Meditation can change the human genome

An international group of scientists was the first to identify a biological mechanism underlying the therapeutic effect of deep meditation.

Scientists have found that deep meditation is able to save people from diseases by modifying the organism at the genetic and molecular level.

The researchers found that in just eight hours of meditation in the body there are specific changes at the genetic and molecular level. The paper was published in the journal psychoneuroendocrinology is.

The authors – experts from the University of Wisconsin (USA), Institute of biomedical research (Barcelona, Spain) and the Center for neurological research Institute INSERM (Lyon, France) – studied the effect of a day spent in “meditation clear mind”, the group of 19 experienced meditators.

“Meditation clear mind” — a state of impartial awareness of what is happening. In this form of meditation the person is oriented to focus on your breathing and bodily sensations, quietly flowing through his uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.

The control group consisted of 21 people with no experience of meditation. They were asked to engage in quiet non-meditative classes in the same environment. All participants before and after the experiment determined the expression levels of genes associated with circadian rhythms, chromatin modification and inflammation reaction in mononuclear cells of peripheral blood. In addition, both groups have undergone special tests to evaluate indicators of stress resistance of the organism.

At the start of the expression levels of the investigated genes in both groups of participants was approximately the same. However, it was found, eight hours of deep meditation raised several genes deacetylase histone HDAC that epigeneticist regulate the activity of other genes, and Pro-inflammatory genes RIPK2 and COX2. The expression levels of all these genes turned out the meditators reduced compared to the control group. The decrease in gene expression of RIPK2 and HDAC2, the researchers found, is associated with faster physical recovery of the body after the release of the hormone cortisol in a situation of social stress – for example, when you need off the cuff to speak in public, reports MedPortal.

The fact that the changes did not affect other genes, suggests that meditation affects only some specific regulatory paths involved in the mechanisms underlying its therapeutic potential, the authors note. “Changes are observed in genes that are typically targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, so the results are a base for future study the possibility of applying meditative practices to therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases,” the authors say.

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