Mind-body practices such as meditation and yoga have grown in popularity as tools for promoting health and combating diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Approximately 66% of Americans with type 2 diabetes use mind-body practices, with many of them doing so to help manage blood sugar.
Mind-body practices, according to new research, can effectively help reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Certain mind-body practices, according to the researchers, may be as effective as commonly prescribed medications in lowering blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients.
Data from randomized controlled studies conducted around the world were analyzed. The researchers discovered 28 studies in which type 2 diabetes patients began a mind-body practice in addition to taking medication, and the results were compared to those of individuals who only took medication for reducing blood sugar levels.
The study analyzed a variety of mind-body practices such as mindfulness stress reduction, meditation, yoga, and qigong, and how they affected blood glucose levels, revealing that all of the mind-body practices resulted in significant blood sugar level reductions.
Overall, the mind-body practices resulted in an average .84% in hemoglobin A1c reduction, a measurement of the past 3 months’ average blood glucose level. Yoga provided the greatest benefit, approximately a 1% reduction in hemoglobin A1c. The researchers explained that a 1% reduction is especially significant because the most prescribed diabetes drug known as metformin reduces hemoglobin A1c in type 2 diabetes individuals by an average of 1.1%.
What’s important about these study results is that the effect is significant over and above the standard of care, revealing that mind-body practices helped individuals achieve reductions in blood glucose levels in addition to the reductions they were obtaining from medication.
The research indicates that mind-body practices could be utilized as a complementary non-pharmacological treatment for type 2 diabetes individuals and possibly as a preventive measure as well.
More effective methods for managing type 2 diabetes are required, given that approximately half of type 2 diabetes individuals succeed in reducing blood sugar levels to the target level of 7% hemoglobin A1c. The number of pre-diabetic Americans has also increased to approximately a third.
The studies had been conducted in various countries, which further suggests that mind-body practices could help benefit type 2 diabetes individuals around the world.
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