Depression may have harmful effects on more than just the mind per the latest findings. Physical conditions linked to depression typically include heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, new research has shown that it may accelerate the way a person ages at a cellular level.
A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry showcased the way investigators from the Netherlands utilized protective caps from the chromosome and how the ends are shortened when the cells are divided. This impact determined the effects of depression on the aging process. The telomeres length has always been used as a marker to determine the age of the cell, with animals and humans being shown to have the shorter versions.
The study divided over 2,000 adult participants into groups of three. They consisted of individuals who previous were diagnosed with a depressive disorder, people currently struggling with the illness and those who never experienced any form of depression. After controlling factors such as alcohol, consumption, smoking, nutrition and weight were considered, the people with a history of depression were found to house shorter telomeres than others in the group. The stronger the depression; the shorter the length in telomeres.
When compared with depressed participants to those healthy, you’ll find the individuals with depression to be at 5,460 bp compared to the healthier people in the group who were at 5,540 bp. The telomeres can also shorten by as much as 14 and 20 bp per the latest findings. Depression can play a significant role on the wear and tear of the human body and result in an accelerated rate of biological aging.
This study merely found a correlation between depression, and the length of the telomere and future studies will be needed to determine the exact relationship. While depression might be an important trigger for cellular damage by shortening the telomeres, it hasn’t been proven to shorten a person’s life span. More research will be needed to determine clinical relevance.