Longevity Blog

Meditation: a Potent Antioxidant

 

The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.

Napoléon Bonaparte

 

In a world where psychological stress is ever present and long lasting, the frequency and duration of inflammation have increased and become more persistent, resulting in greater medical risks. Constant stress is linked to chronic inflammation at the cellular level and DNA damage, which can lead to serious health consequences, such as higher risk of cancer, accelerated aging and psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety. With chronic stress, quality of life and wellbeing are obliterated.

Relaxation is a known outcome when people perform yoga, meditation, mindfulness or Tai Chi. Studies have shown that meditation and other mind-body interventions result in a lot more outcomes than simply relaxing the body and mind. According to some studies, these activities have the ability to reverse the effects of stress and anxiety in our bodies, leaving a “molecular signature” in our cells and rewriting the DNA process towards wellbeing. Meditation suppresses chronic inflammation.

Meditation helps the immune system perform its functions. For example, it has been verified that the reduction of CD4 T cells during advanced HIV conditions can lead it to AIDS. Meditation can halt or even reverse the loss of these helper cells. Even a short program in mindfulness meditation has shown to alter brain function and immune response. Meditation also improves stress, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and antioxidant defense.

Meditation can also alter gene expression, by decreasing the expression of cancer related genes, for example. Meditation has a powerful effect on telomere length and, consequently, on aging and longevity. Telomere shortens naturally as we age and it can be accelerated by stress, speeding up the aging process. Shorter telomere length in cells is associated with rapid aging, poorer immune system functioning, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative conditions. The shorter the length of our telomeres, the more susceptible our cells are to disease and death, as we get older. This damage can be reduced and potentially reversed with meditative practices, as shown in breast cancer survivors.

Considering that our thoughts and emotions directly affect our cells, tissues and organs, thoughts are a direct determinant of our health and quality of life. Meditation, by quieting the mind, reveals significant capabilities to reverse molecular responses that open a door of possibilities in minimizing disease and conquering long term health.

 

Sources:

Coventry University. “Meditation and yoga can ‘reverse’ DNA reactions which cause stress, new study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615213301.htm>.Creswell, J. David et al. “Mindfulness Meditation Training Effects on CD4+ T Lymphocytes in HIV-1 Infected Adults: A Small Randomized Controlled Trial.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 23.2 (2009): 184–188. PMC. Web. 29 Oct. 2017.

http://aibolita.com/dietetics/27282-meditation-and-yoga-to-combatstress-and-improve-antioxidant-defense.html

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615213301.htm

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sonimacom/the-science-of-meditations-effects-on-aging_b_8688678.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12883106

https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-reduces-free-radicals-in-the-body/

 

 

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