Elissa Epel, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco where she serves as the director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center. Her research centers on the mechanisms of healthy aging and the associations between stress, telomere length, addiction, eating, and metabolic health.
In this episode, we dive deep into the world of telomeres, the length of which is one of the useful biomarkers scientists have for getting a sense of the differences between how individuals or groups of individuals age. Telomere shortening is both a cause and a symptom of aging and plays key roles in not only how long we live, but in how well. Lifestyle factors such as poor nutrition and smoking can accelerate telomere shortening by generating oxidative stress and inflammation.