Meditation has a positive impact on gut health

A team of Chinese researchers has discovered that long-term meditation practice can positively affect the human gut microbiome, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and heart disease. To investigate, the team analysed stool and blood samples from 37 Tibetan Buddhist monks who had been meditating for at least two hours a day for between three and 30 years, as well as from 19 secular residents from the same region. The study found that the intestinal microbiota composition of the meditating monks was significantly different from that of the control group. The researchers identified several genera of bacteria that were enriched in the meditation group, including Megamonas and Faecalibacterium, which have previously demonstrated positive effects on human physical and mental health. The study results also showed that meditation may reduce the risk of heart disease by enhancing several biochemical pathways, including glycan and lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Plasma levels of several cardiovascular risk markers, such as total cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, were also found to be significantly lower in the meditation group.

Alteration of faecal microbiota balance related to long-term deep meditation. 2023 Jan 3;36(1):e100893