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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 1/2016

Yogic breathing when compared to attention control reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers in saliva: a pilot randomized controlled trial

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2016
Waleed O. Twal, Amy E. Wahlquist, Sundaravadivel Balasubramanian
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12906-016-1286-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Self-report measures indicate that Yoga practices are perceived to reduce stress; however, molecular mechanisms through which YB affects stress are just beginning to be understood. While invasive sampling such as blood has been widely used to measure biological indicators such as pro-inflammatory biomarkers, the use of saliva to measure changes in various biomolecules has been increasingly recognized. As Yoga practice stimulates salivary secretion, and saliva is considered a source of biomarkers, changes in salivary cytokines before and after Yogic breathing exercise as specified in an ancient Tamil script, Thirumanthiram, were examined using a Cytokine Multiplex to compare to Attention Control (AC) group.


Twenty healthy volunteers were randomized into two groups stratified by gender (N = 10 per YB and AC groups); The YB group performed two YB exercises, each for ten minutes, for a total of twenty minutes in a single session as directed by a trained Yoga instructor. The AC group read a text of their choice for 20 min. Saliva was collected immediately after YB training at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 min and analyzed by Multiplex enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


The levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8, and monocyte chemotactic protein −1 (MCP-1) were significantly reduced in YB group when compared to AC group. The level of reduction of IL-8 was significant at all time points tested, whereas IL-1β showed reduction at 15 and 20 min time points (p < 0.05), and MCP-1 level was marginally different at 5–20 min. There were no significant differences between YB and AC groups in the salivary levels of IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, IP-10, MIP-1b, and TNF-α.


These data are the first to demonstrate the feasibility of detecting salivary cytokines using multiplex assay in response to a Yoga practice. This study was registered in Clinical # NCT02108769.
Additional file 1: Table S1. Changes in salivary levels of pro-inflammatory biomarker panel in Yogic Breathing (YB) group when compared with Attention Control (AC) group. Saliva samples from both groups were collected at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 min were analyzed multiplex assay as explained under Methods. Data expressing levels of IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1b, and TNF-alpha (pg/mL) from all the individuals from YB and AC groups at each time point are presented. (XLSX 66 kb)
Additional file 2: Figure S1. Interaction plots showing means/SDs for salivary IL-1β, IL-8 and MCP-1 levels (pg/mL) over time (minutes) in Attention Control (red line) and Yogic breathing (black line) groups. (DOCX 62 kb)
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