Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer have a way of taking the lifetime of chubby and obese people much sooner than the lifetime of slim people. Scientists on the Medical University of Graz, in Austria, may need found the explanation. When our cells divide, tiny structures called telomeres are involved in moving chromosomes to the “recent” daughter cells. With each cell division, telomeres grow shorter, and shortness has to do with aging. The University of Graz, Austria, in March 2023, within the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, reported on the link between fat tissue and its distribution of the shortened telomeres.

Researchers measured telomere length within the white blood cells of 300 and seventy-five participants: they compared the telomere length with the quantity and site of fat at fifteen sites. Telomere length was shortest in those that had high levels of fat of their…

  • neck,
  • upper arms,
  • upper back,
  • chest,
  • abdominal area,
  • hips,
  • thighs, and
  • calves.

It was found neck and hip fat were linked strongly with shortened telomeres. From these results, the investigators concluded excess fat is linked with the shortening of telomeres.

Medications used for treating diabetes have also been linked with telomere shortening. In January of 2023, the journal Aging reported on a study performed at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei, China, and Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong, China. Telomeres within the white blood cells of 300 and eighty-eight individuals with Type 2 diabetes were measured…

  • Type 2 diabetics not taking medications had significantly shorter telomeres than treated diabetics.
  • Type 2 diabetics treated with acarbose had shorter telomeres than those treated with other medicines.

From these results, the researchers concluded acarbose may need an aging effect.

In February of 2023, the Journal of Diabetes Complications reported on a study linking insulin treatment with telomere shortening. Investigators on the Capital Medical University in Beijing, China, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing, China, paid close attention to sixty-four individuals who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes six years earlier. None had received insulin at the start of the study. Average telomere length decreased, even though it lengthened in a small number of people. Out of 18 of the participants who had received insulin through the six years…

  • 16 showed decreased telomere length, and
  • 2 showed increased telomere length.

Insulin users were greater than 17 times more more likely to have telomere shortening than non-users. The usage of insulin with high LDL (“bad”) levels of cholesterol were connected with telomere shortening as well.

Although medications are essential for many individuals who’ve been given a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels without medications is likely to be one solution to increase their life expectancy, based on telomere studies.

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