Stress and Aging: Is there a connection?
We all know what it feels like to be stressed out. And we know that it isn’t good for us on a lot of levels. It can lead to high blood pressure, poor nutritional choices, mental health struggles, personality changes, and more. But one thing that isn’t talked about much is that stress can literally age a person faster.
Studies are showing connections between stress and aging
In a 2021 study, 444 people between ages 18 and 50 had blood samples measured for chemical changes and health markers. They were questioned about their stress levels and how they handled it. The researchers found that subjects with cumulative stress, which is stress that had been building up, showed marked signs of accelerated aging. The subjects under more stress also suffered from insulin resistance, which is linked to weight gain and problems regulating emotions.
One of the most stressful jobs on the planet is the President of the United States. Because it’s a public job, there is photo evidence of aging. Anyone can Google photos of any president from Lyndon B. Johnson all the way to Donald Trump and see how much older they look from their inauguration day to the end of their term.
Being the president is an extreme case but it’s a visible example of a person under high stress. Everyday people have been studied and although the aging process isn’t photographed as extensively, results show that people like you also age faster when high stress levels are part of your life.
One study looked at stress and aging at the cellular level. Scientists found that stress can age individual immune system cells. Here’s how: telomeres are caps on the end of chromosomes and whenever a cell divides those telomeres get a little smaller. When that telomere cap is too short, the cell dies. This is a natural part of aging.
But, when stress is added, the process is sped up. Researchers looked at stress levels in 58 healthy premenopausal women. They found that, on average, the cells of women who were under more stress aged an extra 10 years!
Dealing with Stress
No one wants to get old sooner than they need to. The fact is that stress is a part of everyday life in our culture, so it’s best to learn to handle it in a healthy way. There is one caveat- some stress is actually good for you. It can help regulate hormone levels, keep you active, and keep you mentally alert and aware. But when the healthy stress levels get to a point where they interfere with normal life, you need to learn to manage them.
The key to healthy stress levels is managing mood and anxiety. Some simple things that can make a big impact are:
Getting more sleep.
Rely on your friends and family for support when you need it.
Eat a healthy diet.
Make planning and preparation a priority.
As simple as those things are, sometimes people are beyond what they feel like is the point of no return. In these cases, seeing a professional may be a good option. A medical professional may prescribe medication or suggest talking to a counselor.
Keep in mind that we all handle stress differently. Something that you might perceive as major may not impact a friend in the same way. What’s important is that if you feel like you’re drowning and need help, don’t be afraid to talk to someone, no matter if you think it might seem silly. Your life can literally depend on it. There is no shame in asking for help!
Supplements for Stress
If you are in a good place and hoping to train your body and your brain to be prepared for future stressful episodes there are some things you can do now. Obviously the list above is important, but a little extra nutritional boost can help prime your immune cells for what is sure to come at some point.
At Qyral, we are obsessed with how our bodies react at the cellular level and we have developed the Sustain supplement to best work with your individual needs. Depending on the answers to your quiz, we will formulate a supplement based on exactly what you need. Although skincare is our main thing, we know that healthy skin begins in your cells. Unhealthy cells not only affect your skin, but your overall well being, so some of the ingredients that may be in your personal Sustain formulation can prime your body to handle stress better.
Here are a few ingredients that you might find in your Sustain that could have a positive impact on handling stress:
Vitamin B seems to be a cure-all for a lot of what ails us. There are 8 B vitamins: niacin, biotin, thiamine, riboflavin, methylcobalamin B12, and more. All of these support healthy energy, brain health and healthy nerve function, as well as protection against oxidation. Studies have also found they help fight stress by helping improve mood.
Vitamin C is prevalent in skincare. And you probably know that it can help your immune system thrive. Since your body can’t make it’s own Vitamin C, you have to take it; either through food (usually citrus fruit) or by taking supplements. There are studies that show that supplementing with vitamin C can help improve mood and promote healthy stress response.
Your body can make its own vitamin D with a little help from a healthy dose of sunshine. Vitamin D can trigger the production of the “happy hormones” dopamine and serotonin. It also supports healthy bones, brain function, immune health, and more. Surprisingly, vitamin D deficiency is fairly common, so supplementing may have a big impact.
Chamomile herbal tea is well known to help with sleep, but it also contains a lot of antioxidants. We use chamomile extract at Qyral for the antioxidants and because it can help with inflammation.
Lavender smells amazing and it is well known for its calming properties. A calm feeling usually translates to a better mood, which means a decrease in stress. Lavender can also help to keep the elastin in your skin stronger.
We’re Obsessed with Anti-Aging
The basis for our entire skincare regimen is based on the cellular turnover cycle. If your body is stressed, it loses efficiency and you’ll age faster. By following some of the simple tips above, combined with our skincare routine including Sustain, you could delay some of the signs of aging and manage stress better! To get started, take our skin assessment quiz today!