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Glucocorticoids increase the risk of dying early by 25 percent, scientists warn

Stress reduces the survival rate by 25 percent.

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Whatever is exposing you to glucocorticoids is going to shorten your life. The more hits you get, the worse your outcome.

A new study, carried out on Female baboons, found that Glucocorticoids that generate the “fight or flight” response increases the risk of dying younger, almost four or five years earlier than expected due to stress.

Representing around a 25 percent shorter lifespan of the average 19 years, scientists say the stress is caused by increased food and water scarcity, predators, illnesses, and parasites combined with raising infants.

Researchers studied 242 female baboons in Kenya for more than 20 years measuring stress hormones in their feces.

Females with higher levels of this group of hormones, called glucocorticoids, which generate the “fight or flight” response, tended to die younger.

Using a simulation of females that lived at opposite ends of the stress spectrum, the model showed an unstressed baboon would live five and a half years longer than a stressed one.

Dr. Fernando Campos, an assistant professor at the University of Texas San Antonio, said:

The simulations represent extreme values that are unlikely to be maintained throughout the females’ lives.

Nonetheless, the link between exposure to stress-associated hormones and survival is clear.

He added:

People have long hypothesized that glucocorticoids play a role in how long you live, but to our knowledge, this is the first direct evidence that chronic exposure to glucocorticoids strongly predicts survival in wild primates.

More than 14,000 fecal samples were used in the study, which was used for analysis as taking saliva or blood from monkeys is more likely to change their hormone levels.

Professor Susan Alberts, chair of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, said:

Whether it’s due to your environment or your genes or something that we are not measuring, having more glucocorticoids shortens your life.

Those are the things we know about, there’s a whole bunch of horrible things that happen to animals that we just can’t measure.

Whatever is exposing you to glucocorticoids is going to shorten your life. The more hits you get, the worse your outcome.

This chronic activation of the stress response leads to a caustic downstream physiological environment of not enough immune system, and not enough attention to maintenance.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances.

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