Kids or Smoking? Which One Ages You Quicker?

Most moms have felt so exhausted and worn out that their bodies didn’t feel like their own anymore. New research shows that having kids could actually change a woman’s DNA. Scientists from George Mason University in Virginia studied how motherhood affects a woman at a cellular level, focusing on telomeres…which are important parts of our cells that affect how our cells age.

These telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect the chromosomes, like those plastic tips protect the end of shoelaces. As we get older, our telomeres get shorter, so longer telomeres are associated with better health and living longer. And new research on 2,000 women between the ages of 20 and 44 shows that the telomeres of moms are as short as women 11 years older who never had kids.

Even researchers admit they’re surprised by the striking results. They found women who had five or more kids had shorter telomeres than moms who’ve had one, two, three, or even four kids, too. And there was more shortening of telomeres in moms than from smoking or being overweight. So take care of yourselves, mamas - you’re already older than you actually are.

Source: New York Post

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