In this article you will learn:
What TA-65 is and why people use it
A few considerations based on the research and my own opinion
TA-65 is a special formulation using an extract from the astragalus plant that stimulates the production of telomerase and supposedly lengthens your telomeres. Because one theory of aging is that our cells eventually lose the capability to divide as we grow older (because telomeres shorten slightly every time cells divide), it makes intuitive sense that lengthening telomeres may be a valid anti-aging strategy.
Yet, this too is not without its criticisms and may not be worth the expensive pricetag.
As of today, telomere testing is highly variable and not really an accurate picture of your aging compared to a test like the DNA methylation clock, and having both too short or too long of telomeres may increase your risk of cancer(1) - meaning that balance is the key as always.
Many things impact the length of your cells’ telomeres, but if you are employing The Basics it will help to keep them in optimal shape regardless. The data isn’t clear yet on the long-term effects of stimulating your body to produce more telomerase, and a bottle of the lowest potency TA-65 will run you about $100, with the highest potency being about $600.
Given the risk that longer telomeres may increase your likelihood of cancer, that testing is problematic and that your Basics will help keep you healthy regardless, the benefits of this therapy are, to me, not really worth it yet. My verdict? When there is a more accurate way to test and understand telomere length, this may be a valuable intervention alongside your other efforts. Until then, appropriate your health budget elsewhere.
I have gotten my telomeres tested through TeloYears and through SpectraCell (the same
company that does the micronutrient assay I rave about), and my results varied considerably between these two companies.
This is because the science has not caught up, and different companies will use different methods of measurement. I can’t tell you which one was accurate or if they were both flawed because I lack the data, but one said I was 10 years younger than I actually was and one said I was a few years older than I actually was. Oops.
It’s also not exactly clear how telomeres relate to disease and what the optimum length is, but this test could be used as a rough estimate along with others like Horvath’s clock (the DNA methylation clock linked above) to get an idea of how your body is working. If you take an expensive telomere extending supplement like TA-65 (astragalus), it may be in your interest to test your telomeres every 6 months to see if it is actually doing anything. If you want to get biohacker brownie points, then get tested with a few companies and plot the data over time. Try periods of no telomere extending supplements or compare them to simply following the diet and nutrition principles outlined here and in other places and see if there are any meaningful relationships.
Expensive, but wouldn’t it be interesting?