As per a new study, longevity hormone is lower in stressed and depressed women. Women under chronic stress have significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates aging and enhances cognition, researchers at UC San Francisco have found in a study comparing mothers of children on the autism spectrum to low-stress controls.
The researchers found that the women in their study with clinically significant depressive symptoms had even lower levels of klotho in their blood than those who were under stress but not experiencing such symptoms.
The study is the first to show a relationship between psychological influences and klotho, which performs a wide variety of functions in the body.
Lead author Aric Prather said that the findings suggest that klotho, which they now know is very important to health, could be a link between chronic stress and premature disease and death, adding that since the study is observational, they cannot say that chronic stress directly caused lower klotho levels, but the new connection opens avenues of research that converge upon aging, mental health, and age-related diseases.
Scientists know from their work in mice and worms that, when klotho is disrupted, it promotes symptoms of aging, such as hardening of the arteries and the loss of muscle and bone, and when klotho is made more abundant, the animals live longer.
Senior author Dena Dubal said that chronic stress transmits risk for bad health outcomes in aging, including cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease, adding that it will be important to figure out if higher levels of klotho can benefit mind and body health as women age.
Dubal added that if so, therapeutics or lifestyle interventions that increase the longevity hormone could have a big impact on people’s lives.
The study is published in Translational Psychiatry.