The latest—and likely most convincing—reason to end the anti-aging obsession once and for all? It’s literally (scientifically speaking) impossible. And trying to stay young forever could actually be really, really bad for your body.
In new research that examined anti-aging efforts, scientists found halting the process just doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try. “Aging is mathematically inevitable—like, seriously inevitable. There’s logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out,” said Joanna Masel, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, in a press release.
“Aging is mathematically inevitable—like, seriously inevitable. There’s logically, theoretically, mathematically no way out.” —Joanna Masel, evolutionary biology professor
Still clinging to hope that despite all logic, the fountain of youth is still out there, just waiting to be found? After digging deeper into the topic of anti-aging, researchers found it’s possible to eliminate poorly performing cells that lose function with age (leading to effects like diminished hair color or hair loss) in favor of keeping only superpowered, high-functioning cells. But, there’s a major downfall: The high-functioning cells are linked to cancer.
“As you age, most of your cells are ratcheting down and losing function, and they stop growing as well. But some of your cells are growing like crazy,” said lead study author Paul Nelson, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona. “This forms a catch-22. If you get rid of those poorly functioning, sluggish cells, then that allows cancer cells to proliferate, and if you get rid of, or slow down, those cancer cells, then that allows sluggish cells to accumulate. So you’re stuck between allowing these sluggish cells to accumulate or allowing cancer cells to proliferate, and if you do one, you can’t do the other. You can’t do them both at the same time.”
But just because there’s no way to stop aging in its tracks doesn’t mean you can’t slow the process, Masel said. So eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, and let your brows grow out. Maybe you can’t stop time, but by taking care of your body, you can get a lot more of it.