So this Artery Walks Into a Bar…

We all know that laughter is good for the soul, but did you know it was good for your arteries as well?

I guess the downside of this is that many of us in today’s society are under so much stress that we can’t really enjoy life, let alone let go and find laughter deep inside us.  We’re constantly focused on how many things are going wrong instead of how much positivity and joy we have around us.

Research has demonstrated that this stress begins to affect our children as well and increases their risk of depression later in life.  I know that since Keegan was young he frequently notes what a beautiful day it is and I always remind him of how lucky he is (about everything!) and how great life is.  Getting him started early on finding the joy in life and not having it squashed out of him…

I’ve heard it said that children laugh more than 100 times / day.  Adults?  A sad 15 times / day.

But what if the simple act of laughter was good for your blood vessels?  This particular study asked just this question.  Researchers took 17 healthy adults (23 to 42 years of age) and had them watch either 30 minutes of a comedy or a boring documentary.  Here’s what they found:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure increased while watching the comedy (no changes while watching the documentary).
  • Blood vessel health (as measured by ischemia-induced brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation) increased 17% while watching the comedy.
  • Blood vessel health decreased 15% while watching the documentary.
  • Carotid arterial compliance (by simultaneous application of ultrasound imaging and applanation tonometry) increased 10% immediately after watching the comedy and took 24 hours to return to pre-comedy levels.

So, the next time you think about turning on the Hallmark channel, your heart and blood vessels may better appreciate watching Jeff Dunham instead.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.