How Good Friendships Can Literally Save Your Life

ThinkstockPhotos-450451741“Friends, how many of us have them…,” are the famous lines from the legendary hip-hop group, Whodini.  The song was catchy, but it also spoke to power of friends, good or bad.  But there’s actually medical proof that good friends can be healthy–seriously!

So go ahead and grab your girlfriends and your boy’s and see how friends assist with our health and can actually let us live longer.

Fights Cancer
One such study, reported in the journal Cancer, followed 61 women with advanced ovarian cancer. Those with ample social support had much lower levels of a protein linked to more aggressive types of cancer. Lower levels of the protein, known as interleukin 6, or IL-6, also boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Women with weak social support had levels of IL-6 that were 70% higher in general, and two-and-a-half times higher in the area around the tumor.

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In 1989, David Spiegel, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, published a landmark paper in Lancet. It showed that women with breast cancer who participated in a support group lived twice as long as those who didn’t. They also had much less pain.

Fights Cardiovascular Disease

“People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol — a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. “Why? The evolutionary argument maintains that humans are social animals, and we have evolved to be in groups. We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to