Effect of Yoga Practice on Levels of Inflammatory Markers After Moderate and Strenuous Exercise

J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Jun;9(6):CC08-12. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2015/12851.6021. Epub 2015 Jun 1.


Background and objectives: To evaluate the effect of yoga practice and exercise challenge on Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α), Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels and lipid profile.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and eighteen subjects participated in the study. One hundred and nine volunteers (51 males and 58 females) in the age group of 20 to 60 years, who practiced yoga regularly for over five years for a period of one hour daily, performed a bout of moderate exercise and a bout of strenuous exercise as per Standardized Shuttle Walk test protocol. Anthropometrically matched, age matched and gender matched subjects, who did not practice yoga (non-yoga group) were chosen as controls (non-yoga, n=109). The non-yoga group also performed similar exercises. The blood samples of both the groups were collected before and after the exercises. TNF-α and IL-6 was analysed before and after the exercise by Sandwich ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay).

Results: Resting plasma TNF-α concentration was significantly higher in non-yoga group when compared to yoga group (p<0.05). There was an increase in TNF-α levels in both the groups in response to strenuous exercise. There was no gender difference in TNF-α and IL-6 levels before and after exercise in yoga and non-yoga groups.

Conclusion: Regular practice of yoga lowers basal TNF-α and IL-6 levels. It also reduces the extent of increase of TNF-α and IL-6 to a physical challenge of moderate exercise and strenuous exercise. There is no significant gender difference in the TNF-α and IL-6 levels. Regular practice of yoga can protect the individual against inflammatory diseases by favourably altering pro-inflammatory cytokine levels.

Keywords: Inflammation; Interleukin-6; Shuttle walk test; Tumour Necrosis Factor-α.