Yoga has long been considered a beneficial activity for improving mental health, and a recent study may have found the scientific reason why.
The exercise, which has exploded in popularity in the United States since researchers first began studying the benefits in the 1970s, was associated with improved mood and increased levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in patients with major depressive disorder.
To determine yoga’s impact on the amino acid neurotransmitter known to influence mood, anxiety, and sleep, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine studied two randomized groups of participants, a total of 28, suffering from major depression. The results were published last month in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
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