Hormones Out of Balance? Try Meditation.
When you hear the word “meditation”, your mind may go to images of highly practiced yogis seated in the lotus position while they achieve a state of total serenity.
The truth is actually much more practical, and easier to achieve than you might imagine. Over time, the practice of meditation has evolved into the mainstream to be established therapy that can benefit everyone.
Indeed modern science has discovered a wealth of benefits that can be gained from meditation…everything from reduced stress and anxiety to lower blood pressure.
Until recently, the reasons behind these benefits were a mystery. But no longer. New studies have revealed the relationship between meditation and your body’s most important chemicals: your hormones.
Specifically, meditation can increase the production of helpful hormones such as:
Best known as the hormone responsible for feelings of well-being and contentment, serotonin also helps maintain body temperature, motor control and circadian rhythm.
Levels of 5-HIAA (a product of serotonin metabolism) were reported to be as much as 70% higher in people who meditate compared to non-meditators.
Melatonin doesn’t just support proper sleep…it also helps support your immune system. In fact, recent studies found melatonin may help speed recovery from coronaviruses such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19.
Several studies have linked meditation with increased melatonin production. In one study, melatonin levels measured 22% higher in people after meditating when compared to non-meditators at the same time of day. Another study measured an average of 98% higher melatonin levels in people who meditate regularly.
Gamma aminobutyric acid (or GABA) is an important neurotransmitter in your brain. It helps control fear and anxiety and promotes calm by suppressing over-excited neurons.
In a Boston University study, GABA levels increased by 27% after only 60 minutes of “mindfulness exercises” such as meditation.
Another of the “feel good” hormones. Oxytocin increases your sense of well-being and reduces muscle and joint pain. Numerous studies have shown that meditation increases oxytocin levels.
These hormones cause the “runner’s high” long distance runners swear by. However, meditation may be a more effective way to raise your endorphin levels. A 1995 study found higher endorphin levels in experienced meditators after meditation than in elite runners after a run.
And meditation doesn’t just promote production of the beneficial hormones listed above. It also helps to limit the effects of “stress hormones” produced by your adrenal glands, including:
Epinephrine & Norepinephrine
These two hormones elevate your heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism when your body is under stress. They’re part of your “fight or flight” reflex. When you’re under long-term stress, however, they can have negative effects on your body.
Regular meditation can reduce levels of epinephrine in your body by 30% and norepinephrine by 40%.
Increased cortisol from long-term stress inhibits your immune system and causes weight gain, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and heart disease among other medical issues.
Like epinephrine and norepinephrine, your adrenal glands produce cortisol in response to stress. However, regular meditation…even something as simple as taking a few deep breaths…can reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.
Don’t Wait…Get Started Now
There are many styles of meditation, ranging from simple to involved. But don’t be intimidated. Try some different approaches until you find one that feels right. If you need help, there are many guided meditations available on YouTube. Or try an app like “Calm” or “Insight Timer”. The important thing is to get started.
And if you think your hormones may be out of balance, Renew Youth can help.
Call us at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your free consultation.