Researchers Find More Evidence That Stress Speeds up Aging
We all know that stress can age us prematurely, although this hasn’t been measurable recently. Scientists believe that the DNA gets older with each cell division for a very long time. For the past few years, scientists have been working on creating an epigenetic clock to measure biological aging by assessing methylation amount at specific sites on the DNA.
One of the best-performing models of epigenetic clock is GrimAge, which can accurately predict biological aging. Several studies focused on GrimAge’s capability to predict the effect of stress in individuals with health conditions, but it still wasn’t investigated whether this epigenetic clock could predict the stress impact on the general population.
Recently, researchers conducted a study that examined whether resilience factors affect stress-associated biological age acceleration in healthy adults aged 18–50. The study involved 444 people, and none of them had a history of chronic medical condition, substance abuse, or head injury. The study excluded pregnant women, and all participants were tested for drugs and underwent physical health reviews. The researchers recorded participants’ relationship status, racial identity, smoking and drinking habits, education level, and income.
From the study results, the researchers linked the elevated cumulative stress with chronological aging using GrimAge. They also discovered that emotional regulation reduced the impact of stress on age acceleration. Additionally, the results showed that self-control could also balance the relationship between insulin resistance and stress. They also discovered that some characteristics contributed to aging. For example, being male, added 1.2 years of aging for this cohort, and identifying as Black resulted in one additional year.
However, the study doesn’t reveal how to prevent the stress impact on speeding up aging, but it could identify possible points for behavioral interventions. Of course, we still need more research to better understand epigenetic aging. Future research should consider the social environmental resources, built, and stressors because these factors also depend on the gender, sex, and race.
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