THE EFFECT OF HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY
ON TELOMERE LENGTH
A new study shows that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may improve the length of telomeres as we age.
Telomere length is considered an important indication of a person’s overall health, as a shorter telomere length has been linked to negative outcomes, including premature, early, or increased signs of aging.
“Telomere length shortens with age,” sources with the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center say. “Progressive shortening of telomeres leads to senescence, apoptosis, or oncogenic transformation of somatic cells, affecting the health and lifespan of an individual. Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival.”
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are positioned at the end of chromosomes, which is essentially what carries our genetic information. Every day, our cells are dividing. In fact, according to sources, in a single given day, there are around 2 trillion cell divisions in the human body.
Cells need to divide in order for us to live. They process nutrients and create more cells as needed. For example, if we are wounded.
As we get older, this process can become a little more harried and less efficient. One noticeable sign of an aging cell is the presence of shorter telomeres. Once a telomere becomes too short, a cell is no longer able to divide.
What happens when telomeres become too short?
Two notable signs of aging exist within cells. One is the shortening of telomeres and the
other is known as senescence (as mentioned above), or the accrual of cells that are no
When telomeres become too short, it can stop the cell from dividing, catalyzing programmed cell death or PCD. Sources believe the rate at which a telomere becomes shortened can be influenced both by a person’s inherited genetics as well as environmental factors, such as toxins.
Study results: hyperbaric oxygen therapy & telomeres
According to a November 2020 study conducted by the Shamir Medical Center in Israel and Tel Aviv University (TAU), hyperbaric oxygen therapy is shown to have the following effect on telomeres:
“The researchers found that a unique protocol of treatments with high-pressure oxygen in a the pressure chamber can reverse two major processes associated with aging and its illnesses: the shortening of telomeres (protective regions located at both ends of every chromosome) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body.”
The study discovered that nearly 40-percent of telomeres in the body were elongated as the result of the introduction of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Professor Shai Efrati of the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU is said to have led this study, and is noted as saying that “today, telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging.”
How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefit telomere length?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been known to positively benefit telomere length, and has been shown to actually increase telomeres by around 20-percent, sources say.
Additional ways to protect telomeres
Protect the length of your telomeres by avoiding potentially damaging environmental toxins and other factors. These can include the following:
• Lack of nutrients or vitamins
• Being overweight
You can also protect telomeres by:
• Eating right
• Getting adequate exercise and sleep
While we all age a little differently and at our own pace, there are things we can do and steps we can take to delay this process wherever and however possible, potentially including hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
Note: The study mentioned here is said to be a pioneer study or the first of its kind to explore the relationship between telomere length in human individuals and HBOT.