Credit: © Microgen / Fotolia

Credit: © Microgen / Fotolia

Yoga and meditation reverse DNA reactions that cause depression

Yoga and meditation reverse DNA reactions that cause depression, according to a new study from the universities of Coventry and Radboud.

The research reviews over a decade of studies dedicated to how our genes are affected by practices like yoga and medtiation.

The researchers concluded that the group of studies revealed molecular changes that occur as a result of yoga and meditation, and how these changes benefits mental and physical health.

The scientists focused on how genes activate to produce proteins that affect the body, brain, and immune system.

When a person goes through a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is stimulated, which increases production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) which regulates how our genes are expressed.

However, according to the study, those who practiced yoga and meditation had the opposite effect. They had less production of NF-kB – molecules which increase the risk of cancer and depression.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from the Brain, Belief and Behaviour Lab in Coventry University’s Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement said:

Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don’t realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.

More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition. But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.”

The study showing that yoga and meditation reverse DNA reactions that cause depression was published in the journal Frontiers In Immunology.

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1. “Meditation and Yoga Can ‘reverse’ DNA Reactions Which Cause Stress, New Study Suggests.” Coventry University. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2017.

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