Objective: Several studies suggest that yoga can decrease oxidative stress. However reports are scanty regarding whether yoga training can improve the glutathione level of individual. This study is designed to appraise the role of yoga in maintaining glutathione (reduced and oxidized) levels and antioxidant status.
Study design: This study was conducted on healthy male volunteers from the Indian Navy, who were divided into two groups--a yoga (n = 30) group and a control (n = 21) group. The yoga group was trained in yoga for 6 months. The yoga schedule consisted of prayers, asana, pranayama, and meditation. The control group practiced routine physical training exercise for 6 months. Blood samples were collected when the volunteers were in fasting condition before and after completion of 6-month training period. Reduced and oxidized glutathione, glutathione reductase activity and total antioxidant status (TAS) were estimated.
Results: Reduced glutathione level increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the yoga group after completion of training. Glutathione reductase activity increased significantly in the control group (p < 0.05). TAS increased significantly (p < 0.001) in the yoga group and decreased significantly (p < 0.001) in the control group.
Conclusions: Regular practice of yoga can maintain or improve antioxidant level of the body. The clinical relevance is that yoga practice can be used to maintain the antioxidant defense system under stressful conditions of training as observed in the case of soldiers and athletes.