HYDERABAD: An epigenetic study conducted collectively by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad and AIIMS, New Delhi, has shown that the practice of yoga has positive effects on sperm quality. The study suggests that yoga is correlated with epigenetic changes, DNA methylation in the sperm.
Yoga-Based Lifestyle Interventions (YBLI) are increasingly being offered as an adjunct to modern medicine. The pilot study was recently published in the journal Andrologia, offers a first-of-its-kind analysis of the effect of YBLI on infertile men.
It demonstrated a reduction in seminal oxidative stress with improvement in sperm mobility, and therefore its fertilising potential, after the practice of yoga.
YBLI in this study included physical movements and postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana), practised for one hour each day for 21 days.
This led to improved sperm quality in the patients enrolled in the study. Using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing analysis study demonstrated a resetting of the sperm methylome in the yoga practitioners. The methylome, known to directly control the expression of genes, in this case, is found to be associated with changes in nearly 400 genes, including several genes that are known to play a role in male fertility, spermatogenesis and embryo implantation.
“The genes identified using the epigenomic approach in this study will be useful in candidates for further focused investigations. As this pilot study was carried out on a small number of individuals, a larger-scale investigation and further research on the effects of YBLI on male infertility will be necessary,” Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB said.