Effect of Meditation on Endothelial Function in Black Americans With Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial

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Abstract

Objectives

Psychological stress may play a role in metabolic syndrome. A consequence of metabolic syndrome is endothelial dysfunction, which is also influenced by psychological stress. We sought to compare the effect of consciously resting meditation (CRM), a sound based meditation, with a control intervention of health education (HE) on endothelial function in the setting of metabolic syndrome.

Methods

Sixty-eight black Americans with metabolic syndrome risk factors (age, 30–65 years) were randomized to either CRM (n = 33) or HE (n = 35); interventions were matched for frequency and duration of sessions and lasted 12 months. Endothelial function was assessed by brachial artery flow-mediated dilation at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Arterial elasticity, metabolic risk factors, and psychosocial and behavioral variables were secondary end points.

Results

Although flow-mediated dilation improved in the CRM group for 12 months, this increase was not significantly higher than that in the HE group (p = .51 for the interaction between group and time). Non–endothelium-dependent dilation and arterial elasticity did not change in either group. Most metabolic syndrome risk factors showed beneficial trends in the CRM group only. A risk factor score counting the number of metabolic syndrome components decreased in the CRM group only (p = .049 for the interaction between treatment group and time).

Conclusions

Among black Americans with metabolic syndrome risk factors, CRM, did not improve endothelial function significantly more than a control intervention of HE. CRM resulted in favorable trends in metabolic syndrome risk factors, which were examined as secondary outcomes.

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