The Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging Can Be Controversial  

The Hayflick Limit Theory of aging is very interesting, has been very controversial, and has also disproved other theories on why we are all getting older.

There are also several members of the medical community that do not agree with it.

However, it is extremely important to note that two scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine based off of this theory.

Because of this fact alone, it is certainly worth a look at for all of us that have passed the 55 year old mark.

There is also a very interesting fact involving the different and very logical concepts on why we are all getting older; they are also based on our cells.

Think about that for a minute—all of them center on our cells.

The Key Points of the Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging

The Hayflick Limit Theory is no different and here are its key concepts on why we are getting older

  • Our cells can and will only divide a certain amount of times
  • Waste produced by our cells also limit their dividing ability
  • The limit any cell can divide is 50 times
  • After this limit is hit, they will all begin to die
  • Nutrition plays a “huge” role in our cells overall heath.

Doctor Leonard Hayflick developed this theory in 1961, working with other doctors and their findings were that our cells, without exception, can only divide so many times.

They suggested that this number is limited to 50, at which time they will begin to die because they can no longer divide.

The vast majority of our cells are constantly dividing, and that is not always a bad thing.

In fact, if they did not divide, there would be no room for the newly created healthy cells to go.

He also demonstrated that nutrition and how are cells are fed plays a “huge role” in when they divide.

He also suggested that when cells are over-fed, they divide much faster than when they are underfed.

Wow—stop and think about this for a minute.

He is not suggesting “fed properly”; he is suggesting being “over-fed” causes them to divide much faster.

The Major Contentions Of The
Hayflick Limit Theory of Aging

One of his major findings and reasoning for this was that caloric intake, as demonstrated in test animals, increased the dividing process.

If you decreased their calorie intake, the cells would divide at a much slower pace.

Here are some more of his contentions in the Hayflick Limit Theory of aging.

  • Our cells make up our DNA
  • Our cells contain our genetic information
  • Because of this, they are our “blueprints” information of life
  • Each time a cell divides, we lose some of these “blueprints”

He also suggested that because of all of these facts, they only way to slow this division is by reducing “calories” and using ribonucleic acids.

Ribonucleic acids, better known as RNA, are considered to be the building blocks of our DNA, but more about this later.

However, it should also be noted again that this theory is not without criticism.

The reason for this is simple; it contradicted some previous suggestions.

In the early 1900’s a doctor and scientist Alexis Carrel had suggested that cells could divide an unlimited number of times.

His test centered on the cells in and around our heart, and was widely held until the Hayflick Limited Theory of aging was introduced.

Three Friends Enjoying Time TogetherThree Friends Enjoying Time Together

Did It only Pertain To Damaged Cells?

Other scientists such as Harry Rubin from the University of California Berkley, argued that this theory only pertained to damaged cells.

At this point in this article you may be wondering if any of these theories as to why we are getting older are true, but remember some interesting facts about science.

There was a time in history where all scientists and scholars agreed that the earth was flat, expect one.

And it only takes one to throw the scientific and medical community into further thought.

That is exactly what happens with this suggestion.

There were two other scientists that firmly believed in the Hayflick Limit Theory of aging.

Elizabeth H. Blackman at the University of San Francisco, and Jack W. Szostak, at the Harvard Medical School, applied this same process in their research.

They Applied The Same Process

They centered their research on the structures of “telomeres” in 1982 and include some of the following.

  • Telomeres are the caps at the end of each of our DNA
  • Every time a cell divides, it becomes shorter
  • Once it hits a certain length or shortness, it send signals
  • The signals are sent to our cells
  • The signal instructs them to “commit suicide” or die

Their research was so widely accepted in the scientific and medical community that they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

Since then there have been numerous studies about enzyme telomeres and their major contentions were how to slow aging.

However, it is extremely important as we all being these steps in the aging process that we do our own research.

The research I am referring to is with enzyme telomerase, which in their research, suggested that they could slow or even stop this process.

At our ages, we have heard the term “too good to be true” and have learned to research it for several reasons.

More Recent Research

So let’s look at some further research that was based off of the Hayflick Limit Theory of aging, and it involves several years of research on mice by other scientists.

  • Enzyme telomeres could defiantly replenish their telomeres
  • By doing so, it could control them from shortening
  • These genetically-engineered mice begin to age backwards
  • This was considered to be a huge step forward

If this seems too good to be true, the answer is yes.


Because there is a lot of new evidence that while enzyme telomeres may be able to slow the shortening of our telomeres, they may also be one of the leading causes of cancer.

The Hayflick Limit Theory of aging is still very simple.

We must not over feed our cells by too many calories as underfed cells seem to be able divide at a slower rate.

If we choose the right diet, as we all get older and cut our sugar and calorie intake, we may be able to enjoy the benefits suggested.

RNA supplements, ribonucleic acid, are commonly used to treat age related conditions such as memory loss, treat depression as well as general aging conditions.

Maybe it is time we all looked into them.


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