MBIs or mind-body interventions like yoga, Tai Chi and meditation will not only relax you, but they are able to reverse molecular reactions found in your DNA which may even cause depression and ill-health, according to one study conducted by Radboud and Coventry universities.
This research, which has been published in Frontiers in Immunology, reviewed more than ten years of studies which analyzed how people’s genes behavior may be affected by several different practices like mindfulness, meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga.
Some experts from these two universities concluded that when the eighteen studies which featured 846 participants were examined together, they revealed one pattern in DNA molecular changes that occur to our bodies, resulting from such practices, and they also found how such changes benefit the physical and mental health.
The experts particularly focused on the way in which gene expressions were affected, or how the genes activate themselves in order to produce the proteins which affect the biological make-up of our body, immunity, and brain.
And here is how this works: When we are experiencing stressful events, our sympathetic nervous system or SNS flips on, so that our fight-or-flight” response will go into high-gear. During the early human days, this response has been the essential thing for people’s survival, right when danger was hiding behind walls. If we survived that event, our body systems return to their normal state quickly. Nowadays, in this modern and stressful world, the fight-or-flight mechanism may be overused, and that will result in health issues, usually as a risk of mental health problems or cancer.
However, once when the SNS gets activated, the production of the molecule named nuclear factor kappa B or NF-kB will increase. The molecule NF-kB has the responsibility to control the way of expressing our genes. The molecule also turns on those genes which make and then release proteins which are called cytokines and which cause inflammation or contribute to disease and illness.
According to the careful review, those people that are practicing MBIs regularly, exhibit opposite effects – a remarkable decrease in the production of inflammatory cytokines and NF-kB, which will lead to the reversal of pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern, and even reduces the risks of conditions and diseases related to inflammation.
The authors of the study say that inflammatory impacts of the fight-or-flight mechanism, which even serves to bolster the immunity temporarily, are going to play a significant role in the hunter-gather prehistory of humanity when the risk of wound infections was higher.
Nowadays, in this modern world, where stress usually lasts for longer periods and increases psychologically, pro-inflammatory gene expression may also be persistent; hence there is a greater possibility of causing medical and psychiatric problems.
The lead investigator from the Brain, Belief and Behavior Laboratory at the University of Coventry’s Center for Psychology, Behavior, and Achievement, named Ivana Buric said the following:
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 realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.
She continued, saying that such activities leave what is called molecular signature in the cells of people, which then reverses the impact that anxiety or stress has on their bodies by changing the way in which the genes are being expressed. Simply said, MBIs will cause people’s brains to steer their DNA processes together with the path that improves their wellbeing.
However, according to her, a lot of additional things have to be done in order to better understand the effects, for instance, how are they compared with some different health interventions such as nutrition or exercise.
The exciting and fascinating analysis also confirms what a lot of people already experienced in life: the mindful practices like meditation, Tai Chi and yoga, may ‘rewire’ us at a molecular level or also protect and heal us from mental health problems, addictions, and even cancer.
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