Unless you are deep into the study of cellular biology, odds are you have no idea that your body is so dependent on telomeres because they are essential to the quality and length of your life.
So what on earth is a telomere? TA Sciences begins by noting that they are “an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age,” then continues by explaining:
“Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.”
In other words, when your telomeres can’t do their job, your life is adversely affected, and ultimately ended prematurely.
Here’s something else you likely don’t know: Your faith-life, or the lack thereof, has a huge impact on the health of your telomeres. How do we know that? Marripedia points to a 2016 study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine that found:
“Adults who frequently attend religious services, pray with regularity, and consider themselves to be religious tend to exhibit longer telomeres than those who attend and pray less frequently and do not consider themselves to be religious.”
The authors of the study believe theirs was the first comprehensive data-driven analysis of the relationship between religious practice and telomere length. And, being the first such analysis, the authors also acknowledged that their findings aren’t definitive and more study is needed.
“Although numerous studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with a wide range of favorable health outcomes, it is unclear whether this general pattern extends to cellular aging.
“In this paper, we tested whether leukocyte telomere length varies according to several dimensions of religious involvement. We used cross-sectional data from the Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011–2014), a large probability sample of 1252 black and white adults aged 22 to 69 living in Davidson County, TN, USA.”
For those interested in knowing more about the relationship between faith and health, check out this page of academic studies listed by Marripedia. And since it’s Sunday morning, maybe you should consider hitting a church service today. You know, for your telomeres.