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Could Meditation Strengthen Your Immune System?

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A recent research follows a blood sample analysis that took pre- and post-meditation snapshots of genetic activity among more than 100 men and women.

The study involved 106 men and women, average age 40. All had enrolled in a meditation retreat conducted at the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences in McMinnville, Tennessee.

Multiple blood samples were drawn from all the participants at several times: 5-8 weeks before the retreat; just before the retreat began and 3 months after the retreat was completed.

The 8-day retreat provided all participants with vegan cuisine and all followed a regular sleep schedule. Meditation sessions lasted 10 hours a day and were conducted in silence.

The result: 3 months after the retreat’s conclusion, the researchers found an uptick in activity involving 220 immune-related genes, including 68 genes engaged in so-called “interferon signaling.”

The study authors pointed out that such signaling can be key to mounting an effective defense against various health conditions including cancer or multiple sclerosis; given that interferon proteins effectively act as immune system triggers.

The apparent impact on molecular activity seen among retreat participants held up even after accounting for both diet and sleep patterns, the researchers noted, though the findings do not definitively prove that meditation caused gene changes to occur.

The findings suggest meditation could someday be folded into newly developed behavioral therapies designed to maintain brain health and modify currently irreversible neurological diseases.

 

Credit: Private MD Labs

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