Wanna estimate how fast cells of a woman are aging? Count the number of eggs she has in her ovaries. New Scientist reports: ”This in turn will reflect her heart disease risk.” Women right from when they are born carry all their eggs, and a decline in these numbers starts menopause, and from here onwards the risk of developing heart disease increases. Women who experience menopause before they’re 46 years old are at twice the risk as women who undergo menopause at a normal age. This has until now linked to cholesterol, body fat redistribution, and blood pressure increases — but possibly it’s something more basic.

graafian-follicle

“Perhaps women who go through menopause early are intrinsically aging at a different rate,” Marcelle Cedars from the University of California, San Francisco, tells New Scientist.

So, Cedars and team took samples of around 1,100 women ages 25 through 45 who have not gone through menopause until now, thereafter measured the amount of anti-Müllerian hormone that’s present. This hormone shows how many eggs are in the ovaries, and the team verified this by deploying ultrasound to count the ovarian follicles, or the sacs around the eggs

Thereafter, the researchers studied the length of the telomeres in the participants’ white blood cells. Telomeres found at the ends of our chromosomes are the timekeepers of our cells. They shorten whenever our cells divide, and their length is a measure of biological age.

After five years, the researchers scored heart disease risk for 250 of these women around some risk factors like: cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood pressure. Here are the team’s findings: ”Women with lower egg counts are at a higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years, and they carry shorter telomeres. In simple words – women carrying fewer eggs are more at risk of age-related diseases.” ”We are certain that ovary is more sensitive to the processes of aging,” Cedars says, making it a canary in a coal mine for accelerated aging.