten. When they shorten far enough, they are unable to protect the rest of the DNA, and the DNA becomes non-functional. The cell dies, or more precisely it becomes inactive.
The Nobel Prize winning researchers found that by activating a specific enzyme that repairs these worn away telomeres (the enzyme is called telomerase), they could get the non-functioning cells to start functioning again. Telomerase acts by repairing/lengthening the protective end segments of DNA. The investigators found that once the telomeres were repaired, the inactive cells would reawaken and start producing their respective proteins. As an example, animals that had diabetes (where their pancreatic cells had stopped producing insulin) were given a "telomerase activator" which stimulated the telomerase enzyme to lengthen the excessively shortened telomeres in these pancreatic cells…and the cells began producing insulin again.
There have been over 10,000 scientific articles written in the past 3 years (since the Nobel Prize was awarded to the researchers) about telomeres and their activation by telomerase. At the present time, there is only one company (TA SCIENCES) that has been able to produce a compound that has been found to activate the telomerase enzyme. The compound is called TA-65. The subjective results are significant…smoother skin, better skin elasticity, regrowth of receding gum lines…in just a few months.
There is presently one lab in the US which for ~$800, can analyze your venous blood and give you a precise measure of the percentage of "short telomeres" that you have. This is truly the most advanced way to get a baseline assessment of your biological age (compared to your chronological age). Short telomeres are BAD. When telomeres get to be below a certain length, the DNA which they protect becomes inactive…the cell essentially stops functioning. The science is overwhelming. This is how and why we age. Things that hasten telomere shortening in humans include: Inflammation, Oxidation, and Glycation (think sugar). In layman's terms we are talking: bad diet, stress, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution, stress, plastics, sugar, stress, heavy metal exposure…
Back to DNA. Telomerase lengthens short telomeres. It rebuilds the plastic cap on your shoelaces. Telomerase has the potential to make our DNA stay active and healthy. It has the potential to make people live longer and stay healthier. Research on animals (and some humans) has shown unequivocally that re-lengthening short telomeres with telomerase can reverse heart disease, vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, etc.
The unfortunate thing is that telomerase is NOT very active in our human bodies. Once our telomeres have shortened and the cells go to sleep, they do not reawaken. There is only ONE cell in the human body that actively produces telomerase…the sperm cell. This is why a 90 year old man can still bear children! The telomeres that protect the DNA of sperm cells, do not shorten. Telomerase is active in these human cells, but only in these cells (unfortunate for us)!
TA-65 gives us an opportunity to activate our telomerase enzyme. An opportunity to repair our inactive DNA. An opportunity to live healthier, longer lives.
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