Meditation positively influences gene expression

It’s a well known fact that meditation has a wealth of positive effects on the body and mind, particularly its ability to aid stress reduction. Various studies have looked into these effects, and it has been theorised that meditation may also positively modify how our DNA is expressed. Now, researchers from around the world believe that they are the first to discover a scientifically proven link between meditation and genetic expression.Zen

The research study examined the effects of extensive mindfulness practice (meditation) on a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained participants who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. Prior to the study, it was noted that there were no differences between the gene-modifying DNA of the two groups.

At the end of the study, the results showed that the extensive mindfulness practice elicited the relaxation response (the counterpart of the stress response). It was found that the group who practised the mindfulness exercise showed enhanced expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, insulin secretion, cell maintenance and regulation, whilst the genes that express inflammation and stress responses were suppressed.[1]

Whilst more studies are needed to assess the long-term effects of meditation, the current findings could lay the foundation to investigate the potential benefits of this therapy in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions.


[1] Bhasin. M.K et al. Relaxation response induces temporal transcriptome changes in energy metabolism, insulin secretion, and inflammatory pathways. PLoS One. 2013 May 1;8(5):