(ORDO NEWS) — Long-term meditative practice has a positive effect on the state of the intestinal microflora.
Such activities lead to an increase in the number of “good” bacteria, which is associated with a decrease in anxiety and depression.
Over and over again, studies have demonstrated the manifold effects of meditation on the mental and physical state of the body.
On the one hand, this practice has been shown to strengthen the immune system , on the other hand, it can increase the risk of developing psychosis, mania and epileptic seizures.
New work by scientists from Shanghai Zhao Tong University has added to the positive effects of meditation, showing its positive effect on the symbiotic intestinal microflora.
For their research, Jinghong Chen and his colleagues visited Tibet, where they collected fecal samples from 37 Buddhist monks from local monasteries and 19 ordinary people living in the neighborhood.
At the same time, scientists used samples only of experienced monks who devote at least two hours to meditation every day for a period of three to 30 years.
In addition, the authors of the work made sure that not a single participant in the study used substances that directly affect the composition of the microflora: antibiotics, probiotics, and the like.
Finally, all volunteers were of approximately the same age, health status, and consumed the same food.
Despite all the similarities in conditions and lifestyles, biologists found significant differences in the composition of the intestinal microflora in members of the two groups.
Representatives of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes species dominated in both of them, but Bacteroidetes were significantly higher in monks (29% vs. 4%).
In addition, Prevotella, Megamonas and Faecalibacterium microbes were present in abundance in the microflora of the same monks.
These species are associated with a positive effect on the state of the psyche and health, reduced levels of depression and anxiety.
The authors of the study explain these differences by changes in metabolism and the course of inflammatory processes in the body of people who actively and for a long time practice meditation.
This was indirectly confirmed by their blood tests: it revealed reduced levels of cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, which are often associated with a decrease in inflammation and a decrease in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
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