The impact that stress has on our minds and bodies has been difficult to measure. The nearly two years of pandemic life is the most stressful experience shared by humankind in modern times. The domino effects of COVID-19 continue to affect our lives to this very day. For example, travel has become much more stressful these days.
It’s summer in North America, and even “the best-laid plans of mice and men” can go awry in the present state of air travel. First of all, flying has become very expensive. It’s as if the airlines are making up for being grounded for so long. And knowing that people desperately want to get away and are willing to pay, prices have increased to exorbitant levels.
Even when you book and pay for plane tickets, staffing issues have caused a lot of flights to be canceled at the last minute. Holiday weekends have been particularly notorious. Imagine the stress of spending vacation days waiting around in an airport, not sure when or if you are ever going to get off the ground.
Keeping things grounded, a study published in June 2022 gets to the heart of the matter: stress speeds up the aging process. And how its effects can be measured is related to a key factor in staying healthy: your immune system.
Printed in the peer-reviewed journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study’s data from 5,744 adults over the age of 50 revealed accelerated immune aging from exposure to social stress. Measurable by the distribution of T cells—the protective guards of your immune system—chronic stress and life trauma lowered the percentage of CD4+ naïve T cells, which “are crucial in achieving a regulated effective immune response to pathogens.”
At the same time, the study noted that “everyday discrimination, lifetime discrimination, and chronic stress were associated with a greater percentage of terminally differentiated CD4+ T cells.” These differentiated cells “fuel myocardial aging and boost the progression of heart diseases.”
Overall, the results indicate that psychosocial stress contributes to accelerating immune aging by decreasing naïve T cells and increasing terminally differentiated T cells. Translation: Exposure to stress wears the body down. And just like an elephant, the body never forgets.
In an article published in The Scientist that further explains the “stressful” results of the study, it was noted that during the aging process, your body produces fewer naïve cells but does not get rid of the older terminally differentiated T cells, the elephant-memory aspect of the body. Having fewer pathogen-fighting T cells and an accumulation of those that damage the cardiovascular system creates a weakened immune system.
By comparison, those who are younger are inclined to have more naive and fewer differentiated cells. These immune-aging indicators will likely be researched long into the future.
It all points to the long-term benefits of managing stress, eating healthily, exercising regularly and sleeping well in conjunction with the avoidance of detrimental lifestyle choices, such as habitual drinking, smoking and couch-potato-ing. Healthy behaviors support your immune system and entire body in slowing down the effects of time, stressful or otherwise.
One glance at the Healthy Cell Concept™ shows that improving and maintaining good health is not just about taking AIM products. It’s about nurturing your cells with wholesome nutrition, regular exercise, environmental factors, protective measures and stress management through attitude.
All five avenues of the Healthy Cell Concept can be fortified by AIM’s whole-food powders and nutritional supplements. You’ll find support for your immune system in nutrient-dense concentrates, such as BarleyLife, CoCoa LeafGreens and RediBeets, and in a variety of other natural health products. In particular, Composure, GinkgoSense and Proancynol 2000 can help you to better cope with stress and bolster your immune system.
Aging is an inevitable part of being alive as is the stress that comes with the privilege. Managing stress and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices have proven to be pivotal factors in aging well. AIM nutrition offers supplemental help along the way.