Yoga and meditation reduce the risk of cancer

June 19, 2017  10:50

Researchers from the universities of Coventry and Radboud analysed 18 studies with 846 participants conducted over 11 years.

Studies were included in the analysis if they measured gene expression after a MBI.

Results revealed people who practice MBIs produce significantly lower amounts of molecules that activate inflammation-causing genes.

These molecules are released after a stressful event due to the 'fight or flight' response.

Inflammation has been linked to cancer, accelerated ageing and poor mental health.

Ms Buric 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.'

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

The researchers believe the inflammation-causing fight-or-flight response, which is involved in wound healing, would have played an important role when we were hunter-gatherers due to there being a higher risk of infection from wounds.

Today, however, when stress is often long term and more internal than injury-related, inflammation-causing gene expression can be persistent and cause medical problems.

Ms Buric said: '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.'



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