Researchers report that apart from reducing blood pressure and heart disease risk, Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and lifestyle changes can slow cellular death too.
A new study has examined what happens at the level of DNA, showing that TM increases telomerase gene expression which may contribute to cardiovascular and ageing benefits. Specifically, it was found to activate two genes that code for telomerase - which adds molecules to the ends of chromosomes or telomeres - protecting them from deterioration.
For the trial, the participants included 48 men and women with high blood pressure who were recruited and studied at Howard University Medical Centre. Half were assigned to a group that learned the TM technique and received a basic health education course. The other half were assigned to a group that focused on significant lifestyle modifications such as weight reduction, reducing salt intake, engaging in regular physical activity and moderating alcohol.
After 16 weeks, both groups showed significant increases in telomerase gene expression and reductions in blood pressure.
"These findings are very encouraging for prevention. They show that Transcendental Meditation and lifestyle modification can contribute to heart health," said Robert Schneider, one of the researchers.
"The result is valuable new information, relevant to both cardiovascular disease and to the molecular mechanisms involved in Transcendental Meditation," added John Fagan, Professor of Molecular Biology in the report published in the journal PLOS ONE.