Meditation may boost your immune system

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In a new study from the University of Florida, researchers found meditation done at an intense level may bring a strong boost to the inner workings of your immune system.

They did a blood sample analysis that took pre- and post-meditation snapshots of genetic activity among more than 100 men and women.

The finding showed that meditation boosted the activity of hundreds of genes known to be directly involved in regulating the immune response.

The study suggests that meditation could have an important role in treating various diseases associated with a weakened immune system

But the researchers note that their study involved 10-hour daily marathon meditation sessions conducted for eight straight days in total silence.

In the real world, most people would be hard-pressed to replicate those methods.

In the study, the team tested 106 men and women, average age 40. All had enrolled in a meditation retreat conducted at the Isha Institute of Inner Sciences in McMinnville, Tenn.

Multiple blood samples were drawn from all the participants at several times: five to eight weeks prior to the retreat; just before the retreat began, and three months after the retreat was completed.

Meditation sessions lasted 10 hours a day and were conducted in silence.

Three months after the retreat’s conclusion, the team found an uptick in an activity involving 220 immune-related genes, including 68 genes engaged in so-called “interferon signaling.”

Such signaling can be key to mounting an effective defense against various health conditions—including cancer, multiple sclerosis or even COVID-19—given that interferon proteins effectively act as immune system triggers.

The apparent impact on molecular activity seen among retreat participants held up even after accounting for both diet and sleep patterns, though the findings do not definitively prove that meditation actually caused gene changes to occur.

The team says the findings suggest meditation could someday be folded into newly developed behavioral therapies to maintain brain health and modify currently irreversible neurological diseases.

If you care about the immune system, please read studies about new COVID vaccine for people with weak immune systems, and what happens to our immune systems when we get a booster.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about new cancer treatment that could reawaken the immune system, and results showing that if you have a weakened immune system, consider 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One author of the study is Vijayendran Chandran.

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