While there’s a genetic component to telomere length and durability, there seem to be a few things we can do to help support our own telomeres. Steven Gundry, M.D., heart surgeon and bestselling author of The Longevity Paradox: How To Die Young at a Ripe Old Age, shared an easy one when he appeared on the mindbodygreen podcast: Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
“Human beings with the highest vitamin D levels have the longest telomeres, and people with the lowest vitamin D levels have the [shortest] telomeres,” Gundry told mbg co-CEO Jason Wachob, referring to research in the Archives of Medical Science and the Journal of Nutrition on the association between telomere length and vitamin D levels.
It seems that vitamin D, a hormone that’s essential for a number of processes in the body, works by increasing the activity of telomerase, the building blocks of telomeres that protect cellular DNA from aging. Gundry goes so far as to say that he thinks it’s “the greatest hormone that exists.”