In news that's guaranteed to rock your Thursday, a study has suggested that the more children a woman has, the slower she'll age. I know, we're confused too...
According to a study conducted by researchers at Simon Fraser University in 2016, the number of children a woman gives birth to can have an effect on the rate at which her body ages - slowing the process down. Health sciences professor Pablo Nepomnaschy and postdoctoral researcher Cindy Barha led the study, which looked at the correlation between the number of children born to a woman and the length of her telomere.
A telomere is the protective tip at the end of each strand of DNA, and is key in the ageing process. As humans age, telomeres naturally get shorter, and shorter telomeres are the main cause of the age-related breakdown of cells because once they become too short, those cells can no longer reproduce.
The study, which evaluated 75 indigenous Guatemalan women over the course of 13 years, found that the women who gave birth to more children had longer telomeres.
“The slower pace of telomere shortening found in the study participants who have more children, however, may be attributed to the dramatic increase in estrogen, a hormone produced during pregnancy,” Nepomnaschy told Science Daily. “Estrogen functions as a potent antioxidant that protects cells against telomere shortening,” he added.
Well, this has really given us a lot to consider.