Feeling depressed or lonely would make us age faster than smoking

A recent study reveals the deleterious effects of loneliness on the state of health of our cells. Getty Images

According to a recent Sino-American study, a state of ill-being accelerates biological aging and puts us at greater risk of developing a chronic disease.

As everyone knows, loneliness and everything directly or indirectly related to ill-being are a scourge for mental balance. What is less known, however, is that these states of sadness also affect our general health. This is the observation made by a Sino-American study, published Tuesday, September 27 in the journal Aging US and relayed by the site of the British newspaper The Guardian. In their conclusions, researchers from Stanford and Hong Kong universities note deleterious effects on the state of health of our cells, to the point of making us age almost two years.

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The loneliness pinned down by the statistics

To arrive at this result, the scientists analyzed the blood and biometric data of 11,1914 Chinese adults using an “aging clock”, the role of which is to statistically measure the biological, and not chronological, age of an individual. In practice, the team looked specifically at each individual’s blood pressure, cystatin C level (a protein considered an indicator of kidney health), body mass index (BMI), and spirometry ( lung capacity).

Within this sample were people with a history of stroke, liver and lung disease, smoking. In particular, the aging clock was able to establish that tobacco consumption increases biological age by 1.25 years.

Psychological factors were also scrutinized. The scientific team was thus surprised to discover that feeling unhappy or being alone adds up to 1.65 years to a person’s biological age.

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In addition to the health component, the researchers also sought to measure the effects of living in rural areas or marital status. It has been estimated that marriage can save almost seven months of “biological youth”.

Results to deepen

While the authors of the study specify that these data are an estimate, and must therefore be further explored, they recall that the acceleration of biological aging has deleterious consequences, such as greater exposure to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. , diabetes and heart disease.

“Your body and your soul are connected – that’s our main message”, summarizes Fedor Galkin, co-author of the study and scientist of the Hong Kong startup Deep Longevity at Guardian. And to conclude: “Taking care of your psychological health is the best way to slow the pace of aging.”

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