Yoga as an Antioxidant? ← Back to Wellness

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According to a new study, there seems to be a direct link between yoga and many people appearing more youthful than their age would suggest. The Huffington Post reports on this in a recent article titled “Is Yoga the Next New ‘Antioxidant’?

Marlynn Wei of the Huffington Post writes, “The new study found that 12 weeks of yoga led to higher levels of antioxidants in the body and less signs of oxidative stress compared to people who did running, cycling, or jumping rope. Not only that, but the immune system of people who did yoga improved. Women and men in the study did 90 minutes of yoga weekly in a class and 40 minutes at home for at least three times a week over 12 weeks. If you are looking to experience the same benefits, make sure to try a well-rounded yoga program that includes more than just yoga postures.The study’s weekly class included:

  • 35 minutes of yoga poses (asanas)
  • 30 minutes of yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) and
  • 25 minutes of meditation including a loving-kindness (Metta) meditation and self-awareness exercise that focused on a non-judgmental attitude.

Yoga, unlike the other types of exercise, led to lower levels of nitric oxide, a chemical which, in excess, acts as a harmful free radical. Yoga also lowered signs of oxidative stress in the body, including byproducts like malondialdehyde and F2-isoprostane and the stress hormone adrenaline. Our bodies have natural antioxidant defense systems that combat oxidative stress. Yoga increased these natural antioxidants in the body, including higher levels of the protein glutathione and an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione levels went up for both the yoga and regular exercise groups, but much more so in the yoga group: Yoga more than doubled the presence of the natural antioxidant protein glutathione in the body.This supports earlier research that 6 months of yoga led to higher antioxidant levels.”

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