better to give than to receive

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Providing support to those close to you relieves stress, which in turn helps reduce inflammation.
  • This link between generosity and reduced inflammation is stronger in women.

In a month, it’s Christmas. The opportunity to please and offer gifts, but also to receive them. American researchers at Ohio State University suggest that giving is more beneficial for health than receiving. In a study published on November 11 in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity, they claim that it helps to have lower levels of chronic inflammation.

A positive relationship is a two-way street

Having family members, and / or close friends, is only beneficial for your health if you are there for them yourself. “Positive relationships may be associated with lower inflammation only for those who think they can provide more support in these relationships., adds Tao Jiang, lead author of the study. The key to remember here is that a positive relationship with a friend, family member, or spouse is a two-way street. Support must be mutual.”

Providing support to those close to you relieves stress, which in turn helps reduce inflammation. The study also found that this link between generosity and reduced inflammation is stronger in women. “This reflects the idea that social relationships are often seen as more important to women than to men., the conclusion Tao Jiang. But our sample size was not large enough to show it conclusively. We need to dig deeper into this question.”

A stronger association in women

To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from 1,054 adults aged 34 to 84. Each participant completed a questionnaire measuring their social integration. Questions focused on her dating status, how often they keep in touch with family and friends, and how often they attend social events or activities. In addition, each volunteer responded to another survey that asked them if they thought they could really count on their family, friends or spouse if they needed help and how willing they would be to help. if a loved one needed support.

Two years later, all of the participants returned for a blood test measuring interleukin-6 (IL-6), a marker for systemic body inflammation. “Higher levels of IL-6 are associated with an increased risk for many of the most killer diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, suggests Dr. Baldwin Way, co-author of the study. This is why we thought it was important to find out why previous studies have found such weak evidence for the link between social support and lower inflammation..”

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