Improve Metabolic Syndrome with Qigong

Improve Metabolic Syndrome with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For patients at risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, the Chinese exercises Tai Chi and Qigong may improve clinical parameters associated with the conditions.” – Charles Bankhead

 

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects 34% of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity and metabolic syndrome. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Qigong practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to step back and review the research and summarize what is known about the effects of Qigong training on metabolic syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wuqinxi Qigong as an Alternative Exercise for Improving Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517947/), Zou and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis on the published randomized controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. They identified 9 published research studies that included a total of 628 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that Qigong practice produced significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, including reductions in low density lipoproteins (LDL Cholesterol) and high density lipoproteins (HDL Cholesterol). In addition, they found that the longer the duration of practice the greater the decreases in diastolic blood pressure, total plasma triglycerides and cholesterol, and low density lipoproteins (LDL Cholesterol).

 

The findings are exciting as they suggest that Qigong practice is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and the longer the practice continues the greater the benefits. Qigong is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in parks or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Qigong practice would appear to be an excellent gentle practice to treat the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

 

So, improve metabolic syndrome with Qigong.

 

“Qigong exercise has shown promising results in clinical experience and in randomized, controlled pilot studies for affecting aspects of T2DM including positive associations between participation in Qigong and blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, weight, BMI and insulin resistance.” – Guan-Cheng Sun

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zou, L., Zhang, Y., Sasaki, J. E., Yeung, A. S., Yang, L., Loprinzi, P. D., … Mai, Y. (2019). Wuqinxi Qigong as an Alternative Exercise for Improving Risk Factors Associated with Metabolic Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(8), 1396. doi:10.3390/ijerph16081396

 

Abstract

Background: The improvement of living standards has led to increases in the prevalence of hypokinetic diseases. In particular, multifactorial complex diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, are becoming more prevalent. Currently, developing effective methods to combat or prevent metabolic syndrome is of critical public health importance. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to evaluate the existing literature regarding the effects of Wuqinxi exercise on reducing risk factors related to metabolic syndrome. Methods:Both English- and Chinese-language databases were searched for randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of Wuqinxi on these outcomes. Meanwhile, we extracted usable data for computing pooled effect size estimates, along with the random-effects model. Results: The synthesized results showed positive effects of Wuqinxi exercise on systolic blood pressure (SBP, SMD = 0.62, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.85, p< 0.001, I2 = 24.06%), diastolic blood pressure (DBP, SMD = 0.62, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.00, p < 0.001, I2 = 61.28%), total plasma cholesterol (TC, SMD = 0.88, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.36, p < 0.001, I2 = 78.71%), triglyceride (TG, SMD = 0.87, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.24, p < 0.001, I2 = 67.22%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, SMD = 1.24, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.72, p < 0.001, I2 = 78.27%), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL, SMD = 0.95, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.46, p < 0.001, I2 = 82.27%). In addition, regression results showed that longer-duration Wuqinxi intervention significantly improved DBP (β = 0.00016, Q = 5.72, df = 1, p = 0.02), TC (β = −0.00010, Q = 9.03, df = 1, p = 0.01), TG (β = 0.00012, Q = 6.23, df = 1, p = 0.01), and LDL (β = 0.00011, Q = 5.52, df = 1, p = 0.02). Conclusions: Wuqinxi may be an effective intervention to alleviate the cardiovascular disease risk factors of metabolic syndrome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6517947/

 

Improve Health with Qigong

Improve Health with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The health benefits from Qigong and Tai Chi comes about both by supporting the body’s natural tendency to return to balance and equilibrium and also gently yet profoundly creating strength, flexibility and balance in the muscles and joints through gentle flowing movements.” – Denise Nagel

 

Qigong and Tai Chi have been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong and Tai Chi training are designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of Qigong practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammationincrease the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular function.

 

Because Qigong is not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. So, with indications of so many benefits it makes sense to step back and review the research on the effects of Qigong training on health and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Beneficial Effects of Qigong Wuqinxi in the Improvement of Health Condition, Prevention, and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: Evidence from a Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220394/ ), Guo and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effects of Qigong practice on physical and psychological health. They found 28 published research studies.

 

They report that the research finds that Qigong practice by healthy adults produces improvements in cognitive functions including concentration and attention, strengthens the immune system, improves body shape and size, physical function, and the cardiovascular system, improves mood and psychological well-being, improves lipid metabolism, slows physiological indicators of aging, and reduces inflammation. For clinical populations, they report that the research indicates that Qigong practice reduces depression, and improves osteoarthritis, including knee osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, and blood fat levels.

 

Conclusions from these very exciting findings must be tempered as the research methodologies were often weak. More tightly controlled studies are needed. Regardless, these findings suggest that Qigong practice produces improved physical and psychological health in both healthy adults and people with mental and physical diseases. These are a remarkable set of benefits from this simple practice and suggest the reason why it has continued to be practiced by large numbers of people for hundreds of years. Hence, this simple, inexpensive, convenient, safe, and fun practice may improve the participants ability to successfully conduct their lives, improving health and well-being.

 

So, improve health with Qigong.

 

“A compelling body of research emerges when Tai Chi studies and the growing body of Qigong studies are combined. The evidence suggests that a wide range of health benefits accrue in response to these meditative movement forms.” – Dr. Mercola

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Guo, Y., Xu, M., Wei, Z., Hu, Q., Chen, Y., Yan, J., & Wei, Y. (2018). Beneficial Effects of Qigong Wuqinxi in the Improvement of Health Condition, Prevention, and Treatment of Chronic Diseases: Evidence from a Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 3235950. doi:10.1155/2018/3235950

 

Abstract

Purpose

Qigong is a modality of traditional Chinese mind-body medicine that has been used to prevent and cure ailments, to improve health in China for thousands of years. Wuqinxi, a Chinese traditional Qigong that focuses on mind-body integration, is thought to be an effective exercise in promoting physical and mental wellbeing. Thus, we summarized the evidence and aim to unravel effects of Wuqinxi on health outcomes.

Methods

We performed a systematic review of Wuqinxi studies published in English or Chinese since 1979. Relevant English and Chinese language electronic data bases were used for literature search. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by two reviewers.

Results

A total of 28 eligible studies were included in this review, among which three are 3 in English and 25 in Chinese. The studies included in this review involve three different experimental designs: (1) 16 RCTs; (2) 2 historical cohort studies; and (3) 10 pretest and posttest studies (PPS). Participants in this review are categorized as either healthy or clinical populations. The results from this systematic review support the notion that Wuqinxi may be effective as an adjunctive rehabilitation method for improving psychological and physiological wellbeing among different age of healthy populations in addition to alleviating and treating diseases among various clinical populations.

Conclusion

The results indicated that Wuqinxi has been thought to be beneficial to improve health and treat chronic diseases. However, the methodological problems in the majority of included studies make it difficult to draw firm conclusive statements. More methodologically rigorous designed large-scale RCTs with a long-term follow-up assessment should be further conducted to examine the effects of Wuqixi on health-related parameters and disease-specific measures in different health conditions. This systematic review lends insight for future studies on Wuqinxi and its potential application in preventive and rehabilitation medicine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6220394/

 

Improve Obesity with Metabolic Syndrome with Yoga Practice

 

Improve Obesity with Metabolic Syndrome with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I think yoga can be a wonderful form of movement that bigger-bodied people can adapt for themselves.” For folks carrying more weight, low-impact exercises like yoga may be more comfortable than, say, running on the pavement. And most postures can be modified to fit your body. Plus, yoga isn’t that cycling class with the drill sergeant instructor. The mental component of yoga—the deep breathing, positive meditation and awareness—can boost confidence for people of all waistlines. “Yoga helps give you insight, and perhaps that insight can help you make better choices and eliminate negative self-talk,” – Laura McMullen

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (Body Mass Index; BMI > 25). Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is highly associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects 34% of U.S. adults. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity and metabolic syndrome. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetes and improve health in the obese. In addition, it has the added benefit of being a gentle exercise. Hence it would seem reasonable to further investigate the benefits of yoga practice on the weight and body composition of the obese with metabolic syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “One Year of Yoga Training Alters Ghrelin Axis in Centrally Obese Adults With Metabolic Syndrome.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6158302/ ), Yu and colleagues studied the effects of 1-year of yoga practice on the metabolic hormones that are involved in body weight and metabolism. They selected from a previous study yoga trained and control participants who were obese and were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Hatha yoga practice occurred for 1 hour, 3 times per week for 1 year. They were measured before and after training for waist circumference, blood pressure, heart rate, physical performance, and blood levels of glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and cholesterol. In addition, the blood was assayed for peptides including insulin, markers of insulin resistance, ghrelin, obestatin, and growth hormone.

 

They found that the yoga group had a significantly greater decrease in waist circumference, 4%, compared to controls who had a 2% increase in waist circumference. The yoga group also had significantly greater improvements in resting heart rate and physical performance than the control group. Hence, yoga practice improves body size, physical ability and cardiovascular function in obese individuals with metabolic syndrome.

 

In addition, yoga training produced significantly greater decrease in the peptide obestatin and increases in growth hormone and ghrelin. High levels of obestatin and low levels of ghrelin and growth hormone have been found to be associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. Hence, yoga practice produced a trend toward normalization of these hormones associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

 

These results suggest that yoga practice is beneficial for people with obesity and metabolic syndrome, improving their body size, and physical performance, and tending to normalize their metabolic hormonal state. This further suggests that practicing yoga may reduce risk factors and improve the long-term health of the obese with metabolic syndrome. Future research should compare the effectiveness of yoga practice to other exercise programs.

 

So, improve obesity with metabolic syndrome with yoga practice.

 

 “Yoga is a powerful activity that connects mind, body and a sense of self to achieve endless health benefits, including maintaining weight-loss. The philosophy of yoga fosters a healing practice that brings peace and acceptance to the self no matter where you are in your life. There are no prerequisites for yoga. You are not required to look a certain way, fold yourself into a tricky asana (pose), or even be at a certain level of flexibility.” – Laurel Dierking

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yu, A. P., Ugwu, F. N., Tam, B. T., Lee, P. H., Lai, C. W., Wong, C., Lam, W. W., Sheridan, S., … Siu, P. M. (2018). One Year of Yoga Training Alters Ghrelin Axis in Centrally Obese Adults With Metabolic Syndrome. Frontiers in physiology, 9, 1321. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.01321

 

Abstract

Introduction: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a multiplex cardiometabolic manifestation associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. Yoga training has been shown to alleviate MetS. Recently, circulatory ghrelin profile was demonstrated to be associated with MetS. This study examined the effects of 1 year of yoga training on β-cell function and insulin resistance, and the involvement of metabolic peptides, including unacylated ghrelin (UnAG), acylated ghrelin (AG), obestatin, growth hormone (GH), and insulin, in the beneficial effects of yoga training in centrally obese adults with MetS.

Methods: This was a follow up study, in which data of risk factors of MetS, physical performance tests [resting heart rate (HR), chair stand test (CS), chair sit and reach test (CSR), back scratch test (BS), and single leg stand tests (SLS)] and serum samples of 79 centrally obese MetS subjects aged 58 ± 8 years (39 subjects received 1-year yoga training and 40 subjects received no training) were retrieved for analyses. β-cell function and insulin resistance were examined by Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA). Circulating levels of UnAG, AG, obestatin, GH, and insulin were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using fasting serum samples. Generalized estimating equation analysis and Mann–Whitney U-test were used to detect statistically significant differences between groups.

Results: Waist circumference (WC) was significantly decreased after yoga intervention (control: +2%; yoga: -4%). Significant improvements in HR (control: +2%; yoga: -5%), CS (control: -1%; yoga: +24%), CSR left (control: worsen by 0.90 cm; yoga: improved by 4.21 cm), CSR right (control: worsen by 0.75 cm; yoga: improved by 4.28 cm), right side of BS (control: improved by 0.19 cm; yoga: improved by 4.31 cm), SLS left (control: -10%; yoga: +86%), and SLS right (control: -6%; yoga: +47%) were observed after 1-year yoga training. No significant difference was found between the two groups in insulin, HOMA indices, and disposition index. Yoga training significantly increased circulating GH (control: -3%; yoga: +22%), total circulating ghrelin (control: -26%; yoga: +13%), and UnAG (control: -27%; yoga: +14%), whereas decreased AG (control: -7%; yoga: -33%) and obestatin (control: +24%; yoga: -29%).

Conclusion: One-year of yoga training modulated total ghrelin, UnAG, AG, obestatin, and GH while exerting beneficial effects on physical functions and central obesity in adults with MetS. The beneficial effects of yoga may be associated with the alteration of ghrelin gene product and GH.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6158302/

 

Reduce Metabolic Syndrome with Mindfulness

Reduce Metabolic Syndrome with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training may promote sustained improvements in healthy eating that may contribute to better longer-term improvement in some aspects of metabolic health.” – Jennifer Daubenmier

 

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is an important risk factor as it increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes five-fold and heart attack or stroke three-fold. Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects 34% of U.S. adults. Needless to say, this is a major health problem. The good news is that timely treatment can prevent or reverse the risk. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss. Also, mindfulness techniques have been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome among Individuals with a Depressive Symptomatology.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852808/ ), Guyot and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness with depression and metabolic syndrome in a large sample of adults in France. Beginning in 2009, participants were assessed every year for body size, nutritional status, and exercise. Four years into the study, they were also assessed for mindfulness, depression, demographic and lifestyle measures and the presence of metabolic syndrome.

 

They compared participants with and without depression and observed that depressed participants were significantly more likely to have metabolic syndrome, a high waist circumference, a high level of triglycerides, a low level of HDL-cholesterol, and be smokers. The depressed participants also had lower levels of mindfulness and exercise participation.

 

They did not find a simple relationship of mindfulness with metabolic syndrome but rather it covaried with depression. In participants high in depression, mindfulness, especially the non-judging and non-reacting facets of mindfulness, was associated with lower levels of metabolic syndrome, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, and HDL-cholesterol.

 

This study employed a very large sample of adults and thus is likely to be representative of the population. It should be noted that it is correlational in nature and no manipulation was employed. So, causation cannot be determined. But, the associations are clear. Mindfulness in depressed individuals is associated with healthier body size and metabolic condition. It is interesting that this was not true for non-depressed individuals. Mindfulness is known to lower depression levels. This suggests the speculation that depression results in behaviors that produce an unhealthy body size and metabolic condition and that mindfulness, by lowering depression, improves this situation.

 

So, reduce metabolic syndrome with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness appears to improve certain metabolic risk factors, even without weight loss. In particular triglycerides, cholesterol ratios, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.” – Kimberly Yawitz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Guyot, E., Baudry, J., Hercberg, S., Galan, P., Kesse-Guyot, E., & Péneau, S. (2018). Mindfulness Is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome among Individuals with a Depressive Symptomatology. Nutrients, 10(2), 232. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu10020232

 

Abstract

The Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a major public health burden. Dispositional mindfulness has recently been associated with eating disorders, being overweight, and could therefore be associated with the MetS. We aimed to examine in a cross-sectional design the relationship between mindfulness, the MetS, and its risk factors in a large sample of the adult general population and the influence of depressive symptomatology on this association. Adults participating in the NutriNet-Santé study who had completed the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire and attended a clinical and biological examination were available for inclusion. Multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors were performed. A total of 17,490 individuals were included. Among individuals with a depressive symptomatology, those with higher mindfulness were less likely to have a MetS (OR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.57–0.93), a high waist circumference, a low HDL-cholesterol level and an elevated fasting blood glucose level (all p <0.05). In those without depressive symptomatology, individuals with higher mindfulness were less likely to have a high waist circumference (p <0.01). In conclusion, higher mindfulness was associated with lower odds of developing a MetS only among individuals with a depressive symptomatology.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852808/

 

Improve Metabolism and Reduce the Inflammatory Response with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Kick-start your sluggish metabolism by engaging in physical exercise. Yoga moves and poses can help increase your metabolism and help you be more fit.” – Robin Reichert

 

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is an important risk factor as it increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes five-fold and heart attack or stroke three-fold. Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly and it currently affects 34% of U.S. adults. Needless to say this is a major health problem. The good news is that timely treatment can prevent or reverse the risk. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss.

 

The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats like stress, infection, injury, and toxic chemicals. One of its tools is the Inflammatory response. This response works quite well for short-term infections and injuries. But when inflammation is protracted and becomes chronic, it can itself become a threat to health. It can produce autoimmune diseases such as colitis, Chron’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, increased cancer risk, lung disease, sleep disruption, gum disease, decreased bone health, psoriasis, and depression. Needless to say chronic inflammation can create major health problems. Indeed, the presence of chronic inflammation is associated with reduced longevity. So, it is important for health to control the inflammatory response, allowing it to do its job in fighting off infection but reducing its activity when no external threat is apparent.

 

Of course it is far better to prevent Metabolic Syndrome and chronic inflammation in the first place than to treat them later. Exercise can counteract their development and their consequent risks of disease. Yoga has been used to promote health and well-being for thousands of years. It has also been shown to be effective in treating Metabolic Syndrome. Mind-body techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have been shown to adaptively reduce the inflammatory response. Most of these results were obtained from treating diseased individuals. It is important to establish if yoga can be effective in preventing Metabolic Syndrome and chronic inflammation through practice by healthy individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of 8-Week Hatha Yoga Training on Metabolic and Inflammatory Markers in Healthy, Female Chinese Subjects: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1339638822726707/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987461/

Chen and colleagues recruited healthy women and randomly assigned them to either receive Hatha yoga practice for 8-weeks, twice a week for 60 minutes, or a control condition. Before and after the 8-week practice they had fasting blood drawn and clinical markers of insulin, glucose, triacylglycerol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and total cholesterol, and inflammation markers of plasma cytokines and endothelial microparticles measured.

 

They found that yoga practice produced a significant reduction in Metabolic Syndrome indicators; plasma insulin, total cholesterol, and LDL-C, and insulin resistance levels, and also inflammation indicators; endothelial microparticles, proinflammatory cytokines, and inflammatory signaling proteins. Thus, yoga practice appears to reduce circulating markers of Metabolic Syndrome and also the inflammatory response.

 

These are exciting and significant results. Keep in mind that the intervention consisted of a total of only 16 hours of gentle Hatha yoga over 8 weeks. So, it doesn’t seem to require intensive long-term practice to produce these benefits. Yet, the yoga improved markers that indicate a significant reduction in the risk of Metabolic Syndrome and a reduction in chronic inflammation. This suggests that yoga practice can prevent physiological reactions that lead to disease and thus could promote health and well-being.

 

So, improve health by improving metabolism and reducing the inflammatory response with yoga.

 

“We think improved sleep could be part of the mechanism of what we were seeing. When women were sleeping better, inflammation could have been lowered by that. Reducing fatigue enables women to engage in other activities over time. So yoga may have offered a variety of benefits in addition to the yoga exercises themselves.” – Janice Kiecolt-Glaser

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Chen, N., Xia, X., Qin, L., Luo, L., Han, S., Wang, G., … Wan, Z. (2016). Effects of 8-Week Hatha Yoga Training on Metabolic and Inflammatory Markers in Healthy, Female Chinese Subjects: A Randomized Clinical Trial. BioMed Research International, 2016, 5387258. http://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5387258

 

Abstract

We aimed to determine the effects of an 8 wk Hatha yoga training on blood glucose, insulin, lipid profiles, endothelial microparticles (EMPs), and inflammatory status in healthy, lean, and female Chinese subjects. A total of 30 healthy, female Chinese subjects were recruited and randomized into control or yoga practice group. The yoga practice included 8 wks of yoga practice (2 times/wk) for a total of 16 times. Fasting blood samples were collected before and after yoga training. Plasma was isolated for the measurement of lipid profiles, glucose, insulin, EMPs, and inflammatory cytokines. Whole blood was cultured ex vivo and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Pam3Cys-SK4. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated for the measurement of TLR2 and TLR4 protein expression. Yoga practice significantly reduced plasma cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, insulin levels, and CD31+/CD42b− EMPs. Cultured whole blood from the yoga group has reduced proinflammatory cytokines secretion both at unstimulated condition and when stimulated with Pam3Cys-SK4; this might be associated with reduced TLR2 protein expression in PBMCs after yoga training. Hatha yoga practice in healthy Chinese female subjects could improve hallmarks related to MetS; thus it can be considered as an ancillary intervention in the primary MetS prevention for the healthy population.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987461/

 

Practice Yoga and be Resilient to Stress

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga is anti-aging, lowers blood pressure, and is beneficial for treating metabolic syndrome x. Waist circumference, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Yoga has been known to balance the endocrine system and hormones for centuries. Now it is also being recognized as a way to balance blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diseases brought on by a classically western diet.” – Cheryl Walters
Stress is universal. We are constantly under some form of stress. In fact, if we don’t have enough stress, we seek out more. Stress actually can strengthen us. Muscles don’t grow and strengthen unless they are moderately stressed in exercise. Moderate mental stress can actually increase the size and connectivity of brain areas devoted to the activity. Moderate social stress can help us become more adept in social interactions. Moderate work stress can help us be more productive and improve as an employee, etc. So, stress can be a good thing promoting growth and flourishing. The key word here is moderate or what we called the optimum level of stress. Too little or too much stress can be damaging.

 

Unfortunately for many of us living in a competitive modern environment stress is all too often higher than desirable. In addition, many of the normal mechanisms for dealing with stress have been eliminated. The business of modern life removes opportunities for rest, working extra hours, and limiting or passing up entirely vacations to stay competitive. Persistently high levels of stress are damaging and can directly produce disease or debilitation increasing susceptibility to other diseases. Chronic stress can produce a condition called distress which can lead to headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping and can make other diseases worse.

 

It is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Because of their ability to relieve stress, mindfulness trainings are increasingly being practiced by individuals and are even being encouraged in some workplaces.
In today’s Research News article “Heart Rate Variability, Flow, Mood and Mental Stress During Yoga Practices in Yoga Practitioners, Non-yoga Practitioners and People with Metabolic Syndrome.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1311695092187747/?type=3&theater

or see summary below. Tyagi and colleagues investigate the ability of yoga practitioners to respond to and recover from stress. They recruited yoga practitioners who had been practicing for at least 6 months, comparable individuals who did not practice yoga, and individuals with metabolic syndrome. They had the participants relax in a reclining position and then challenged them with a stressful mental arithmetic task. During this time, they were measured for mood, flow, respiration, and cardiac activity with an Electrocardiogram (ECG). Flow is a “desirable state of positive arousal caused by the perception of subjective control with maximum physiological efficiency and the down-regulation of functions irrelevant for task fulfilment.”

 

They found that the yoga practitioners had greater flow and were in a better mood even before the stressful task and showed greater improvement in flow and mood after the task than the other groups. These included flow, total mood, and the mood components of tension, depression, fatigue, confusion, anxiety, and vigor. They also found that the yoga practitioners had lower heart rates and respiration rates than the other groups, had greater increases during the stressful task, and more rapid decreases afterward.

 

These are interesting results and replicate many previous results that the practice of yoga in general improves flow, mood, and physiological responses. This is not surprising as exercise in general is known to do this. What is new and significant is that yoga practice appears to improve resilience; that is, it results in vigorous responses to stress, but rapid recovery. Both of these responses are adaptive. By readying the physiology to cope with the effects of stress, it positions the individual to better withstand these effects. But, yoga also improves the recovery afterward preventing the stress effects to be prolonged and potentially damaging. As a result, yoga practitioners appear to better able to respond to and cope with stress, quickly and efficiently, without unnecessary prolonged physiological reactions.

 

So, practice yoga and be resilient to stress.

 

“Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration. Body- and self-awareness are particularly beneficial, because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.” – Natalie Nevin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

Tyagi, A., Cohen, M., Reece, J. Telles, S. and Jones. L. Heart Rate Variability, Flow, Mood and Mental Stress During Yoga Practices in Yoga Practitioners, Non-yoga Practitioners and People with Metabolic Syndrome. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback (2016). doi:10.1007/s10484-016-9340-2

Abstract

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia are directly associated with autonomic flexibility, self-regulation and well-being, and inversely associated with physiological stress, psychological stress and pathology. Yoga enhances autonomic activity, mitigates stress and benefits stress-related clinical conditions, yet the relationship between autonomic activity and psychophysiological responses during yoga practices and stressful stimuli has not been widely explored. This experimental study explored the relationship between HRV, mood states and flow experiences in regular yoga practitioners (YP), non-yoga practitioners (NY) and people with metabolic syndrome (MetS), during Mental Arithmetic Stress Test (MAST) and various yoga practices. The study found that the MAST placed a cardio-autonomic burden in all participants with the YP group showing the greatest reactivity and the most rapid recovery, while the MetS group had significantly blunted recovery. The YP group also reported a heightened experience of flow and positive mood states compared to NY and MetS groups as well as having a higher vagal tone during all resting conditions. These results suggest yoga practitioners have a greater homeostatic capacity and autonomic, metabolic and physiological resilience. Further studies are now needed to determine if regular yoga practice may improve autonomic flexibility in non-yoga practitioners and metabolic syndrome patients.

 

Heart Healthy Yoga

Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is an important risk factor as it increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes five-fold and heart attack or stroke three-fold.

Metabolic Syndrome incidence has been rising rapidly approaching epidemic proportions. It is estimated that it currently affects 34% of US adults. Needless to say this is a major health problem. The good news is that timely treatment can prevent or reverse the risk. The simplest treatment is simply exercise and weight loss.

Yoga has been used to promote health and well-being for thousands of years. In today’s Research News article “Effects of 1-year yoga on cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged and older adults with metabolic syndrome: a randomized trial”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1045854842105108/?type=1&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4440276/

Siu and colleagues examine whether yoga is an effective treatment for metabolic syndrome. They found that a 1-year yoga program reduced waist circumference, blood pressure, and resting heart rate and increased activity levels. This suggests that yoga is effective in reducing the symptoms of the Metabolic Syndrome.

Probably the most important finding was a 3.5% reduction in waist circumference. Most of the Symptoms of the Metabolic Syndrome result from a high level of abdominal fat. This produces the insulin resistance which in turn increases diabetes risk and raises cholesterol and triglycerides which increases cardiovascular risk. Hence, a key to treatment is to reduce this belly fat and yoga appears to be effective at doing just that.

Yoga is in part an exercise and this by itself could be responsible for the improvement. Indeed yoga practice increased activity levels which promotes the conversion of fat to muscle. So, even if there is no change in weight there is a reduction in abdominal fat, the primary culprit in Metabolic Syndrome.

Yoga, however, produces other beneficial effects that could be responsible for the improvement in Metabolic Syndrome. Yoga practice reduces the physiological symptoms of stress. It reduces the levels of stress hormones and it relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight system. Stress exacerbates the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome. By reducing the physiological mechanisms by which stress affects Metabolic Syndrome, yoga can markedly improve the symptoms. In addition, by reducing stress, yoga can improve immune system response, increasing the individual’s ability to fight off diseases.

So practice yoga and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

CMCS