May 21, 2024   5:27pm

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You’re not getting any younger, unless you’re stressed, that is. According to a study done by Northwestern University, “A protein tied to protecting cells from stress also helps slow aging,” reads an article in Science News.

“Exposure to heat, cold or heavy metals can damage proteins and unravel them from their usual conformations, which can cause cell death. But cells have a damage-limiting mechanism called the heat shock response to combat these and other stresses. As part of the response, special protein-repair-molecules patch up the harmed proteins and refold them correctly, extending the life of the cell…

The study focused on individual cells, but for whole organisms the finding could shed light on a link between stress and life span. ‘A little bit of stress can actually prolong life,’ says molecular biologist Richard Morimoto of Northwestern, a study coauthor. Mild stress activates the heat shock response but does not harm the cells, he adds.”

The heat shock response is regulated by a protein known as Sirtuin 1 that controls aging. So how do you set off the heat shock response and start getting younger faster? In species that have been tested so far — mice and dogs, it seems that a calorie-restricted diet does the trick. Great.

There are also the inevitable questions of benefits versus dangers that this research brings up. Read the whole story here.

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