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Renovage and telomeres may provide the secret of aging

August 18, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 7 Comments
I first heard of telomeres over a year ago. Some scientists speculated that telomeres held the secret to aging (or staying young and cancer free), detractors said it was nothing more than speculation, an unproven theory. Now, however, a cosmetic ingredient called trepenone and marketed as Renovage is cropping up more and more - Jan Marini and features in her Regeneration Booster product, we saw it in YBF's new Boost and it in the latest eye cream from Osmotics called Renovage Cellular Eye Repair. So what are telomeres anyway.

Telomeres allow cells to distinguish chromosome ends from broken DNA. If DNA is broken there are two options after the cell cycle is stopped: Repair or death. If cells divided without telomeres, they would lose the end of their chromosomes, and the necessary information it contains. They are often described as being like the tips on the ends of shoelaces that stop them unraveling (the pink bits in the image above).

Telomeres shorten every time a cell divides. When they become very short, they trigger cell crisis and cell death. As we know, cells can only replicate a limited number of times - a phenomena called the Hayflick Limit. Cells removed from a newborn infant and placed in culture will go on to divide almost 100 times. Well before the end, however, their rate of mitosis declines (to less than once every two weeks). Were my cells to be cultured when I am in my late 70s, they would manage only a couple of dozen mitoses before they ceased dividing and died out.

An important aside: when I learned about the Hayflick Limit, it confirmed my view that too many treatments - such as laser, or thermage - that promote more rapid cell turnover are a bad idea. This is because they hasten the arrival of the inevitable HayFlick Limit.

Advocates of human life extension promote the idea of lengthening the telomeres in certain cells through temporary activation of telomerase (by drugs), or possibly permanently by gene therapy. They reason that this would extend human life. So far these ideas have not been proven in humans. Plus there are fears that lengthened telomeres would be more susceptible to cancer. Anyhow, not all scientists believe that cell death is the cause of aging (but just a symptom) so they say that lengthening the telomeres would not correspondingly lengthen life.

In cosmetics, the objective is slightly less ambitious - rather than try to lengthen the teleomeres, products such as Renovage promise to stabilize them so that at least they won't shorten. Maintaining telomere length extends, we are told, the Hayflick Limit by one third. Should we believe this? Well, Renovage is made by a French company called Sederma, the lovely people that gave us the power peptide Matrixyl 3000. Although the supporting data comes from studies conducted by Sederma itself, its track record with effective ingredients such as Matrixyl, speaks for itself.
  • October 15, 2012

    by Danielle

    Great article! I use the Cellular Labs line, which has Renovage as an ingredient and I wanted to find out what it was. Your article is technical enough to cover the concept well, but simple enough for the average consumer. Thanks so much!

    BTW, in case anyone's looking for it, Cellular Labs is made by the same manufacturer that makes 3 Labs, and it's pretty much the same stuff only less expensive. I get it on http://www.shop.com (use my email address daniellesmotives@gmail.com as a referral and I get 1/2% cash back. You get the same benefit for referring others. Setting up an account is free. I totally love this site, can you tell?)

  • October 16, 2011

    by jaime alfaro

    Thanks for the article. I'm covering telomeres research from the point of view of medical journalism, and it is exciting to see how many scientific disciplines and other areas of industry, including cosmetics, intersect with the tips of your chromosomes. This will be something I'll continue to look into. I hope to communicate to learn more about these kinds of products.

    -Jaime Alfaro
    Staff Writer,
    AgeMarker.com

  • September 24, 2010

    by marta

    Hi Darcy W, the EliteSkin does look like a good find. Here's the ingredients
    Purified Water, Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Teprenone, Polyacrylate 13, Plyiosbutene, Plysorbate 20, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerine

  • September 24, 2010

    by Darcy W.

    Hi Marta, I've been looking for DNA treatments with Renovage and found one that looks promising. Any experience with the Telomere Cell Cream by EliteSkin?

  • August 25, 2009

    by marta

    Dana, I started using it a few days ago and like you I think I'm going to really like it. Let's be sure to swap notes.
    My best,
    Marta

  • August 25, 2009

    by Dana Pond

    Ohhh! I have this Osmotics eye cream. Just got it a few weeks ago. So far really like it. It's hydrating, which I need. Will keep you posted if I see improvments in my fine lines. I have been mixing it with the Osmotics Eye Surgery to help wiht the creapness I have around my eyes as well (from years of allergies and hay fever).

  • August 18, 2009

    by Mark

    Marta -
    thanks for the insight on the correlation of the Hayflick Limit and too many treatments. I had wondered about this, too. It's something Dr's. and practitioners should also discuss and make patients aware of. This product sound promising and I look forward to your review.

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