Neuron cell network – 3d rendered image on black background

The Link Between Stress and Replicative Senescence

For SHA Wellness Clinic
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Thursday February 10th, 2022
Health & Beauty
Cellular ageing does not depend solely on the passage of time. Learning to control and manage emotions is essential to slowing down the process.

The process of cellular ageing, or replicative senescence, is influenced by many factors. While 30% is due to genetic reasons, which are very difficult to change, the remaining 70% depends on lifestyle, which we can do something about. A healthy and balanced diet, regular physical exercise and good sleep and rest hygiene are essential to slowing down the process. However, it is also important to learn to manage both stress and emotions.

As Vicente Mera, head of the Genomic Medicine and Healthy Ageing Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic, explains, ‘chronic stress causes cell deterioration and shortening of telomeres, which are the ends of chromosomes and one of the most reliable biomarkers of ageing. In addition, we know that managing stress and emotion is essential when it comes to reducing several processes involved in cellular senescence, such as oxidation and glycation’.

Senescent cells are in a kind of hibernation phase and lose the ability to eliminate the waste generated in the course of their functions. ‘At this point, it is important to understand two basic concepts of cellular activity: apoptosis and autophagy. Apoptosis is a mechanism of programmed cell death that allows the cell to compress and reduce all this waste to its minimum expression. Thus, they do not circulate freely and do not get in the way of the cell’s proper functioning. Autophagy, on the other hand, is the process of recycling this cellular waste, which the body activates in certain situations, such as when exercising. In times of need, the body looks for energy elsewhere. In this way, the cells recycle all these toxins and convert them into energy. This is also the case with intermittent fasting, of course under the supervision of a nutritionist: the body needs fuel and finds it in this compressed bag of waste. It has been proved that cells that enter autophagy and reuse these toxic products are much more beneficial than those that do not, as the elimination of waste products overloads the liver and kidneys,’ says Vicente.

Therefore, learning to manage stress and emotions is essential when it comes to slowing down the ageing process, both at the physical and cellular level. To control stress, anxiety and other negative emotions that make us age prematurely, Dr Mera recommends practising natural disciplines, ‘such as yoga, meditation or pranayama breathing techniques. It is also very important to avoid sugars in the diet, as they cause a lot of mental fog and are involved in processes, such as glycation, which accelerate cellular senescence’.

For more information about SHA’s focused stress management pack, Click here

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