When to eat. Some researchers also found that

humans age, normal oxidative stress slows metabolic rates, which decreases
activity levels, the need for food, and appetite (Saladin, 2015). However, this
decreased metabolic rate makes it easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it.
Stress can also lower metabolic rates (Baker & Staecker, 2012), but it can
increase or decrease appetite levels (Liu & Mori, 1999). This means for
some people, they are hungrier but also not burning as many calories, making it
easy to gain weight and difficult to lose. Therefore, stress effects on the
digestive system very closely mimic the effects of aging.

            Furthermore, when people of healthy
weight intake a carb load and are then subjected to psychological stressors,
they tend to experience a delay in glucose digestion (Wing, et al., 1990), this
can make people of healthy weight feel full longer (Willett & Skerrett,
2001). However obese individuals that undertook the same situations did not
experience this same delay of glucose digestion (Wing, et al., 1990), meaning
obese people may become hungrier faster in stressful situations. Therefore
people of heavier weights in stressful situations may be even more inclined to

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            Some researchers also found that
stress is associated with BMI increases in girls aged 10-19 (Puterman, et al.,
2016). But, the girls in this age group with long-term physical activity
experienced significantly fewer BMI increases even under levels of high stress.
BMI increases are also associated with aging (Saladin, 2105). Another study
found that women with type 1 diabetes reporting high levels of stress had
poorer glucose levels that those with lower stress, even when their diets were
rather consistent (Balfour, et al., 1993). This is likely because stress has
caused an increase in oxidative damage and contributed to the over excitation
of receptors and cellular inflammation (Allen, 2013).

Other Organ Systems

            As people age, they generally
experience a loss of bone density, especially women. Estrogen is one of the
hormones necessary for synthesizing calcium. After menopause, women experience
significantly lower calcium levels and osteoblasts are less active that
osteoclasts due to a lack of calcium (Saladin, 2015). Chronic psychological
stress also affects bone density, but through a different mechanism. Stress
increases oxidative stress and is linked to bone density loss and osteoporosis
(Baek, et al., 2010). As
humans age they generally experience a decline in ATP function due to the
natural progression of oxidative stress on the mitochondria (Marín, Yubero-Serrano,
& Pérez-Jiménez, 2013; Saladin, 2015). This decline in ATP function leads
to muscle fatigue (Liu & Mori, 1999), a prominent symptom of aging.
Sarcomeres may also become disorganized and a loss of myofibrils will weaken
muscles. Additionally, aging can also be linked to motor neuron death, which
leads to slower response times. Chronic stress can mimic these signs of aging
by decreasing potentials at the plasma membrane through oxidative stress,
decreasing ATP production as well as cellular communication which can lead to
muscle fatigue and cramping (Liu & Mori, 1999).

Aging and stress also have similar
effects on the endocrine system. During aging, the pituitary gland is less
sensitive to glucocorticoids, which means the response to stress (both physical
and psychological) is prolonged. Additionally, target cells have reduced
numbers of receptors, which can lead to cellular inflammation. Chronic
psychological stress can cause excessive production of glucocorticoids (Vyas,
et al., 2016), which can over-excite receptors to death and lead to cellular
inflammation (Allen, 2013). Therefore, stress can cause the endocrine system to
mimic signs of aging.

Managing and Preventing Stress and Aging

            Stress and aging are linked
primarily through their complicated relationships with oxidative stress, so it
makes sense that the ideal treatments for stress and aging are meant to target
free radicals in the body system. The best ways to control stress and aging are
through a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Poor diet is the leading cause of
inflammation, a signification contributor to premature aging (Allen, 2013). Refined
sugars and saturated fats can affect membrane receptors, preventing cells from
working properly. However, diets rich in unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants,
and whole grains, while being low in red meat and dairy, are highly correlated
to reduced oxidative stress as well as increased telomere length (Marín, Yubero-Serrano,
& Pérez-Jiménez, 2013). Unsaturated fats are more easily usable for
cellular machinery and are not linked to clogged arteries and cardiovascular
disease like saturated fats (Willett & Skerrett, 2001). In fact,
unsaturated fats help promote cardiovascular health (Marín, Yubero-Serrano,
& Pérez-Jiménez, 2013; Willett & Skerrett, 2001). Diets rich in
antioxidants help balance oxidative stress because antioxidants are molecules
that are able to satiate electron-hungry molecules while still remaining
relatively stable themselves (Willett & Skerrett, 2001). The presence of
fiber in whole grains slows the digestion of glucose, which is beneficial in
reducing insulin spikes that are responsible for type 2 diabetes and related to
cellular inflammation.

helps manage stress and can prevent and even reverse certain signs of aging.
Exercise helps manage stress by releasing endorphins, which ease overall
tension and are linked to better moods and reduced stress levels (Mayo Clinic,
2018). Exercise is also related to preventative aging. It helps build bone
density, meaning osteoporosis will take longer to make an effect (Saladin,
2015), It also builds muscle mass and prevents muscle degradation that aging
causes (Saladin, 2015). Additionally, exercise reduces oxidative stress by
promoting the production of antioxidants and is also linked to increase
telomere length and telomerase activity (Marín, Yubero-Serrano, &
Pérez-Jiménez, 2013). Exercise can attenuate and even reverse the effects of
types 2 diabetes by reducing oxidative stress that destroys insulin receptors (Huebschmann,
Kohrt, & Regensteiner). It is also linked to anti-aging properties in glial
cells, by increasing telomere length, and neurons by reducing oxidative stress
that causes DNA damage (Latimer, et al., 2011).

            In conclusion, chronic stress can
mimic and accelerate signs of aging in nearly every bodily system, despite the
fact that acute stress can be beneficial. Chronic stress can increase rates of
oxidative stress, which is primarily responsible for the aging process of all
cells. Oxidative stress is amplified by cellular inflammation, a frequent
contributor to aging, and is also responsible for decreased telomere length and
telomerase activity, which is believed to be largely responsible for the
senescence of cellular functioning. Proper diet and exercise regimens can help
reduce levels of chronic psychological stress and aging through the production
of endorphins and antioxidants.