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

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

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