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Having a Baby Can Age You on a Cellular Level

If you’re a harried and sleepless mom who believes having a baby aged you, a study of 821 women in the Philippines shows you may be right about the aging part, Healthline reports. Researchers found that, while being pregnant appears to make you look younger, pregnancy actually causes cellular aging that shortens telomeres and increases your epigenetic age. The good news is that while this process can age you by as much as 11 years, it may not be permanent.

The other good news is that whether you’re pregnant or not, there are lots of things you can do to feel younger and, perhaps, be younger as you age. For example, from the pregnancy standpoint, simply raising your vitamin D levels not only can help you be healthier — and thus feeling younger — but your baby, as well.

Unfortunately, many women are still unaware of this simple strategy, and many doctors are also underinformed. Aside from halving the risk for preterm birth, vitamin D optimization also reduces the mother's risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prenatal infections by approximately 50 percent.

Research also confirms there is a lifelong impact for children born of vitamin D-deficient mothers, ranging from childhood allergies and asthma to more frequent colds and flu, dental cavities, diabetes, autism and even strokes and cardiovascular disease in later life. All of these conditions can be reduced by optimizing vitamin D during pregnancy.

When it comes to telomeres and our epigenetic clocks, what we do know is that your lifestyle is your longevity switch. Science clearly shows a cyclical ketogenic diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbs promotes healthy mitochondrial function. A number of other strategies are also known to boost mitochondrial health, and I discuss several of them in my last book, "Fat for Fuel," as well as in my latest book, “Superfuel.”

Research also shows you can slow down telomere shortening with exercise. It basically buffers the effect of chronic stress on telomere length, which helps explain some of its well-documented effects on health and longevity. Other studies have found there's a direct association between reduced telomere shortening in your later years and high-intensity-type exercises.
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