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High-intensity Hatha yoga has anti-inflammatory and lipid-improving effects


Researchers from Sweden found that performing high-intensity yoga exercises have healthy benefits, including anti-inflammatory and lipid-improving effects. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

  • The researchers wanted to explore how high-intensity yoga (HIY) exercises – specifically Hatha yoga – affects a person’s health.
  • They measured the parameters of cardiovascular fitness (maximal oxygen consumption, estimated from the Cooper running test), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate (HR), heart rate recovery (HRR), blood pressure (BP), adipocytokines, apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), apolipoprotein B (ApoB), and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
  • The researchers enrolled 44 healthy students (38 women and six men) in a randomized controlled trial and divided them into two groups: an HIY group and a control group. The first group participated in an HIY program for six weeks; the other group did not.
  • The researchers took measurements for cardiovascular fitness, RPE, HR, HRR, BP, adipocytokines, HbA1c, ApoA1, and ApoB at baseline and after six weeks.
  • Initial results showed that HIY did not significantly improve cardiovascular fitness, HR, HRR, BP, and any of the blood parameters.
  • However, secondary findings revealed that ApoA1 and adiponectin levels improved significantly in the HIY group.
  • ApoA1 is a component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL is a molecule that transports cholesterol and fats called phospholipids to the liver for breakdown.
  • Adiponectin is a protein that helps in several anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing processes. It is produced by adipocytes and is commonly found at low levels  in obese individuals.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that performing high-intensity yoga exercises can improve an individual’s blood lipid profile and has anti-inflammatory effects.

Journal Reference:

Papp ME, Lindfors P, Nygren-Bonnier M, Gullstrand L, Wändell PE. EFFECTS OF HIGH-INTENSITY HATHA YOGA ON CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS, ADIPOCYTOKINES, AND APOLIPOPROTEINS IN HEALTHY STUDENTS: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED STUDY. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. January 2016;22(1):81–87. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0082



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