After intense stress, biological age rears up and we age suddenly, but by recovering from difficult moments (and learning to manage stress) we can rejuvenate ourselves.
Age is a fluid concept: the registry written on the identity card often does not correspond to the biological age, the years that the body really has. So after a lot of stress, such as an illness or surgery, we age a little faster than we should. There is good news, however: the rate at which cells, organs and tissues age slows down again, after passing the critical period, and we can at least rejuvenate a little if we can manage stress and recover better from difficult moments.
Confirmation of the effect of stress on biological age comes from research published in Cell Metabolism who studied how cell DNA changes after stressful stimuli such as surgery, severe Covid, pregnancy: the DNA sequence is in fact immutable, but during life its expression changes thanks to the so-called epigenetic modifications, which depend on what happens to us. One such modification, DNA methylation, considered one of the indicative elements of cellular aging: researchers have demonstrated that after moments of strong stress, the degree of methylation increases significantly, indicating rapid cellular ageing. These biological age changes are reversible: once recovered from the stressful event, the genetic clock turns back the hands and DNA methylation is reduced. As Vadin Gladyshev of Harvard University, coordinator of the study points out, These data imply that high stresses increase mortality, at least in part, by increasing biological age; however, this means that reducing the latter can reduce mortality and that the ability to recover from stress is an important determinant of successful aging and longevity.
The authors themselves admit that the study has limitations, because measuring biological age only through DNA methylations does not take into account the complexity of the elements involved: there is no single test with scientific validity that can say with certainty the true age of the whole organismnot to mention that different organs can age at a different rate. Also for this the authors admit that it is difficult to say how short-term biological age fluctuations that occur following stressful stimuli affect long-term aging trajectories; certainly comforting to know that the arrow of time may not always go in the same direction and that fighting stress can be a way to slow down, if not reverse it. Indeed we know that 25 percent of the speed at which we age is linked to genes but the rest depends on the environment, i.e. balanced and low-calorie diet, constant movement preferably outdoors, satisfying social relationships, psychological well-being. For this reason, knowing how to manage and reduce stress, learning to relax and recover after difficult periods, can truly be one of the most important ingredients for staying young for a long time.despite the number of candles on the cake.
April 24, 2023 (change April 24, 2023 | 12:56 am)
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