The secret to living longer only mums of multiple kids will ever know
The magic potion contains your own genes. Any guesses, mums?
I have two very active sons and I swear after an extra-hectic day of running after them, I feel like I've aged by at least a year.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across evidence from not one, but two new studies that show that mums with more kids than one could slow down the rate their bodies age.
Mums with more kids age slower? The first study
This study examined how quickly a woman's body ages, and of course it's easy to assume that the more babies a woman has, the faster her body ages. Not true!
Over a period of 13 years, the telomeres (the protective tips at the end of each DNA strand) of 75 women from two neighboring indigenous rural Guatemalan communities were examined.
Longer telomeres are associated with longevity, and researchers were surprised to discover that the mums in the study who had more kids had longer telomeres.
"The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children...may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy," lead researcher Pablo Nepomnaschy explains.
"Estrogen functions as a potent antioxidant that protects cells against telomere shortening."
But he also added one very important point: "The women we followed over the course of the study were from natural fertility populations, where mothers who bear numerous children receive more social support from their relatives and friends.
"Greater support leads to an increase in the amount of metabolic energy that can be allocated to tissue maintenance, thereby slowing down the process of aging."
Putting it simply, if you try to raise many children without support you'll have shorter telomeres...
The second study
Mums of twins, you're next in line to live forever (please stop laughing, it's true!). Another study shows that you are superwoman in reality because you, dear mum, are genetically stronger than others.
This research from the University of Utah, and published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicates that very healthy women may have evolved to pass on double their genes at one go, i.e., they are more likely to have twins.
This phenomenon is relevant in particular to mums of fraternal twins, which can be hereditary.
Study researcher Shannen Robson said, "We expected that since most humans have one baby at a time, having two would be really burdensome. But the researchers found just about the opposite was true from a longevity standpoint. [Twins] are an identifier of these women who are remarkable, physically exceptional people."
The study involved 58,786 women from the Utah Population Database. Researchers found out at that mums of twins lived longer, could bear children for more years, took less time to recover between pregnancies and had more kids.
So go forth and procreate mummies, for your kids are your fountain of youth!
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