Yoga Benefits Patients with Metabolic Syndrome

One year of yoga training decreased pro-inflammatory adipokines and increased an anti-inflammatory adipokine in adults with metabolic syndrome and high-normal blood pressure, according to a study recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Researchers led by Parco Siu, of the University of Hong Kong, point out that lifestyle modification is the first line of treatment in patients with metabolic syndrome, and that yoga is a blend of physical exercise, controlled breather, and relaxation practice. The researchers’ previous study showed that one year of yoga led to a decrease in waist circumference and a decreasing trend in blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome.

The researchers evaluated data from 97 Hong Kong Chinese patients aged 57.6 ± 9.1 years with MetS and high-normal blood pressure, who were randomly assigned to control (n = 45) and yoga groups (n = 52). Control group participants were given no intervention but were contacted monthly to monitor their health. Subjects in the yoga group underwent three one-hour yoga sessions weekly for one year. “The participants’ sera were harvested and assessed for adipokines,” the authors write. “Generalized estimating equation (GEE) was used to examine the interaction effect between one-year time (pre vs post), and intervention (control vs yoga). GEE analyses revealed significant interaction effects between one-year time and yoga intervention for the decreases in leptin and chemerin and the increase in adiponectin concentration in the sera examined.”

Based on these results, the authors write that this study shows yoga’s health benefits in people with metabolic syndrome. “These findings support the notion that yoga exercise might serve as an effective lifestyle intervention to reduce chronic inflammation by downregulating the proinflammatory adipokines and upregulating the anti-inflammatory adipokines in individuals with high-normal blood pressure and MetS. A panel of adipokines as circulatory biomarkers might be useful for monitoring the beneficial outcomes of prolonged yoga exercise interventions,” the authors write.

“These findings help to reveal the response of adipokines to long-term yoga exercise, which underpins the importance of regular exercise to human health,” says Siu.

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