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Longevity is the new “anti-aging”—or, why everyone is obsessed with telomeres


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Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Reed

Don’t know your telomeres from your mitochondria? You will soon enough. Advanced research on aging now makes it possible to understand the science behind living longer and healthier by tapping into the true source of your cells’ vitality—and their decline.

This is no vanity project focused on fine lines and wrinkles (though your skin may benefit). We’re seeing a growing obsession with “health span,” or major breakthroughs about how the body’s most microscopic elements contribute to the process of aging.

Telomeres are tiny compounds on the ends of DNA strands that can be altered to help you turn back time (cue Cher) by slowing down the aging process.

One example: Telomeres, the tiny compounds on the ends of DNA strands that can be altered to help you turn back time (cue Cher) by slowing down the aging process. They’re getting more attention, thanks to innovative research by Nobel Prize-winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, and psychiatrist-author Elissa Epel, PhD. Simply put, short telomeres correlate to shorter life spans, while the reverse is true for long ones.

Mitochondria, AKA the battery pack of your cells is another term you’ll get familiar with in 2018. “Stronger mitochondria make for stronger brains and stronger bodies,” says Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey, who’s written extensively about this in his book Headstrong. “Creating new mitochondria is crucial for vibrant aging.”

How the healthiest centenarians push the boundaries of aging (and what their lifestyles can tell us) is the subject of a forthcoming documentary series The Human Longevity Project. It’ll premiere globally in 2018. And it’ll go way deeper than wrinkles.

What else is going to be huge next year? We’ve picked 18 for ’18—check out all of our Wellness Trend predictions here

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