According to a new study published in the journal eLife, men with stress, depression, and higher BMI, age faster.
Ageing can be measured in two ways; chronological measurement, where the date of birth is given priority, or using other measurements including the length of telomeres, observing the chemical changes to our DNA and changes to the protein and metabolites in our body.
Researchers who conducted the study observed if a composite biological clock outperforms the individual biological clocks in predicting health.
They collected the blood samples of 2,981 individuals aged 18–65 who took part in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. Among these participants, 74 per cent had a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, an anxiety disorder, or both, and 26 per cent were healthy participants.
Computer modelling was applied in the study to create individual biological ageing indicators based on five measurements: epigenetics, telomere length, gene levels, metabolites and proteomics. These five indicators were then linked to sex and lifestyle factors, including physical and mental disorders like depression.
"To develop a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying biological ageing, we wanted to examine how indicators of biological ageing relate to each other, how they link to determinants of physical and mental health, and whether a combined biological clock, made up of all age indicators, is a better predictor of health," said Dr Rick Jansen, lead author and a professor in the department of psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC, Netherlands.
The most consistent associations of advanced biological ageing were found to be for the male sex with higher body mass index (BMI), metabolic syndrome, smoking, and depression, suggesting that a person's biological age is linked to both mental and physical health.