- Existing research suggests that the gut microbiome may affect health by influencing the gut-brain axis.
- Meditation is a spiritual practice that helps regulate your physical and psychological state.
- Despite this, there are limited studies that have fully explored the effects of meditation on the gut microbiome.
- Now, new research suggests that long-term practice of deep meditation can help maintain a balanced gut microbiome, which in turn can have positive effects on the body and health. . mental health.
According to a small comparative study published in general psychiatrylong-term and consistent deep meditation may modulate the gut microbiome, which may improve physical and mental health.
Meditation includes a variety of practices that promote the integration of mind and body. These techniques range from focusing and concentrating on a particular sensation to simply being present without judgment.
According to this new study, the gut microbiota of a group of 37 Tibetan Buddhist monks were significantly different from those of 19 local residents.
Previous studies in humans and rodents have shown that the abundant microbiota of monks anxiety, depressionand cardiovascular disease.
The importance of the gut-brain connection in maintaining balance is well known. However, in the last 15 years, the role of the microbiota as a major controller of gut-brain function has also been recognized, highlighting the importance of its unique function.
Dr. Adil MakboolA PhD from the Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, who was not involved in the study, explained the concept: medical news today.
He said, “Intestinal microbiota, IBD, fatty liver, Diabetes, and malignancy are now established as key discoveries. ”
“When we use the term ‘gut-brain axis’ we are talking about the neurotransmitter connection between the brain and the gut.” [the] The gut has its own nervous system, [the] enteric nervous system [the] The same neurotransmitters we see [the] brain. Therefore, many refer to it as the second brain of our body. And our gut microbiome influences this nervous system. ”
– Dr. Adil Makbool
“Thus, there is no denying that the gut microbiome is essential to health and can play an important role in the development of preventative strategies for chronic diseases. You can see the other connections you’re making in your gut,” said Dr. McBour.
According to researchers, Tibetan Buddhist meditation derives from the ancient Ayurvedic system, a method of psychological training.
The monks who participated in the study had engaged in a meditation practice for at least two hours each day for three to thirty years.
They examined stool and blood samples from 37 Tibetan Buddhist monks from three temples and 19 residents living in neighboring areas.
None of the participants took any substances that could alter the amount and type of gut bacteria. Antibioticsprobiotics, prebiotics, or antifungals in the past 3 months.
Both groups were matched. That is, they were equal in terms of age. blood pressureheart rate, diet.
The researchers described how certain bacteria, which were more common in the meditation group, were associated with a lower risk of mental illness in rodent and human studies.
This led them to speculate that meditation may affect certain bacteria that may be involved in mental health.
The researchers then used advanced analytical methods to predict chemical processes that microbes might be influencing.
This has revealed several anti-inflammatory pathways that protect against inflammation. inflammationthe process of converting food into energy, as well as metabolism, were enhanced in the meditation group.
Finally, analysis of blood samples showed that drug levels were associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. cholesterol and apolipoprotein B were significantly lower in monks compared to neighbors.
Dr. James Giordanoa professor at the Pellegrino Center for Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center, also said he was not involved in the study. MNT “This study highlights potential correlations between the meditation practices of Buddhist monks in the gut-brain axis in general and perhaps other enduring lifestyle factors, and more specifically in gut microbiota composition.” provide new insights into
“Such findings suggest that a variety of lifestyle, health, social, and environmental variables influence the gut-brain axis via both ‘top-down’ (brain-to-gut) and ‘bottom-up’ approaches.” A growing body of evidence suggests it is possible. The (gut-to-brain) mechanism may be important for regulating many physiological functions that promote and maintain health.
– Dr. James Giordano
Please note that this study is observational. That is, there may be differences between the non-meditative groups that explain differences in the microbiome.
The study also did not detail the mindfulness or meditation practices of the control group, and because the number of participants was small, all men, and lived at high altitudes, no firm or generalizable conclusions can be drawn. It was difficult to get out.
Participants were not evaluated for mental health or the presence of cardiovascular disease, so potential health effects could only be inferred from previously published studies in humans and rodents.
However, based on their findings, the researchers suggest that further investigation is needed into the role of meditation in preventing or treating disease.
“There is growing evidence that certain lifestyle experiences and practices of Tibetan monks can evoke and sustain health-enhancing benefits. Research is being conducted to demonstrate the positive effects of certain forms of meditation practice on neurological and psychophysiological function.”
Dr. James Giordano
Dr. McBour explained that meditation has been shown to have a significant impact on stress hormones, which may contribute to inflammation. Known for its relaxing effects on the brain .
Both stress hormones and inflammation can affect gut bacteria, and meditation practices may help balance these hormones, reduce inflammatory markers, and protect the gut microbiome. there is.
Both experts agree that more research is needed. However, Dr. Giordano emphasized his three important implications for patients and the general public for this study.
- The positive function of the gut-brain axis appears to be participatory, even if it does not directly contribute to psychological and physiological health.
- that meditation practice, and the effects of long-term meditation practice, can affect the gut-brain axis at both the cerebral (i.e. brain) and gut (i.e. gut) levels.
- Although dietary and lifestyle factors were briefly addressed in this study, the potential of genetics, environment, and other lifestyle practices and factors in establishing and maintaining distinct patterns of gut-brain function. Further investigation of its role is important.
In conclusion, Dr. McBour said: [the] It is more important for the general public to be aware of the fact that “your gut plays an important role in your general well-being.”
Ultimately, even before the specific processes or pathways suggested in this study are identified, it is beneficial for people to follow a healthy diet and meditation practices.