Stress has a significant impact on your biological age, the measure of your overall health. Stress doesn’t just make you feel older – it actually ages you faster. Find out how stress speeds up the aging process and what you can do to slow it down.
WHAT IS “BIOLOGICAL AGE”?
In contrast to your chronological age, which simply marks the number of years you’ve been alive, your biological age reflects the state of your overall health. It’s influenced by various things such as genetic factors, lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures, and it may be higher or lower than your chronological age, indicating how well your body is functioning relative to how old you are.
Biological age is assessed based on biomarkers and physiological parameters that reflect the condition and function of organs, tissues, and systems within the body. These markers can include measures such as cardiovascular health, immune function, hormone levels, DNA methylation patterns, telomere length, and other indicators of cellular and molecular aging.
Research suggests that biological age is more accurate than chronological age for predicting the onset of diseases and death.
HOW STRESS IMPACTS YOUR BIOLOGICAL AGE
1. CHRONIC INFLAMMATION & IMPAIRED IMMUNE FUNCTION
Chronic stress contributes to chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, due to an ongoing release of stress hormones and inflammatory molecules. This can impair the immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to illness and decreased ability to fight it. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development and progression of various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.
2.INCREASED OXIDATIVE STRESS
Chronic stress, and associated chronic inflammation, contribute to oxidative stress, an imbalance in the body between free radicals (molecules that cause damage to cells) and antioxidants (substances that repair or stop the harmful effects of free radicals). The excess of free radicals can cause damage to cells, disrupt normal cellular functions, and contribute to various health issues. Oxidative stress has been linked to the development and progression of various age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.
3. ACCELERATED TELOMERE SHORTENING
Telomeres are structures of repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes. They function as protective caps, providing a buffer against the loss of important genetic material during DNA replication. Telomeres naturally shorten with each cell division and eventually become critically short, leading to cell death. This is a normal part of getting older, but chronic stress speeds up the process, contributing to visible signs of aging like gray hair and wrinkles and increasing the risk of age-related diseases like heart attack and stroke.
4. ALTERED DNA METHYLATION
DNA methylation is a process that regulates gene function by either silencing or activating certain gene expression. DNA methylation patterns are established early on in life, but they can undergo changes in response to various stimuli, including chronic stress. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones and associated inflammatory molecules can influence the activity of certain enzymes involved in DNA methylation, leading to changes in the methylation status of specific genes, impacting the regulation of various biological processes. Altered DNA methylation has been implicated in numerous diseases, including autoimmune conditions, neurological disorders, and certain types of cancers.
5. UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Chronic stress can have a significant impact on quality of life. It can lead to sleep disruption, unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity, mental health issues, social withdrawal, and substance abuse, each of these with its own dire health implications. While stress is a normal part of life, if you experience chronic stress that has you feeling anxious and burnt out, it’s of vital importance that you find healthy ways to support your stress response and reduce your stress levels.
STRESS RELIEF METHODS FOR WHEN YOU’RE FEELING OVERWHELMED
Stress, unfortunately, is an inescapable part of life. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to cope with it in healthy ways. As our friend Dr. Leaf says, “You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can learn to control your reactions to your circumstances.” Here are five ways we de-stress when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Read now >
THE SINGLE BEST TIP FOR MANAGING STRESS
In the past, we’ve shared a lot of conventional stress management techniques — such as acupuncture, meditation, and yoga — and some unconventional ones — getting outdoors, connecting with nature, and cold plunging. We’ve offered some practical tips — such as getting enough sleep, getting good exercise, and taking magnesium — and some helpful products — De-Stress Blend, Sleep Blend, and Mellö. And we’ve talked about how finding your ikigai, learning to love the life you’re living, and sewing more seeds of kindness can reduce stress. Now it’s time to let you in on what we’ve found to be the single best tip for dealing with stress. It’s simple — and once it clicks, everything changes. Read now >
GET A FREE SAMPLE ($12 VALUE) OF OUR BESTSELLING USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC DE-STRESS BLEND
De-Stress Blend helps you control your stress, so your stress doesn’t control your health. Get your free sample >
“Over the years, we’ve learned firsthand just how important it is to find simple, natural, and healthy ways to support our stress responses each day. Stress doesn’t just negatively impact your quality of life and contribute to bad habits, it suppresses your immune system and puts you at greater risk for serious health problems. De-Stress Blend is the natural path to stilling your waters and getting back to easier times.”
—Ret & Adriaan, Founders of Ned