Adults with type 2 diabetes who do yoga could experience a number of health benefits, including lower blood sugar levels, a new study reports.
Scientists at Donghua University in Shanghai investigated if yoga could be effective in type 2 diabetes adults. To do this, they conducted a meta-analysis of 12 randomised trials.
The trials took place between 1992 and 2014 and involved 864 patients with type 2 diabetes. All the participants were assigned to yoga therapy with or without other treatments.
Lead author Jie Cui, MD, MSc and colleagues were primarily investigating how yoga affected fasting blood glucose, but secondary outcomes included HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglyceride levels and postprandial blood glucose.
Participants taking yoga therapy had lower levels of all these markers. The only health marker that increased slightly was HDL cholesterol, but higher HDL levels are also beneficial.
“Based on the evidence, yoga significantly reduces [fasting blood glucose] levels and alters other significant clinical outcomes in patients with [type 2 diabetes],” said the researchers.
Some diversity was observed during the analyses of fasting blood glucose and HbA1c, and these findings existed even after sensitivity and subgroup analyses were excluded.
The researchers suggested this heterogeneity could either be due to clinical and methodological differences or differences in diet and lifestyle between participants.
“These results support the idea that yoga-based training is a possible alternative exercise for [type 2 diabetes] management,” the researchers added.
“However, considering the limited methodology and the potential heterogeneity, further studies are necessary to support our findings and investigate the long-term effects of yoga in T2DM patients.”
While yoga therapy could indeed benefit people with type 2 diabetes, it should not be used to replace any parts of your current exercise regimen.
The study was published online in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

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