Hormone is secret elixir of life

October 21st, 2010 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 21 (IANS) A hormone naturally created in the body could be the elixir of life, scientists believe.

According to a study of thousands of over-50s, the hormone known as DHEAS makes you live longer and is more plentiful the wealthier you are. Research suggests that in future tablets, patches or injections could boost the DHEAS level.

Leading a more fulfilling life could have a similar effect, says Michael Marmot, who led the research at the University College London, the Daily Mail reported.

Higher levels are associated with both greater amounts of exercise and an active life with lots of pastimes, interests, friends and family - all of which tend to come with wealth.

The hormone is secreted by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys.
Production is greatest in childhood and teenage years, before gradually declining through adult life. By the age of 80 it could be just 10 percent of the peak teen level.

Having more DHEAS in the body is linked to a better memory and ability to cope with
mental tasks, particularly in men.

The research also found higher levels of a second hormone, the insulin-like growth
factor I (IGF-I), in those who are better off.

The two hormones help control reactions to stress and regulate various body processes including digestion, the immune system, mood and energy usage.

Marmot believes the benefits of wealth, which include a better diet, greater control over life, less stress, more travel and involvement in the wider world through hobbies, sport or other interests will encourage the body to create DHEAS.

The study was carried out by University College London for the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Hormone levels were measured by taking blood samples from more than 10,000 people aged over 50, who have been monitored since 2004.

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