Yoga for Diabetes

August 15, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In 2010, an estimated 1.9 million people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the United States alone. My guess is that only a very small fraction of them were advised to take up yoga. But, this is likely to change in the years to come. A new study in the August 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes Care reports that adding 3 months of yoga practice to “standard care” effectively reduced body mass index and levels of oxidative stress in a controlled trial involving 123 diabetics. A significant improvement in blood sugar control was also noted. Two previous publications from 2009 support the current findings and add that yoga is also capable of lowering anxiety, blood pressure and high triglycerides in those with adult onset diabetes. This is not to say that yoga is a replacement for appropriate dietary changes, other forms of exercise and sensible weight management. However, it illustrates the potential of such holistic therapies as part of a comprehensive diabetes regimen.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1: Effect of 3-Month Yoga on Oxidative Stress in Type 2 Diabetics … (link)

Study 2: Yoga Practice in Diabetes Improves Physical and Psychological Outcomes (link)

Study 3: Utilization of 3-Month Yoga Program for Adults at High Risk for Type 2 … (link)

How Yoga Protects Against Diabetes and Diabetic Complications

Source: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 December; 4(4): 469–486. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diabetes, Mental Health

11 Comments & Updates to “Yoga for Diabetes”

  1. G. Paul F. Says:

    Hi JP,

    I am sending this article to a good friend that can consider adding this valuable exercise to her routines and benefit
    Sharing our knowledge! If she does I will give you her feedback!
    Thank you and God bless you!


  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Paul! 🙂 I sincerely hope it will benefit your friend.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:

    PLoS One. 2015 Jun 25;10(6):e0130731.

    Effects of a 12-Week Hatha Yoga Intervention on Metabolic Risk and Quality of Life in Hong Kong Chinese Adults with and without Metabolic Syndrome.

    OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of a 12-week Hatha yoga intervention to improve metabolic risk profiles and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in Chinese adults with and without metabolic syndrome (MetS).

    METHODS: We conducted a controlled trial within an university-affiliated hospital. 173 Chinese men and women aged 18 or above were assigned to either the yoga intervention group (n = 87) or the control group (n = 86). Primary outcomes included 12-week change in metabolic risk factors and MetS z score. Secondary outcome was HRQoL (Medical Outcomes Short Form Survey at 12 weeks).

    RESULTS: The mean age of participants was 52.0 (SD 7.4, range 31-71) years. Analysis involving the entire study population revealed that the yoga group achieved greater decline in waist circumference (p<0.001), fasting glucose (p<0.01), triglycerides (p<0.05), and MetS z score (p<0.01). Yoga training also improved general health perceptions (p<0.01), physical component score (p<0.01), and social functioning (p<0.01) domains score of HRQoL. However, no significant differences between groups were observed in the mean change of systolic/diastolic blood pressures or high-density lipid protein cholesterol (all p>0.05). There were no significant differences in the intervention effects on waist circumference and MetS z score between the MetS subgroups (both p>0.05).

    CONCLUSION: A 12-week Hatha yoga intervention improves metabolic risk profiles and HRQoL in Chinese adults with and without MetS.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Update 07/15/15:

    J Midlife Health. 2015 Apr-Jun;6(2):81-4.

    Yoga: Managing overweight in mid-life T2DM.

    BACKGROUND: The dramatic rise in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with increased mortality, morbidity as well as public health care expenses worldwide. Previous research suggests that yoga holds promise for obesity and T2DM management.

    OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to assess the effect of intensive integrated approach of yoga therapy (IAYT) on body fat and body mass index (BMI) and resting metabolism in mid-life overweight patients with T2DM (BMI, Mean ± SD, 27.05 ± 4.51).

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-four mid-life patients (6 females) with T2DM (Age, Mean ± SD, 55.38 ± 7.96 years) participated in the study and practiced IAYT for 7 days. The IAYT works at five layers of human existence (physical, vital, mental, intellectual and bliss) to bring positive health. The body fat and BMI and resting metabolism were recorded before and after IAYT using Karada Scan body composition monitor HBF-375 from Omron Healthcare Singapore PTE LTD.

    STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: SPSS-16 was used to analyze the data. Shapiro-Wilk test showed that the data was not normally distributed. Further, the Wilcoxon signed-ranks test was used to analyze the change in means of pre- and post-measurements.

    RESULTS: Data analysis showed that there was a significant decrease in body fat and BMI and resting metabolism (in all assessments, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The present study suggests that 7 days practice of IAYT has a great promise for the management of overweight in mid-life patients with T2DM. Additional well-designed studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made. Be well! JP

  5. JP Says:

    Update 07/15/15:

    J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Apr;9(4):CC01-3.

    Effect of yoga on blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

    INTRODUCTION: In view of people embracing sedentary life style, and the effectiveness of treatment becoming less, the role of regular exercise especially ‘yoga’ seems to be a beneficial and economical adjuvant in the management of the Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

    OBJECTIVES: To assess the beneficial effects of yoga on blood glucose levels in normal and T2DM volunteers.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A prospective case-control study was conducted in the Department of Physiology and Diabetic clinic of a tertiary care teaching hospital over period of two years. The study subjects consisted of 30 male diabetic patients attending diabetic clinic and 30 non-diabetic male volunteers constituted control group. The patients in the age group of 36 to 55 years with T2DM of at least one year duration and those on diabetic diet and oral hypoglycemic agents were included in the study group. The age matched healthy male volunteers who had come to join yoga training at yoga centre were included in the control group. All the participants were trained by yoga experts and subjected to regular practice under supervision for six months. In all the participants fasting (FBS) and post-prandial blood sugar (PPBS) was estimated before, during (at three months) and after (six months) yoga training. Paired Student t-test was used to estimate difference in means calculated before and after yoga training in a same group. A p-value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

    RESULTS: The distribution of age, mean height and mean weight among both the groups were comparable. The reduction in mean values of FBS and PPBS at the end of six months was highly significant (p <0.001) in both the groups when compared with the mean values before and during (three months) yoga practice. The reduction in these values at three months during yoga was highly significant in T2DM group when compared with mean values before yoga (p <0.001), but it was insignificant (p<0.05) in control group.

    CONCLUSION: The results of the present study demonstrated that the yoga is effective in reducing the blood glucose levels in patients with T2DM.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 09/03/15:

    J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jul;27(7):2109-12.

    Effects of Hatha yoga exercise on plasma malondialdehyde concentration and superoxide dismutase activity in female patients with shoulder pain.

    [Purpose] The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of Hatha yoga exercise on plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in female patients with shoulder pain.

    [Subjects] Subjects comprised 20 female patients with shoulder pain.

    [Methods] Subjects were divided into 2 groups: a Hatha yoga exercise group (n = 10) and a control group that performed no exercise (n = 10). The subjects’ body composition, plasma malondialdehyde concentrations, and superoxide dismutase activities were measured before and after a 16-week Hatha yoga exercise program.

    [Results] After the 16-week Hatha yoga exercise program, the exercise group had significantly lower plasma MDA concentrations than the control group. In addition, the exercise group had significantly higher plasma SOD activity than the control group.

    [Conclusions] Hatha yoga exercise improves flexibility, muscle tone and strength, balance, and joint function. Our findings indicate that regular and continuous yoga exercise effectively improved body composition, decrease plasma MDA concentration, and increase plasma SOD activity in female patients with shoulder pain.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 08/15/16:

    Int J Yoga. 2016 Jul-Dec;9(2):130-6.

    Impact of individualized yoga therapy on perceived quality of life performance on cognitive tasks and depression among Type II diabetic patients.

    CONTEXT: An individualized approach of providing yoga support can address many of the disease-related concerns indicated in the management of diabetes, specifically the impact on other life activities and long-term functional wellbeing.

    AIM: To analyze the role of regular yoga practice as a self-management approach to achieve glycemic control and psychological wellbeing in Type II diabetic patients.

    METHODS: Ninety-one subjects of both sexes responded to the announcement and consented to participate in the study. This was a single group, before and after yoga evaluation without control comparison. The fasting and postprandial blood sugar, glycosylated hemoglobin (HBA1c), cognitive tasks, depression, cognitive failure, and diabetic-related quality of life (QOL) were measured as pretest. The subjects underwent one-to-one individualized yoga therapy sessions, which included 12 supervised sessions spread over a 3-month period. The posttest data were analyzed using paired t-test and Wilcoxon paired rank test.

    RESULTS: Showed significant reduction in fasting blood sugar. QOL of the diabetic patients had improved significantly. There was a significant reduction in the frequency (mean difference of 7.58, P > 0.01) of depressive symptoms and intensity of depression (mean difference 1.66, P > 0.05). Concentration and attention span improved significantly and mean discrepancy score reduced (mean difference 3.42, P > 0.01). There were no marked changes in the postprandial blood sugar and HBA1c.

    CONCLUSION: Yoga practice enhances the subjective wellbeing, QOL, improves mood and concentration, and facilitates achievement of adequate glycemic control among Type II diabetic patients.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 09/23/16:

    J Clin Diagn Res. 2016 Aug;10(8):KC01-4.

    Comparative Assessment of the Effects of Hatha Yoga and Physical Exercise on Biochemical Functions in Perimenopausal Women.

    INTRODUCTION: Menopause is a transitional phase in which some women experience discomfort, while others may exhibit variety of symptoms. The power of yoga therapy in relieving stress, enhancing health, improving fitness and managing symptoms of a variety of disorders is remarkable.

    AIM: The current study was designed to study the effect of Hatha yoga therapy and regular physical exercise on the Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Glycated Haemoglobin (GHB), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), serum cortisol and total plasma thiol levels in perimenopausal women.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 216 women with perimenopausal symptoms, 111 in test group (Hatha yoga) and 105 in control group (physical exercise). The duration of intervention was 45 minutes every day for 12 weeks. Blood samples were collected in the pre and post intervention period. Statistical significance was defined as p<0.05.

    RESULTS: FBS and GHB (p≤0.05) showed a significant decrease after yoga therapy. Cortisol levels significantly (p≤0.05) increased in the post intervention period in the control group. However, it is maintained in the test group between the two time periods. The total plasma thiols level showed a rise in the post intervention period, significant rise (p≤0.001) in control group but not significant in the test group. The TSH levels were not altered in any group.

    CONCLUSION: It is concluded that exercise helps in maintaining the sugar levels but calming effects of yoga practice is important in relieving stress and enhancing health in perimenopausal women.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 10/25/16:

    J Yoga Phys Ther. 2016 Jan 18;6(1).

    Impact of a 10 minute Seated Yoga Practice in the Management of Diabetes.

    OBJECTIVE: We sought to prospectively evaluate the impact of a 10 minute seated yoga program added to standard comprehensive diabetes care on glucose control and cardiovascular health in the severely ill, medically complex diabetic population.

    METHOD: A total of 10 patients with type 2 diabetes, ages 49-77, with duration of diabetes >10 years and haemoglobin A1C >9% (75 mmol/mol) were included in the study. Patients randomized to a yoga intervention were taught a 10 minute seated yoga practice, were given an explanatory DVD and a fold-out pocket guide to encourage adherence at home, and were instructed to incorporate the practice as often as they could. The patients in the control arm were provided information and hand outs on the available yoga classes on campus.

    RESULTS: At 3 month clinical follow up, the mean decrease in fasting capillary blood glucose (CBG) was 45% among yoga participants (-5.2 ± 4.1 mmol/L). Heart rate (HR) dropped by 18% and Diastolic blood pressure (BP) dropped by 29% in the intervention arm, (-12.4 ± 6.69 and -26 ± 12.05 mmHg, respectively). There were no statistically significant changes in the haemoglobin A1C, systolic blood pressure, weight, or body mass index in either group.

    CONCLUSION: Our small pilot study reinforces the current medical evidence supporting the use of yoga, combined with standard care, to improve health outcomes in diabetes.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 04/24/17:

    Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017 Apr 12.

    Effect of short-term yoga-based lifestyle intervention on plasma glucose levels in individuals with diabetes and pre-diabetes in the community.

    AIM: To study the effect of short term Yoga-based lifestyle intervention in the management of diabetes and pre-diabetes, through a ‘pilot’ community-based study.

    METHODS: A total of 1292 subjects with diagnosed type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes were recruited from different States of India viz., Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Tamilnadu participated in the study. Yoga-based lifestyle intervention was introduced through 10-day non-residential camps. Baseline and post intervention assessments of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) were measured on the first day and tenth day respectively. Of 1292 subjects, 896 both pre- and post- FPG readings were available. Data analysis was done using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS), version 16.

    RESULTS: Mean baseline FPG level was 133.1 (±47.98) and the mean post intervention FPG reduced to 121.19 (±40.56). There was a statistically significant decrease in FPG, p value (<0.0001).

    CONCLUSION: The result suggests that a short-term Yoga-based lifestyle intervention effectively reduces FPG levels in type 2 diabetes patients and pre-diabetes.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 06/05/17:

    JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017 May 29;5(5):e75.

    Incorporation of a Stress Reducing Mobile App in the Care of Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study.

    BACKGROUND: Severe and sustained emotional stress creates a physiological burden through increased sympathetic activity and higher energy demand. This may lead to increased oxidative stress and development of the metabolic syndrome. Emotional stress has been shown to contribute to the onset, progression, and control of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Stress management and biofeedback assisted relaxation have been shown to improve glycemic control. Use of a mobile app for stress management may enhance the scalability of such an approach.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of using a mobile app of biofeedback-assisted relaxation on weight, blood pressure (BP), and glycemic measures of patients with T2D.

    METHODS: Adult patients with T2D and inadequate glycemic control (hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]>7.5%) were recruited from the outpatient diabetes clinic. Baseline weight, BP, HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), triglycerides (TG), and 7-point self-monitoring of blood glucose were measured. Patients were provided with a stress reducing biofeedback mobile app and instructed to use it 3 times a day. The mobile app-Serenita-is an interactive relaxation app based on acquiring a photoplethysmography signal from the mobile phone’s camera lens, where the user places his finger. The app collects information regarding the user’s blood flow, heart rate, and heart rate variability and provides real-time feedback and individualized breathing instructions in order to modulate the stress level. All clinical and biochemical measures were repeated at 8 and 16 weeks of the study. The primary outcome was changes in measures at 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: Seven patients completed 8 weeks of the study and 4 completed 16 weeks. At week 8, weight dropped by an average of 4.0 Kg (SD 4.3), systolic BP by 8.6 mmHg (SD 18.6), HbA1c by 1.3% (SD 1.6), FPG by 4.3 mmol/l (4.2), and serum TG were unchanged.

    CONCLUSIONS: Stress reduction using a mobile app based on biofeedback may improve glycemic control, weight, and BP.

    Be well!


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