Telomere length linked to common cold risk

Your telomeres may affect your short-term health and aging longevity.

While the cure for the common cold remains elusive for medical researchers, physicians and holistic practitioners alike, scientists may be closing in on causes for this frustrating affliction. According to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pennsylvania, telomeres – the strips of repetitive DNA that essentially tie up the loose ends of our chromosomes – may play a role in how susceptible middle-aged men and women are to contracting the common cold.

For those who are unfamiliar with them, telomeres have garnered considerable attention in the realm of medical research lately, with various studies indicating that the length of these strips has a clear correlation with aging longevity. Longer telomeres may indicate that you are more likely to age gracefully, and have a lower risk of various chronic conditions. 

To date, most research regarding telomeres has revolved around individuals over the age of 55, and has largely focused on longevity-related ailments and mortality. This time around, CBS News reports, CMU researchers decided to investigate how telomere length affected everyday health, particularly among younger generations. To determine this, they took blood samples from 152 adults under the age of 55 and examined their telomere's length. They then referred to these measurements as they monitored the health of the participants who had been exposed to a cold virus.

The individuals were quarantined for five days after exposure. In that time, 100 of them developed infections. The researchers noted that the risk of becoming sick was significantly higher among middle-aged participants with shorter telomeres, the source states.

This study indicates that telomere length can have a substantial impact on your short-term health as well as your aging longevity. At Longevity Centres of America, we conduct tests to measure your telomeres and can also provide information about TA-65 supplements, which may activate an enzyme that causes these strips to lengthen.