Research published in 2019 uncovered the remarkable ability of loving-kindness meditation to help maintain telomere length (TL), a key indicator for aging.
A study involving 142 midlife adults investigated whether mindfulness meditation (MM) and loving kindness meditation (LKM) had distinct effects on TL. The participants were randomised to be in a control group or to learn either MM or LKM in a 6-week workshop. TL was assessed two weeks before the start of the workshops and three weeks after the termination.
While both MM and waitlist control experienced decreased TL over 6 weeks, those in the LKM group saw significantly less attrition than their counterparts. This suggests that mindful practices can not only protect against age-related damage but also support longevity overall.
Results showed that TL decreased significantly in the MM group and the control group, but not in the LKM group, and there was significantly less TL attrition in the LKM group than the control group. The MM group showed changes, but none that were significantly different.
Le Nguyen KD, Lin J, Algoe SB, Brantley MM, Kim SL, Brantley J, Salzberg S, Fredrickson BL. Loving-kindness meditation slows biological aging in novices: Evidence from a 12-week randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Oct;108:20-27. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.05.020. Epub 2019 May 20. Erratum in: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 Nov;109:104440. PMID: 31185369.