Regular deep meditation practiced for several years may help regulate the gut microbiome and potentially reduce the risk of poor physical and mental health, says an open access journal. We found a small comparative study published in general psychiatry.
Gut microbes found in a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks differ significantly from those of their secular neighbors and are associated with lower risk of anxiety, depression and depression. cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that the gut microbiota can influence mood and behavior through the gut-brain axis.This includes the body immune responsehormone signaling, stress response and the vagus nerve—A major component of the parasympathetic nervous system that oversees a range of vital bodily functions.
The significance of the group and specimen design is that these deep-thinking Tibetan monks can serve as representatives of some of the deeper meditations. Rare because of the location.
Meditation is increasingly used to treat mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, traumatic stress, eating disorders, and chronic pain. It’s not clear. gut microbiotasays the researchers.
To find out, researchers analyzed stool and blood sample 37 Tibetan Buddhist monks from three temples and 19 secular residents of neighboring areas.
Tibetan Buddhist meditation originates from the ancient Indian medical system known as Ayurveda and is a form of psychological training, researchers say. The monks in this study practiced it at least two hours a day for three to thirty years.
None of the participants used drugs that could alter the abundance and diversity of gut microbes. probiotics; prebiotics; or antifungal medications in the last 3 months.
Both groups were age-matched, but blood pressure, Heart rateand diet.
Analysis of fecal samples revealed significant differences in microbial diversity and abundance between monks and their neighbors.
bacteroides When Firmicutes As expected, species predominated in both groups.But bacteroides was significantly enriched (29% vs. 4%) in a monk stool sample, which was also abundant in Prevotella (42% versus 6%) and a large amount Megamonas When Faecalibacterium.
“Together, some bacteria enriched in the meditation group [have been] Associated with reduction in mental illness, suggesting meditation may affect certain bacteria mental health’” wrote the researcher.
These include Prevotella, Bacteroides, Megamonas When Faecalibacterium species, a previously published study suggests.
Researchers then applied advanced analytical techniques to predict the chemical processes that microbes may be influencing. This indicated that in addition to metabolism (the conversion of food into energy), several protective anti-inflammatory pathways were enhanced in meditative people..
Finally, blood sample analysis showed that monks had significantly lower levels of factors associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, such as total cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, than their secular neighbors. rice field. intestinal microbes.
Although a comparative study, it was an observational study, had a small number of participants, were all male, and lived at high altitudes, making it difficult to draw firm or generalizable conclusions. health effects could only be inferred from previously published studies.
However, based on their findings, the researchers suggest that the role of meditation in helping prevent or treat psychosomatic disorders deserves further study.
“These results suggest that long-term deep meditation may have beneficial effects on the gut microbiome, allowing the body to maintain optimal health.
For more information:
changes in fecal microbiota balance associated with prolonged deep meditation, general psychiatry (2023). DOI: 10.1136/gpsych-2022-100893
british medical journal
Quote: Deep Meditation May Change Gut Microbes for Better Health (17 Jan 2023)
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