BistroMD Health Library

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Health Tips

From tips on how to lose weight effectively to ways to combat boredom eating, this collection of informative articles covers a wide range of health topics that matter to real people, like you.

Changing DNA Through Mind Control

Being mindful is essentially being present in the moment, free of judgment and disregarding the past and future. Practicing mindfulness has been implemented in a number of settings, including the treatment of disordered eating and as a technique for stress management. But ongoing research touts being mindful and having control over the mind can change DNA for the better, including a healthier, longer life. But can you really change DNA through mind control? A recent study suggests so!

Changing DNA Through Mind Control


Changing DNA Through Mind Control

Connecting the mind and body has been encouraged for centuries, and a recent study published in Cancer not only solidifies the importance of connecting the mind and body, but for changing DNA. Researchers revealed in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation are linked to longer telomeres.

(And as a quick biology lesson, telomeres are stretches of DNA that reside on the tips of chromosomes, helping to prevent against cellular damage. Though the verdict is still out whether or not short telomeres cause various disease statuses, they are present in individuals with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high stress levels. Health of telomeres are also dependent on telomerase, the enzyme responsible for elongating and lengthening telomeres.)

But back to the study… Eighty-eight breast cancer survivors were divided into three groups: 

Group #1 (treatment group): assigned to an 8-week cancer recovery program featuring mindfulness and yoga
Group #2 (treatment group): assigned to 12 weeks of group therapy with social support
Group #3 (control group): received 6-hour stress management course

Following the courses, the participants had blood analyzed, ultimately discovering that both treatment groups maintained telomere length while telomeres shortened in the control group. These implications piggyback off Dr. Dean Ornish’s study, who linked lifestyle changes to telomere health. More specifically, men with prostate cancer who consumed a vegan diet, exercised regularly, practiced stress management techniques, and participated in support groups displayed higher levels of telomerase.

What Can You Do?

While more research is still warranted for direct links between mind control and changing DNA, nurturing and growing an optimistic outlook is nonetheless beneficial for both physical and mental health. Individuals can grow confidence in mindfulness with these eight tips, along with meditating and practicing yoga on a frequent basis. And in addition to self-awareness, the importance of confiding in social support cannot be stressed enough. In fact, Harvard’s 75-year old study suggests the key to a happy, healthy life is not based on monetary value, or the number of connections for that matter, but the quality of relationships that earns the greatest merit. Though implementing mindfulness skills and nurturing loving relationships is highly beneficial, other significant lifestyle factors have been shown to support health at a cellular level, such as a plant-based, Mediterranean diet, regular exercise, and a sense of security.

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