How Meditation can Boost Your Immune System

T-cells, Killer cells and Cytokines, oh my!

Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

Inflammation is not your friend — but meditation is

Chronic stress weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and other nasty stuff. We all know that eating healthy and getting enough sleep can help to offset some of that, but meditation is linked to an increase in cytokines, which play an essential role in the immune system response.

Natural Born Killers

Natural Killer cells are white blood cells that serve as one of the first lines of defense in your immune system. They are the cells that target and kill abnormal cells like cancer and atypical cells like those infected by a virus.

Telomerase activity and youthful DNA

Telomeres got a lot of attention in the media a few years ago when scientists started to show a link between telomere length and aging. Telomeres are caps on the ends of each chromosome, and they protect the cell against deterioration. As cells age, they become more damaged, and this is linked to mortality rates. Longer telomeres essentially mean younger DNA.

Antibodies, the flu, and meditation

When injected with the flu vaccine, your body starts to create antibodies. These antibodies are unique to the particular strain of the flu that the body is exposed to. The number of antibodies produced and the strength of the immune system response varies depending on the health of an individual.

Practice makes perfect

All of these studies were looking at the effects of long-term meditation of at least eight weeks, a minimum of at least five days a week, and at least 20 -30 minutes of practice a day. But that’s how it is with lifestyle changes; you have to put in the work to see the results. The good news? Adding 20 minutes of meditation a day is relatively easy for most people, and there are virtually NO adverse side effects! The positive results, though? Pretty astounding.

Psychologist and Human mood ring.

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