(NaturalNews) The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine was awarded jointly to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak for their discoveries into cell division and into how chromosomes can be copied without degradation. The key was found in maintaining healthy telomeres, the protective ends of chromosomes, by reigniting the growth of telomerase, the enzyme that forms them. Certain astragalus molecules have been found to contribute to telomere growth, effectively reversing the aging process.
When cells divide to repair, renew, and maintain the body, the DNA molecules that contain the body's genetic code are copied in order to reproduce a new, identical cell. The telomeres on the ends of the chromosomes act as protective coverings to guard the cells' delicate sequences from degradation as they are copied. The telomerase enzymes continue to form new telomeres in order to facilitate this constant process of rejuvenation by maintaining these protective ends.
Because this process does not operate optimally, the body ages over time. Geneticist Leonard Hayflick discovered in 1965 that most cells only divide a certain number of times before they die, illustrating the existence of a biological clock of sorts that limits cell division and instigates the gradual slowing of cell replication.
The journal Nature published an article in 1990 that further explained this process through an understanding of cellular telomere. While acting to protect the ends of DNA strands, telomere shorten ever so slightly each time a cell divides. Early in a person's life, telomerase enzymes work to replenish the diminishing telomeres, but later in life the telomerase enzymes cease to be produced within the genes and the telomeres gradually recede, leading eventually to death.
Thanks to tortuous research into telomeres, doctors and scientists interested in anti-aging therapies have been able to make significant inroads into the discovery of viable therapies for jump-starting the gene that produces telomerase enzymes.
The astragalus root contains cycloastragenols and astragalosides, two powerful molecules that have been implicated in activating telomerase enzyme production. Research suggests that large doses of these molecules have the potential to not only prevent telomere depletion but to actually rebuild the telomere that has been already lost.
While a patented form of the highly-concentrated extract called "TA-65" is available through a proprietary regimen, other extracts and derivative formulas are hitting the supplement market that contain potent levels of these isolated molecules as well. Certain specific varieties of astragalus root naturally contain high levels of these powerful molecules and the extracts can be purchased inexpensively in bulk powders or in capsules.
Heavy doses of astragalus extract that is rich in astragalosides are said to have the same effect as TA-65 in rejuvenating telomere growth and increasing the amount of telomere base pairs. In other words, the extract is capable of turning back the age clock. Jim Green, a scientist out of Wichita, has been experimenting with various forms of astragaloside-rich astragalus and has seen amazing anti-aging results which he has documented on his website.
Further research into this amazing subject is sure to reveal more as time progresses. In the meantime, certain steps can be taken to reverse the effects of aging. One step suggested by Al Sears, MD is to have one's homocysteine levels checked to make sure they are not too high. High homocysteine levels increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, impotence, and heart disease. He suggests supplementing with B vitamins in order to keep homocysteine levels in check, as well as trimethylglycine (TMG). Astragaloside-rich astragalus is also a worthy contender that is both inexpensive and demonstrably efficacious in reversing the effects of aging.
Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.