Transcendental Meditation lowers cortisol and cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Lowering cortisol and CVD risk in postmenopausal women: a pilot study using the Transcendental Meditation program.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec;1032:211-5. PMID: 15677413
Unlike younger women, the risk of cardiovascular disease in older women matches or exceeds that of men. Excessive cortisol may play a role in this increased risk. Here we explore the possibility that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program may reduce the cortisol response to a metabolic stressor as a way of reducing disease risk in older women. Data from 16 women who were long-term practitioners of transcendental meditation (mean = 23 y) were compared with data from 14 control women matched for age (mean = 75 y, range = 65-92 y). Data on demographics, disease symptoms, and psychological variables were collected, and cortisol response to a metabolic stressor (75 g of glucose, orally) was examined in saliva and urine. Pre-glucose levels of salivary cortisol were identical for the two groups. Post-glucose cortisol rose faster in the controls and was significantly higher than that in the TM women (P<1 3 10(-4)). Urinary excretion of cortisol during this period was 3 times higher in controls than in the TM women (2.4 +/- 0.17 and 0.83 +/- 0.10 microg/h, respectively; P = 2 x 10(-4)). In addition, the number of months practicing transcendental meditation was inversely correlated with CVD risk factors. Lower cortisol response to metabolic challenge may reflect improved endocrine regulation relevant to the disease-preventing effects of transcendental meditation in older women.