Acupuncture: Is it effective for treatment of insulin resistance?

Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa, Japan.
Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.36). 07/2010; 12(7):555-69. DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01192.x
Source: PubMed


Insulin resistance (IR) is closely associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), non-alcohol fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) and metabolic syndrome and is also a risk factor for serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Pharmacological treatments available for IR are limited by drug adverse effects. Because acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years in China, it has been increasingly used worldwide for IR-related diseases. This review analyses 234 English publications listed on the PubMed database between 1979 and 2009 on the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for IR. These publications provide clinical evidence, although limited, in support of the effectiveness of acupuncture in IR. At this stage, well-designed, evidence-based clinical randomized controlled trial studies are therefore needed to confirm the effects of acupuncture on IR. Numerous experimental studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can correct various metabolic disorders such as hyperglycemia, overweight, hyperphagia, hyperlipidemia, inflammation, altered activity of the sympathetic nervous system and insulin signal defect, all of which contribute to the development of IR. In addition, acupuncture has the potential to improve insulin sensitivity. The evidence has revealed the mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of acupuncture, though further investigations are warranted.

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    • "However, the genetic mechanism of the development of hyperglycemia is comparable between OLETF rats and humans [10–12]. Therefore, the results obtained in the present experiments may have significant implications for considering the application of acupuncture therapy in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, as discussed elsewhere [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Effects of acupuncture stimulation on blood glucose concentration and body weight were investigated in the Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat, a model for type-2 diabetes. Material/Methods Three groups of rats were used: OLETF, acupuncture-treated OLETF (AcOLETF), and Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats (as control for the OLETF rats). In AcOLETF rats, acupuncture stimulation was applied twice a week to 6 points (zhongwan, tianshu, qihai, ganshu, pishu, shenshu) and changes in blood glucose concentration and body weight were measured. Results Initially, at 6 weeks old, there was no significant difference in blood glucose levels between groups. Blood glucose levels increased with age in each group, reaching a maximum of about 430 mg/dl at 37 weeks in OLETF rats. In AcOLETF rats, blood glucose levels increased at a slower rate than in OLETF rats, reaching a maximum concentration of about 280 mg/dl at 37 weeks of age, significantly lower than that in OLETF rats. The concentration of blood glucose in LETO rats had stabilized at a maximum value of 120~140 mg/dl by 16 weeks, remaining at this level for up to 39 weeks. In each group, body weight increased with age and was not affected by acupuncture treatment. Conclusions In OLETF rats, acupuncture treatment significantly reduced blood glucose levels, but not their body weight, suggesting that acupuncture therapy was effective in preventing the development of type-2 diabetes mellitus.
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    • "Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a major representative of complementary and alternative medicine. Its efficacy has been proved in chronic diseases, including obesity [8–10]. ZHENG (in Chinese, also known as syndrome or pattern) is the key concept, identified from a comprehensive analysis of clinical information through TCM methods, like observation, inquiring patient, and tongue and pulse analyses [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective. Obesity therapy needs new approaches to complement current phenotyping systems. This study aims to assess associations between the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ZHENG and obesity phenotypes. Methods. We assessed medical history and habitual physical activity and measured body composition, fasting plasma glucose and insulin, and lipids. We collected TCM data through face-to-face interview. ZHENG elements (essentials and locations) were identified by TCM practitioner. Primary ZHENG was assessed by cluster analysis. Results. In 140 consecutive subjects enrolled in a university clinic (body mass index (BMI): 39.9 ± 5.8 kg/m2), ZHENG essentials were identified as “QiXu,” “Re,” “YinXu,” and “TanShi” (totally 86.8%). Locations were “Shen,” “Wei,” “Pi,” and “Gan” (totally 91.8%). Four types of primary ZHENG were identified: A (37.1% of subjects), B (16.5%), C (35.7%), and D (10.7%). Subjects in type D showed elevated BMI, total fat mass (FM), FM index, trunk FM, and less physical activity, as compared with others. Subjects in type B changed regional body composition (reduced trunk FM% and elevated appendicular FM%). Biological parameters did not differ across primary ZHENG clusters. Conclusions. Obesity phenotypes based on body composition differ according to ZHENG in obese patients. This study is a first step toward understanding the contribution of TCM to obesity phenotyping.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "Again, given the poor methodological quality of the trials reviewed, it is difficult to say that the evidence is fully convincing [53]. There is also some evidence that acupuncture may help to correct various metabolic disorders such as hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, but further rigorous investigation in this area is warranted [54]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) plays a significant role in many aspects of healthcare worldwide, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). This review describes some of the challenges of CAM in terms of scientific research. Biologically-based therapies, mind-body therapies, manipulative and body-based therapies, whole medical systems, and energy medicine are reviewed in detail with regard to cardiovascular risk factors and mediation or modulation of cardiovascular disease pathogenesis. CAM use among patients with CVD is prevalent and in many instances provides positive and significant effects, with biologically-based and mind-body therapies being the most commonly used treatment modalities. More rigorous research to determine the precise physiologic effects and long-term benefits on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality with CAM usage, as well as more open lines of communication between patients and physicians regarding CAM use, is essential when determining optimal treatment plans.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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