Depression accelerates the aging of human cells by shortening its special sections of DNA that protect the molecule from damage. This is stated in an article published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal.
Mental anguish experienced by people suffering from depression, significantly aggravate “fraying” of the human body, accelerating its aging .
Scientists have measured the length of telomeres in about 1,900 people suffering from major depressive disorder at some time in their lives, and 500 people who were not likely to be depressed. The age of the participants was 18-65 years.
Telomeres are the end portions of chromosomes located in the nucleus of every cell in the human body. Telomeres protect DNA from damage. With each cell division, they become shorter when their length is not sufficient for the new division, the cell dies.
The scientists have found that telomeres in those who suffer from depressive disorders, were shorter than in healthy participants. At the same time, the stronger were the symptoms of a mental disorder and the longer they are kept, the shorter telomeres were.
The researchers believe that their findings may explain why people who were depressed are more prone to diseases that usually come with age – dementia, cancer, diabetes type 2.