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Does stress make you age?

Does stress leave lasting scars?

Dr. Gwen Bingle
May 19, 2023

Clearly, stressful life events do leave traces in our lives and oftentimes our bodies. At the very least, they leave an epigenetic signature that may cause biological age to skyrocket - even in children. However, a study recently published in Cell Metabolism confirms that traumatic traces usually disappear over time. Hence this kind of aging is apparently reversible.

Moreover, stress has adaptive value and can contribute to increased resilience – provided it is neither chronic nor overly acute. In a nutshell, given sufficient recovery phases, stress does not have to be the biggest enemy of longevity!

But how are the effects of stress actually measured? The authors of the study clearly highlight the flagship role of methylation-based epigenetic tests (so-called DNAm clocks): DNAm clocks have excellent predictive ability and are responsive to known anti-aging/lifespan extending interventions such as caloric restriction. Although mechanistic questions on the nature of DNAm clocks remain, these clocks represent the current gold standard aging biomarker and are now widely utilized in the aging field, including in human clinical trials.

epiAge is obviously delighted with this scientific validation!


Jesse R. Poganik, Bohan Zhang, Gurpreet S. Baht, Alexander Tyshkovskiy, Amy Deik, Csaba Kerepesi, Sun Hee Yim, Ake T. Lu, Amin Haghani, Tong Gong, Anna M. Hedman, Ellika Andolf, Göran Pershagen, Catarina Almqvist, Clary B. Clish, Steve Horvath, James P. White, Vadim N. Gladyshev, „Biological age is increased by stress and restored upon recovery“, Cell Metabolism, Volume 35, Issue 5, 2023, 807-820.e5, Online: (last accessed: 11.05.2023).  

Quote drawn from pp. 807/809  

Picture credit

Monstera / pexels

Dr. Gwen Bingle
epiAge Deutschland Content & Customer Relations
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