Groundbreaking Study on Acupuncture Treating Pre-Diabetes

Acupuncture Point Stomach 36

Acupuncture can help prevent type 2 diabetes in patients with pre-diabetes, according to current research.  Prediabetes, defined by blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, is increasing markedly in incidence and becoming a major global health issue.

 According to a new research study, acupuncture can help lower blood sugar and A1C levels in pre-diabetic patients (1). This is welcome news for those concerned about developing diabetes, as acupuncture may be another method to help prevent the disease.

 

What is Pre-Diabetes?

 

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at risk of developing full diabetes if left untreated.

 

About 88 million Americans—1 in 3 adults have prediabetes. 93% of people with prediabetic will develop type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) within 20 years. Most people with pre-diabetes will not have any symptoms and do not know that they have it (2).   Some of the classic symptoms of diabetes type 2 are fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent urination.

 

How does acupuncture work for diabetes?

 

Acupuncture Point Stomach 36
Acupuncture Point ST 36 is used for for Diabetes

Acupuncture works by correcting imbalances in the body which leads to improved health.

Modern science shows that acupuncture works to stimulate the body’s nervous system and regulates hormones to better control blood sugar levels. Research suggests that acupuncture helps to improve the pancreatic function and the digestive system (3). 

If you have pre-diabetes, acupuncture could help to prevent the disease from progressing. This meta-analysis found that acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction in both blood glucose and AIC levels. 

What Acupuncture Points are used for Diabetes?

The meta-analysis paper looked at many different studies.

The most commonly used acupuncture points were:

  • Zu San Li (ST36)
  • Pi Shu (BL-20)
  • Shen Shu (BL-23)
  • San Yin Jiao (SP-6)
  • Wei Shu (BL-21)
  • Tian Shu (ST-25)
  • Gan Shu (BL-18)
  • Weiwanxiashu (EX-B3)

 Acupuncture treatments are individualized to each person’s condition. 

Acupuncture Treating the Whole Person. 

One of the amazing aspects of acupuncture is that it treats not just your main health concern, but helps you feel better overall.  It is not just about reducing diabetes, it also helps you sleep better, improves digestion, and can even make you feel more energized.

Acupuncture should be used as part of a diabetes management program along with diet and exercise. 

Healthy diets have been shown to prevent and reverse diabetes. 

vegetable soup with brocolliThere are many healthy ways to eat for people with diabetes.

These healthy lifestyles include a whole-grain or low-carbohydrate diet with lean proteins, lots of vegetables, and healthy fats. The goal is to avoid refined carbs and processed foods (4).

It’s best to cook your own food, and include more vegetables, fruit, legumes and nuts. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards and chard are a great source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and potassium.

 

What is an acupuncture visit like? 

During the initial acupuncture visit for pre-diabetes we will conduct an examination and take a full medical history. We will talk not only about the blood sugar, but also your other health concerns such as digestion, insomnia, energy levels, and stress levels. 

The initial visit also has an acupuncture session.  I will create a customized treatment plan with specific acupuncture points for your issues.  We may also use electroacupuncture which is helpful in treating diabetes and controlling

blood sugar. Patients come in for weekly treatments for 8-12 weeks.  Acupuncture not only treats the main condition and but has many benefits such as improved relaxation, less pain, and better sleep. 

Learn more about acupuncture for prediabetes by calling us or making your appointment online. 

References: 

  1. Zhang, M., Wang, C. C., & Lo, J. (2022). Should Acupuncture-Related Therapies be Considered in Prediabetes Control? Results From a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Holist Nurs Pract, 36(4), 198-208. doi:10.1097/HNP.0000000000000530

    2. Khan, R. M. M., Chua, Z. J. Y., Tan, J. C., Yang, Y., Liao, Z., & Zhao, Y. (2019). From Pre-Diabetes to Diabetes: Diagnosis, Treatments and Translational Research. Medicina (Kaunas), 55(9). doi:10.3390/medicina55090546 

    3. Chen, C., Wang, H. C., Zhai, X., Huang, F., Wu, D., & Rong, P. J. (2018). [Progress of Research on Mechanism of Acupuncture for Diabetes Mellitus]. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu, 43(9), 601-605. doi:10.13702/j.1000-0607.180009

    4. Martin-Pelaez, S., Fito, M., & Castaner, O. (2020). Mediterranean Diet Effects on Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, Disease Progression, and Related Mechanisms. A Review. Nutrients, 12(8). doi:10.3390/nu12082236

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.