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new study suggests that marital bliss has beneficial health effects. research is from Carnegie Mellon University in USA. It concludes that being married reduces your levels of stress hormone called cortisol. Researchers tested for cortisol in saliva of 572 adults aged 21-55 on three different, non-consecutive days. Multiple saliva samples were taken throughout each 24-hour period. researchers found that the married people in sample had less cortisol than people who were single, separated, divorced or widowed. researchers said: "Married people tend to be healthier than both previously and never married, but mechanisms through which this occurs remain unclear."

stress hormone cortisol has many different functions in our body. It regulates blood sugar levels, immune responses and inflammation and can increase risk of heart disease. It also increases chances of surviving cancer. High levels of cortisol have been linked to mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. Laboratory Director Sheldon Cohen said: "These data provide important insights into way in which our intimate social relationships can get under the skin to influence our health." Researcher Brian Chin added: "It is exciting to discover physiological pathway that may explain how relationships influence health and disease."

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