The impact of pranayama on cellular health

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Sundar Balasubramanian, a cell biologist and assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, has combined his scientific expertise with his cultural heritage to explore the cellular effects of pranayama, a deep-breathing relaxation technique originating from yoga.

Saliva’s Significance

Balasubramanian’s research focuses on the increased saliva production induced by pranayama. Saliva, he explains, contains numerous antibodies and proteins with diverse functions, including tumor suppression and liver regeneration.

NGF Induction

In a 2015 study published in International Psychogeriatrics, Balasubramanian’s team demonstrated that pranayama increases nerve growth factor (NGF) in saliva. NGF plays a crucial role in nerve cell growth and survival, potentially impacting aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Ongoing Research

  • A study on the impact of breathing techniques on inflammation and disease symptoms in patients with scleroderma
  • An investigation into the potential of deep breathing to alleviate pain, improve appetite, and enhance mood in cancer patients


Balasubramanian’s research provides compelling evidence for the cellular benefits of pranayama. By increasing saliva production and NGF levels, pranayama may promote health and well-being.

Credit: OMG I Yoga

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