Having More Children May Lead to Longer Life

As strange as the title seems, so is the recent discovery made by the researchers at Simon Fraser’s University. According to the study, the number of children a woman has gives an idea about her ageing process. The study was conducted on 75 women from two neighboring indigenous rural Guatemalan communities. The number of children born to them and the length of the telomeres were assessed. The length of the telomeres was recorded twice, about 13 years apart. Previous studies have proved that the length of telomere is indicative of cellular ageing. This study showed that slower the pace of telomere shortening, longer are the telomeres and longer is the life. The researchers suggest the possible cause to be the high estrogen content during pregnancy. Estrogen’s ability to act as an antioxidant and protect cells against telomere shortening could be coming into play in this case. However, the study results contradict the life history theory which states higher number of children leads to faster biological ageing.

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