Acupuncture may help reverse prediabetes, study says

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A recent study that reviewed existing data on the benefits of acupuncture for prediabetes suggested that acupuncture can be an effective tool in preventing diabetes.

The paper, published in the journal, Holistic Nursing Practice, was led by Min Zhang, a PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University located in Perth and Bunbury, Australia. For this study, Zhang and her colleagues reviewed previous research to determine the safety and efficacy of acupuncture therapy on glycemic control for prediabetes.

According to the paper, prediabetes is a reversable condition that refers to higher-than-normal glucose levels and is a precursor to diabetes. Acupuncture, according to the study, includes many acupoint stimulation techniques using needles, light, electronic pulse, and other tools.

After their analysis of existing data on acupuncture and its effect on prediabetics, collected from dozens of studies with thousands of participants, researchers concluded that acupuncture appeared to help several key markers of the condition. According to the review, acupuncture significantly improved patients’ fasting plasma glucose, two-hour plasma glucose, and glycated hemoglobin. In addition, researchers found an association between acupuncture and a greater decline in the incidence of prediabetes.

According to Zhang, with the incidence of diabetes being so high, greater efforts need to go into preventing the disease. The study’s results suggested that acupuncture may offer a nonpharmaceutical holistic way to help prevent diabetes, however the authors noted that more research is required to observe long-term effectiveness and how different populations react to the therapy.

“Many people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms and feel fine, but some people progress into the diabetes period no more than six months after their prediabetes diagnosis,” said Zhang in a statement. “In fact, prediabetes intervention is an investment rather than an expenditure. So, the best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now.”