We all know women are important for many reasons, but is it possible women can influence longevity? Yes, they can and do! The new science of aging suggests that the power to age well lies within our reach.
Contrary to popular belief, only 20% of our mortality is determined by our genetic make-up. Rather, our epigenetics, or interactions between our environment and genes, appear to be far more influential on how we age. Even though women have more hormonal and biological advantages when it comes to aging, they are more susceptible to environmental and lifestyle factors. Leading science suggests women can influence the longevity of 3 generations of offspring through epigenetic factors such as smoking during pregnancy. Epigenetic clocks also determine a woman’s fertility and conditions such as premature ovarian failure. Other maternal factors during pregnancy that influence longevity are a low protein diet, caloric restriction, zinc and DHEA deficiency, insulin resistance, toxins such as BPA and phthalates, and psychosocial stressors.
One marker of biological aging is telomeres. Scientists made the link between telomeres and cellular aging nearly 30 years ago. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Telomeres are vital to our health. As they get shortened and unable to do their job, our cells age and stop functioning properly. Therefore, telomeres act as the aging clock in every cell. While women are born with longer telomeres, they are more susceptible to the effects of lifestyle when it comes to telomeres and aging. Genetic and lifestyle risks, including stress, can shorten telomeres, leading to accelerated cellular aging. Chronically stressed women who were caregivers of chronically ill children were found to have the shortest telomeres of any studied group.
Hormones are another important factor in the gender gap of aging. Menopause is an important aging milestone for women as it indicates the end to their reproductive lifespan. One cause of many menopause symptoms in Springfield Missouri is the rapid decline of estrogen at menopause. It accounts for advanced aging in midlife and causes women to age three times faster between 40 and 50 years of age than any other decade. With the decline in estrogen and other vital hormones, disease risk increases significantly. Whereas, menopause later in life actually increases longevity by 38%. So, hormones have great power.
It is a complex set of factors that seem to shape our longevity. Our DNA is NOT our destiny. Genes, telomeres, hormones, lifestyle, emotional factors, the environment influence our epigenetics in a way that can affect the health of unborn children. Through this, women play an important role in controlling the health and longevity of their family tree. If you seek assistance with your health for issues such as a hormonal imbalance in Springfield Missouri, contact Kare Health & Wellness. We want you to look and feel your best from the inside out.