Social media took on a new level of importance during the pandemic—especially during lockdown.
For a lot of people, platforms like Facebook and Instagram emerged as key sources of information when headlines seemed to change by the second. Not to mention, these platforms kept people connected during a tumultuous and lonely time.
So, it’s not hard to see how social media has its benefits.
But—how much is too much?
Well, as I’ve reported here before, daily “doom-scrolling” can affect your mental health. And now, yet another new study has revealed it may contribute to the No. 1 root cause of most chronic disease…
Social media linked to chronic inflammation
A new study from the University of Buffalo recruited more than 250 undergraduate students, all between the ages of 18 and 24.
Researchers collected blood samples, while the participants submitted reports on their physical health and social media usage. (At the time the data was collected, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram were the most popular platforms.)
And get this: Subjects who used social media excessively happened to have higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Yes, the very same marker that points to chronic inflammation, and plays a role in everything from diabetes and heart disease to cancer.
Not only that, but results showed that high social media use also correlated to more health issues—including symptoms like headaches, chest pain, and back pain—as well as more frequent visits to the doctor or health center due to illness.
If this is what’s happening to the younger population—remember, these are college kids—just imagine how the same habits might affect the physical health of middle-aged and older adults.
Play it safe and sign off
Granted, these results only show a correlation—meaning they don’t prove that social media causes chronic inflammation and disease. And it could be true that people with more health problems are simply more likely to engage with social media excessively.
Plus, younger people in their late teens and early 20s are more prone to social media overuse—averaging about six hours a day of screentime.
But no matter your age or health status, I recommend taking the warning at face value. Start monitoring your social media use accordingly. Take scheduled breaks and fill that time with a different hobby, like cooking or taking a walk. Because like so many other forms of technology, the price of becoming too dependent could be higher than you think.
In fact, I devoted an entire feature to the risks of these modern crutches in the latest issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The dark side of staying plugged in”). So if you’re not a subscriber yet, consider signing up—and then signing off of social media for the rest of the day.
“Social media use tied to poor physical health.” Science Daily, 01/24/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220124103917.htm)