Stress Can Increase Biological Age—But It Can Be Reversed, Study Finds
As we begin learning more about healthy aging and longevity, one thing has become demonstrably clear: we can influence our biological age through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Studying how stress impacts biological age
For this study, researchers wanted to look at how stressful events (i.e. surgery, pregnancy, or becoming severely sick with COVID-19) impacted participants' biological age, and further, what happened after the stress subsided.
In all of the incidences, the team observed that biological age increased in times of several physiological stress—but was reversed or almost reversed after the stressful situation had resolved—making this the first study of its kind to provide such strong evidence that biological age can be reversed when stress is mitigated.
As lead study author Jesse Poganik, Ph.D., explains in a news release, “Severe stress can trigger biological age to increase, but if that stress is short lived, the signs of biological aging can be reversed.”
And as senior author Vadim Gladyshev, Ph.D., adds, “When stress was relieved, biological age could be restored. This means that finding ways to help the body recover from stress could increase longevity.”
What to do about it
There are already so many benefits to stressing less—consider this research one more reason to find your daily dose of peace. And it doesn't have to be anything major either.
Meditation is another common practice to take up if you're feeling stressed, as research shows regular meditation helps improve emotional reactivity3 (AKA the way you respond to stress), which can help with a healthy inflammatory response to stress.
Finding ways to feel more peace and calm in your life can not only make your day-to-day life better, but shaving years off your biological age? According to this research, it's not too good to be true—and that's all the more reason to stress less.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.