Recent medical research into meditation based on stress, pain, coping, and quality of life has shown an overall positive impact on health and immunological outcomes including oxidative stress. This study was aimed to assess the total nitric oxide, nitrite levels, and antioxidant capacity in experienced meditators compared to an age-, gender-, and education level–matched non-meditating group and to determine relationship between these parameters.
The total serum nitric oxide (NOx:NO3− + NO2−) and nitrite (NO2−) levels of long-term, experienced meditators (n = 12), recruited using a validated interview, and age-, gender-, and educational level–matched control subjects (n = 12) who had never practiced meditation, were determined using the modified Griess and Griess assay respectively. The Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) was determined using the ABTS assay using Trolox as a standard.
Serum NOx 5.03 ± 0.31 (mean ± SD) and nitrite levels 0.52 ± 0.05 of the meditators were significantly lower and TEAC values 424.35 ± 41.53 of the meditators were significantly higher compared to control group who had serum NOx levels of 5.42 ± 0.42 (p = 0.016, d = − 1.05), nitrite levels of 0.92 ± 0.52 (p = 0.014, d = − 1.08), and TEAC values of 376.15 ± 12.69 (p = 0.001, d = 1.57). There was a correlation of the TEAC levels with NO2− (r = 0.562; d = 0.316) and NOx (r = 0.664; d = 0.441).
These findings indicate a lower production of nitric oxide and a higher serum antioxidant capacity in the long-term meditators with potential beneficial effects against oxidative stress.