A review published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that spiritual fitness may reduce multiple risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The review examined research specifically covering spiritual fitness centered on psychological and spiritual well-being, and Kirtan Kriya, a simple 12-minute meditative practice.
In the review, the authors discuss the research on spiritual well-being and how it relates to brain function. For example, psychological wellness may reduce inflammation and cardiovascular disease, and individuals who had a high score on a "purpose in life" (PIL) measure (a component of psychological well-being), were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of AD than those with low PIL. In another study, participants who reported higher levels of PIL exhibited better cognitive function, and PIL actually slowed the decline in those with already existing conditions.
"The key point of this review is that making a commitment to a brain longevity lifestyle, including spiritual fitness, is a critically important way for aging Alzheimer's disease free," explained authors Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, and Andrew B. Newberg, MD, of the Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Department of Radiology, Marcus Institute of Integrative Health. "We hope this article will inspire scientists, clinicians and patients to embrace this new concept of spiritual fitness and make it a part of every multidomain program for the prevention of cognitive disability."