Study finds aging starts before birth
A new study has found that aging may begin even before we are born, in the womb.
The University of Cambridge-led team made this determination by exposing rats to situations similar to those faced by pregnant women.
They then examined the protective ends of chromosomes called telomeres which deteriorate with age.
To simulate a reduction in oxygen available to the fetal baby due to a high altitude or smoking mother, researchers placed gestating rats in an environment with seven percent less oxygen.
Once these babies were born, they were found to have the aging indicators of shorter telomeres and blood vessel problems, which exposed them to an earlier risk of heart disease.
Both groups of infants—with and without standard oxygen levels—benefitted when the mother was given antioxidant supplements while pregnant.
Healthy habits during gestation can also help to positively influence the child's "future heart health."