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British Study Links Steroid Hormone to Higher Life Expectancy

A group of British researchers have linked an innate hormone found in the human body called ‘DHEAS’ (Dehydroepiandrosterone) with higher life expectancy.

DHEAS is a steroid hormone made by our adrenal glands. This hormone plays a role in improving memory and strengthening the immune system. It also aids in weight loss, helps maintain cardiovascular health and increases HDL levels, thus preventing obesity. The rate of production of the hormone is greatest in childhood and teenage years, before gradually declining through adult life.

Sir Michael Marmot and his colleagues from the University College London looked at hormone levels in the blood samples of more than 10,000 men aged over 50 years. The study subjects were being observed since year 2004. The research suggested that DHEAS levels were augmented in those who led an active life or those who have a better lifestyle, which typically comes with being wealthy.

“The findings could pave the way for new class of drugs, patches or injections which will help boost the DHEAS level. But, it’s too early to say higher level of DHEAS is a result of being rich,” said lead author, Sir Marmot.

“But, factors such as a better diet, greater control over life, less stress, more travel and involvement in the wider world through hobbies, sport or other interests, which all are benefits of wealth — seem to be encouraging the body to create DHEAS,” he said.

He said that popping up a pill to improve DHEAS levels was not a solution as “it is a much bigger issue and involves the package of choices that wealth opens up.”

The study also found that wealthier people had higher levels of another hormone – IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor I). DHEAS along with IGF-I helps regulate the body and control reactions to stress.

The English Longitudinal Study of Aging, or ELSA, is a comprehensive study into the economic, social, psychological and health elements of the aging process in Europe and it depicts a detailed picture of the lives of people in England aged 50 and over.

Read more about DHEAS and increasing life expectancy

Maria Konovalenko


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