Can doing simple breathing exercises protect you from Alzheimer's? A new study suggests that inhaling and exhaling on the count of five for 20 minutes twice a day could prevent memory loss later in life.
Researchers from the University of Southern California suggest that simple breathing exercises could help in reducing the peptides associated with Alzheimer's disease, Medical Express reported.
How does breathing affect Alzheimer's?
Studies have shown that a person's breathing pattern affects heart rate, which in turn influences the nervous system and how the brain produces proteins and clears them away.
When a person is active and awake, the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the automatic nervous system, takes control of the body. During this period, there is not much variation in the heartbeat. The parasympathetic system is a network of nerves that relaxes your body. When it gets activated, heart rates increase during inhale and decrease during exhale.
A physically fit person can easily transition between sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. However, with age, the ability to access the parasympathetic nervous system decreases dramatically.
"We know the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems influence the production and clearance of Alzheimer's related peptides and proteins. Nevertheless, there's been very little research on how these physiological changes in aging might be contributing to the factors that make it conducive for someone to develop Alzheimer's disease or not," Mara Mather, who led the research, said, Medical Express reported.
Researchers believe that increased production of amyloid beta peptides in the brain or decreased clearance can trigger Alzheimer's disease.
In an experiment conducted over four weeks, the researchers found that participants who did breathing exercises had increased heart rate variability during each session and had lower levels of amyloid-beta peptides circulating in their blood.
Earlier research has shown that sleep deprivation and stress can increase amyloid beta levels in the blood. However, successful behavioral interventions could not be developed until the new study showcased practicing slow-paced breathing could reduce amyloid beta peptide levels.
"At least to date, exercise interventions have not decreased amyloid beta levels. Regularly practicing slow-paced breathing via HRV exercise may be a low-cost and low-risk way to reduce plasma amyloid beta levels and to keep them low throughout adulthood," Mather added.
Published by Medicaldaily.com