I have been seeing this headline circulating a lot lately – “Telomeres are the new cholesterol”. I actually know where it came from and the people who are responsible for its creation and circulation.
These people are very smart and well meaning. But in their attempts to educate the public as to the very real importance of telomere length and its predictive value for overall health, I think they have inadvertently created a misconception.
The standard measurement of telomere length is called WBC MTL. It stands for white blood cell mean telomere length. The two ways of doing this test are called QPCR and FLO-FISH. The QPCR has an agreed inaccuracy of about 1000 base pairs of telomere DNA. This translates into about 5 to 10 years of aging or aging reversal just as a function of the test. In other words there is a pretty big error. The FLO-FISH is a bit better with an inaccuracy of about 500 base pairs. One way to get a more meaningful value is to wait longer to do the test. Like 2 or 3 years! Often studies show tests done in a few weeks or a few months after the initial intervention was begun. They pronounce gigantic leaps in longevity in 6 weeks for things like green tea.
This is simply not possible and is a function of the inaccuracies of the test. In other words it’s absolutely meaningless! Yet there are some pretty big names in the field still using this test to make positive pronouncements.
One of the most appealing things about TA-65 is that a group of people were tested using what is, in my opinion, the only meaningful test there is for telomere length: short telomere testing.
Studies have shown that the shortest telomere is the one that does the damage and therefore the most important- maybe the only important one in the bunch so to speak.
This is yet another reason why TA-65 is really the only thing that has been proven to work for addressing telomere length. It transcends the errors in testing and works exactly where it needs to to combat aging!
Sadly, until short telomere testing becomes a widely available test, which it is not (only one lab does it in Spain!), testing telomere length the current way will mean waiting 2 or 3 years before seeing meaningful results in the typical MTL tests.