To keep us happy and healthy, our bodies need to keep our sympathetic (think fight or flight) and parasympathetic (think rest and relaxation) nervous systems in balance. But as you're likely well aware, the stressors of modern-day life, as well as the fact that we can't physically run from many of our problems like our ancestors could, means the systems' balance can get out of whack.
Earlier studies suggest that high levels of certain biomarkers (plasma Αβ40, Αβ42, total tau) in our blood indicate not only an imbalance in our system but also a higher likelihood of developing diseases such as Alzheimer's.
This new study looked at whether those biomarkers could be altered by intentionally increasing or decreasing heart rate variability (HRV)—the amount of time between heartbeats. Its findings suggest that intentional, slow-paced breathing (about 10-second paced) could increase HRV and reduce those biomarkers.