STRESS MYTHS: TRUE OR FALSE?

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

STRESS TURNS YOUR HAIR GREY

This is prob­a­bly true. Af­ter all, we’ve seen coun­try lead­ers go grey within weeks of tak­ing of­fice. The sub­ject hasn’t been stud­ied much, but a paper pub­lished in

Na­ture in 2013 did find that hor­mones pro­duced in re­sponse to stress can cause the melanocyte stem cells that de­ter­mine hair colour to leave our hair fol­li­cles.

STRESS WILL GIVE YOU STOM­ACH ULCERS

Nope. Com­mon stom­ach ulcers are caused by an in­fec­tion by Heli­cobac­ter

py­lori bac­te­ria, not by stress. How­ever, stress and other lifestyle fac­tors like drink­ing al­co­hol and eat­ing spicy food may make ex­ist­ing ulcers worse.

STRESS GIVES YOU WRINKLES

Prob­a­bly true. At the end of our chro­mo­somes is a pro­tec­tive cap of DNA called a telom­ere. Telom­eres shorten as we age, and stud­ies have shown that stress can pre­ma­turely shorten telom­eres, speed­ing up the age­ing process. One study showed that long-term anxiety caused by pho­bias was linked with short­ened telom­ere length, sug­gest­ing that stress might ac­cel­er­ate age­ing.

A POST-WORK DRINK HELPS YOU DE-STRESS

Wrong again. There’s ev­i­dence that peo­ple who re­port high lev­els of stress tend to drink more. In the short-term, al­co­hol can help you re­lax and take your mind off trou­bles. But stud­ies in­di­cate that reg­u­larly us­ing booze to de-stress has the op­po­site ef­fect – your body becomes im­mune to al­co­hol’s ef­fects and stress hor­mone lev­els rise.

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