Meditation has always been considered as a way to find inner peace and support personal and spiritual development. Now it also shows to have beneficial advantages when it comes to our DNA as well.
The scientific part
The enzyme telomerase controls the length of telomeres, a protection cap that shields the ends of chromosomes. (1) The level of telomerase decreases if we are exposed to stress, or when we age. These low levels have been associated with the erosion of those protective telomeres, which in turn leads to tissue degeneration, or more exactly; cells stop dividing or self-destruct, brain cells die and stem cells retire.
Studies where a bio-engineered switch was created to reactivate the telomerase production, showed a remarkable rejuvenation in the treated mammal brains. The telomeres were lengthened, cells were returning to a growth state with reversed tissue degeneration and other organs started to return to normal, healthy states again. (2)
Do it yourself
Increasing the telomere length does not have to be the job of a laboratory, you can influence this on your own. Another study aimed to investigate whether a group of 10 men would show any changes in their telomere lengths after following a program consisting of changes to their diet, activity, stress management and social support. After 5 years when measuring the telomere length once again, there were very clear evidence, compared to the test group, that it had increased during this time period thanks to the lifestyle intervention made. As we all know by now, meditation has a positive effect on our stress levels, indicating that our telomere length increases when meditating. (3)
More proof of positive DNA outcome from meditation
When having a closer look at certain genes that are implicated in inflammation, after having the test persons doing mindfulness meditations while the test group performed other silent activities, the analysis showed an obvious down-regulation in those pro-inflammatory genes with the test group only.
The conclusion drawn was that meditation inhibits inflammation, which in turn leads to faster recovery from a stressful situation and also prove that our genes are responsive to mindfulness-based training.
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