Recent study shows the benefits of Mind-Body interventions
New Study has examined the positive effects of yoga and meditation on DNA and gene expression. The study revealed that meditation and yoga reversed the harmful stress and anxiety related molecular reactions within the DNA.
The study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology reviewed decades of research into how Mind-Body Interventions like meditation and yoga affect gene expression. The researchers noticed patterns in the molecular changes caused by yoga and meditation in over 18 different scientific studies that included over 846 participants over a span of 11 years. Researchers studied how gene expression is affected by these activities. Gene expression is how specific genes activate to make proteins that affect the body. The review studied a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) that is produced when a person is exposed to a stressful event. The body triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) which activates the “Fight or Flight” mode in response to stressful events. This in turn ramps up the production of NF-kb in the body. The molecule NF-kb processes stress by activating genes to produce cytokines, a type of protein. Cytokines cause inflammation in the body at a cellular level. This mechanism is believed to have been useful as an evolutionary response to stressful events. Ideally, this mechanism doesn’t last long but persistent stress causes this mechanism to go into overdrive. This increases harmful inflammation in the body leading to a higher risk of ailments like cancer and psychological disorders like depression.
The study noted that people that practiced Mind-Body Interventions like yoga and meditation had reduced levels of NF-kB and cytokines. This reversal of inflammatory mechanisms of the body in turn reduced the risk of cancer and other ailments in people that engaged in these MBI’s. The authors of the study speculate that this stress response and cellular inflammation must have been vital in human evolution during the Paleolithic era. However, in today’s modern society, psychological stress is extremely prevalent and persistent. Indeed, some experts feel this has attained epidemic proportions. This persistent stress leads to increase in cellular inflammation in the body which in turn increases the risk of physical and mental ailments.
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