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Yoga improves blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes
Thind H, Lantini R, Balletto BL, et al. The effects of yoga among adults with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Prev Med. 2017;105:116-26.
In people who have type 2 diabetes, does yoga improve blood sugar?
People with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for long-term complications. Often, in addition to taking medication, people need to follow special diets and engage in physical activity to help control their blood sugar. Yoga is thought to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar.
How the review was done
The researchers did a systematic review, searching for studies that were published up to Dec 2015.
They found 23 studies, including 2,473 people (average age 53 years; 57% were men).
The key features of the studies were:
- people were at least 18 years of age and had type 2 diabetes;
- people did yoga for a minimum of 12 hours over up to 26 weeks (type of yoga varied);
- yoga was compared with control groups that included usual care, exercise, and lifestyle education; and
- outcomes were measured at least 8 weeks after starting yoga.
What the researchers found
Compared with not doing yoga, yoga improved:
- control of blood sugar;
- cholesterol levels;
- blood pressure; and
- body mass index.
Compared with not doing yoga, yoga did not improve weight loss.
The studies were considered to be low to medium quality, which means that new studies might show different results.
In people with type 2 diabetes, yoga reduces blood sugar.
Yoga vs control in people with type 2 diabetes
Blood sugar (hemoglobin A1c)
People who did yoga had a small improvement in hemoglobin A1c compared with people who did not do yoga.
Systolic blood pressure
People who did yoga had a small improvement in their systolic blood pressure compared with people who did not do yoga.
Diastolic blood pressure
People who did yoga had a medium improvement in their diastolic blood pressure compared with people who did not do yoga.
Body mass index
People who did yoga had a medium improvement in their body mass index compared with people who did not do yoga.
People who did yoga did not lose more weight than people who did not do yoga.
People who did yoga had a medium improvement in their low-density cholesterol compared with people who did not do yoga.
People who did yoga had a small improvement in their high-density cholesterol compared with people who did not do yoga.
A group that receives either no treatment or a standard treatment.
The lower number in a blood pressure reading. It is the pressure when the heart rests between beats.
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.
The higher number in a blood pressure reading. It is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
Related Evidence Summaries
Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology (2018)
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2014)
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2012)
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