Spanish researchers at Zaragoza University have published a study demonstrating that meditation fights aging at the cellular level. The study, published in the journal Mindfulness, shows that portions of DNA strands associated with aging live longer and are more robust in people who meditate regularly. Specifically the protein caps that end strands of DNA, called telomeres, were observed to be significantly longer in practiced meditators than in their non-meditating peers. Telomeres are associated with cell aging and death. As DNA replicates, its telomeres become smaller and smaller until finally they disappear resulting in cell death.
Over time, all cells die and are replaced. However, increased telomere size is associated with youthfulness; as a person ages the telomeres within his or her DNA shrink. Thus the Zaragoza researchers linked meditation and mindfulness with more youthful cells. On average, the study showed meditator’s telomeres to be 10% longer.
Zaragoza researchers extrapolate that the decreased cellular aging could be a result of reduced stress. Stress is a significant factor affecting aging.
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