Does stress cause cell death?

While more research is needed, current findings suggest that stress does impact the health and function of your cells.


When your cells die, it isn’t always a bad thing; sometimes it’s the result of a planned process that your body carries out to keep things working optimally. But sometimes, cell death can be the result of cell stress – which simply means that your cells are experiencing too much pressure and are becoming damaged. When this happens, a range of processes can occur which, ultimately, remove these damaged cells from your body.

If you’d like to learn about the different types of cellular death, what causes them – and why some types are healthier than others, keep reading.

What leads to cell death?

When your cells die, it can be the result of multiple different processes. Cell apoptosis is one common cause - and it’s a natural one intentionally carried out by your body. Also known as programmed cell death, apoptosis is the name for a type of cellular death that happens when cells are cleared from your body in a way that avoids damaging your tissues. This type of cell death is caused by biochemical processes within your body in combination with changes to your cell structure. Apoptosis isn’t a bad thing – it helps your body to continue running as it should.

Necrosis, on the other hand, is an occurrence that contrasts with this programmed cell death. Necrosis is the name given to a process that happens when the death of your cells isn’t controlled – it's the result of unplanned, irreversible cell damage. Several things can cause necrosis - including health issues, physical injuries and lack of oxygen. When a cell dies this way, things can get a bit chaotic. It can cause cell fragments to break away and damage your body tissues.

Another common cause of cell death is autophagy. Put simply, this is a type of cleanse that your body goes through to recycle cells – and it’s quite impressive. The autophagy process involves removing the damaged parts of your cells and recycling the functional parts of your cells to create new, healthy cells.

Woman doing yoga

Does stress cause cell damage?

We’ve spoken about how cell stress can lead to cell death – but what about when you feel stressed? While clinical trials are needed to confirm this, researchers believe chronic stress affects mitochondria: the batteries that provide your cells with the energy they need to function. Animal studies have shown that acute stress harms mitochondria and influences mitochondrial function within the brain. While more research is needed, current findings suggest that stress does impact the health and function of your cells. So, to keep your cells running optimally, it’s a good idea to manage your stress levels. If you’d like some ideas on how to do this, check out: 8 Ways To Cope With Stress In A Healthy Way

What causes cellular stress?

Other than psychological stress, several environmental and lifestyle factors can cause cellular stress. Examples of cellular stress causes include aging, smoking, UV rays, environmental factors and poor lifestyle habits. While some of these stressors are avoidable, others – like aging – are impossible to dodge. This is because, as you age, your body's natural antioxidant defenses decrease. Without these defenses, your cells become increasingly vulnerable to stress and damage caused by free radicals. When this happens, it affects you on a foundational level: if your cells aren’t functioning at their best, neither are you.

How does MitoQ combat cell stress?

Hundreds of studies and several clinical trials have investigated MitoQ’s ability to fight cell stress – and they’ve found that it works. By getting into your cells, MitoQ combats the free radicals that threaten to damage and kill your cells. In doing so, researchers have found that MitoQ can support human health in numerous ways: including heart health, cycling performance and leg extension power in older adults.

Browse the MitoQ range


Cell health and adrenal function: how are they linked?

The adrenal glands play a central role in managing your stress response. Learn how you can support your adrenal function to help improve the way your body responds to stress.

Read more

Cell floating


Cellular nutrition and how cells respond to stress

Your cells regularly encounter environmental and intracellular stressors that trigger cellular stress responses.

Read more