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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Yoga’s] Downward Dog to Decrease Inflammation

From the 20 March 2013 post at Mind the Science Gap

Doing yoga is way more than just an excuse to buy expensive leggings. Aside from improving fitness and flexibility, yoga has been used to treat many ailments including depression, arthritis, anxiety, asthma, type II diabetes, fatigue, chronic pain, IBS, and sleep disruptions. Recent research suggests that hatha yoga can also play a role in reducing risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So how might twisting yourself into a pretzel lower your risk for two prominent chronic diseases?

Systemic Inflammation: the silent risk factor

You are probably familiar with acute inflammation if you have ever had an infection or sprained ankle. Swelling and pain are an effective way for our bodies to let us know that something is wrong. Chronic systemic inflammation, however, is not so apparent. It can persist undetected at a low level for years as it slowly damages body tissue while elevating risk for type II diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.

Systemic inflammation is mediated by numerous chemicals inside the body. Two such chemicals are Leptin and adiponectin. These hormones are made in the adipose tissue and have recently been recognized to have a ….

Yoga’s Effect on Inflammation

In 2012, Kiecolt-Glaser et. al. present in their paper Adiponectin, leptin, and yoga practice that “expert” hatha yoga practitioners have significantly different levels of leptin and adiponectin when compared to “novice” practitioners.  Specifically, experts are shown to have 28% higher blood level adiponectin and a leptin concentration 26% lower than that of novices. Furthermore, the experts’ average adiponectin to leptin ratios were nearly twice that of the novices. Given that leptin and adiponectin are correlated with C-reactive protein, a potent marker of inflammation, this means that those who do more yoga seem to have lower systemic inflammation….

2008 study by the Yoga Journal found that 6.9% of U.S. adults, or 15.8 million people, practice yoga and that 4.1% of non-practitioners, or about 9.4 million people, say they are hoping to try yoga within the next year. On this scale, if regular yoga practice can reduce systemic inflammation in healthy adult women, this is definitely an area worth further research!

References:

Kiecolt-Glaser J, Christian L, Andridge R, Seulk Hwang B, Malarkey W, Belury M, Emery C, and R Glaser. Adiponectin, leptin, and yoga practice. Physiology & Behavior 107 (2012) 809–813. 

 

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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