Yoga can help reduce risk of depression and cancer by reversing the molecular reactions in DNA; Image credit: Istock
The researchers through 18 studies - featuring 846 participants over 11 years - revealed a pattern in the molecular changes which happen to the body as a result of the MBIs, and how those changes benefit our mental and physical health. They explained the way that genes activate to produce proteins, which influence the biological make-up of the body, the brain and the immune system.
According to the study, people who practise MBIs exhibit the opposite effect - namely a decrease in production of NF-kB and cytokines, leading to a reversal of the pro-inflammatory gene expression pattern and a reduction in the risk of inflammation-related diseases and conditions.
Lead investigator Ivana Buric said that millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what perhaps these people do not realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.
"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, the MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being."