Acupuncture Regulates Insulin And Glucose In Diabetics

Acupuncture Regulates Insulin And Glucose In Diabetics

From HealthCMI

on 07 June 2015.

Acupuncture regulates glucose levels in diabetics and improves the performance of metformin, an oral diabetes medication. Combining electroacupuncture with metformin improves glucose lowering performance and regulation of insulin secretion. As a result of recent findings, researchers conclude that a combination of electroacupuncture with an insulin sensitiser may be a new treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Liao et al. conducted a laboratory investigation on the effects of electroacupuncture and metformin on insulin resistant rats. The researchers comment that their investigation design is a humane model in that the rats need not be killed at the completion of the experiment. Blood samples, insulin assays, and immunohistochemical staining with western blot revealed important facts about how electroacupuncture achieves its therapeutic effects.

Electroacupuncture combined with metformin results in higher insulin levels than using only metformin. The researchers note that while metformin increases insulin sensitivity and inhibits gluconeogenesis, it “does not directly affect insulin secretion in the pancreas….” This indicates that the higher insulin levels were due to the addition of electroacupuncture treatments to acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli).

An acupuncture plus metformin group was compared with a metformin only group. The researchers discovered that electroacupuncture increases the expression of MAPK insulin signalling factors. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) regulate a variety of cell functions. The researchers note that higher MAPK levels in the electroacupuncture combined with metformin group were due, at least in part, to electroacupuncture induced muscle contractions.

Metformin mildly decreases plasma free fatty acid (FFA) levels. However, the addition of electroacupuncture significantly enhanced this effect. FFA increases are associated with insulin resistance and reduced insulin sensitivity. The researchers note that the results suggest that adding electroacupuncture (EA) therapy to metformin intake ameliorates “insulin resistance caused by FFAs.” 

The researchers note, “In conclusion, we found that EA–metformin resulted in a better glucose-lowering effect, higher levels of insulin secretion, lower plasma FFA levels and higher levels of MAPK than metformin alone. The glucose-lowering effect and increased insulin sensitivity associated with EA–metformin administration is governed, at least in part, by its ability to stimulate the activation of GLUT4 via upregulation of MAPK expression.” 

The researchers noted several reasons for initiation of their investigation. Prior research by Lin et al. indicates that 2 Hz electroacupuncture at acupuncture point CV12 (Zhongwan) “reduces plasma glucose levels in diabetic rats.” Lee et al. discovered that electroacupuncture stimulates beta endorphin releases that increase insulin production in diabetic rats. Electroacupuncture at 15 Hz to acupoint ST36 induced glucose lowering responses through stimulation of cholinergic nerves and adrenal glands that subsequently stimulate the release of insulin signalling proteins. Electroacupuncture was also shown to enhance the expression of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1), an insulin signal protein that results in FFA decreases.

Liang et al. demonstrate that low frequency electroacupuncture improves insulin sensitivity in diabetic mice via activation of PGC-1alpha and SIRT1. PGC alpha is a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis. The protein deacetylase SIRT1 is a metabolic sensor that affects PGC alpha. Together, the two substances are involved in metabolic fitness. Lagouge et al. note, in their study of the benefits of resveratrol on mitochondrial function and prevention of metabolic disease, that SIRT1 is indicated “as a key regulator of energy and metabolic homeostasis.”

Liao et al. note that human clinical trials “should be undertaken to obtain clearer information about the role of EA in GLUT4 translocation as well as the long-term effects on the control of DM (diabetes melitis).” They note that the data indicates that combining electroacupuncture with an insulin sensitizing agent may be a new treatment strategy for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Liao, Hsien-Yin, Mao-Feng Sun, Jaung-Geng Lin, Shih-Liang Chang, and Yu-Chen Lee. “Electroacupuncture plus metformin lowers glucose levels and facilitates insulin sensitivity by activating MAPK in steroid-induced insulin-resistant rats.” Acupuncture in Medicine (2015): acupmed-2014.

Lin JG, Chang SL, Cheng JT. Release of beta-endorphin from adrenal gland to lower plasma glucose by the electroacupuncture at Zhongwan acupoint in rats. Neurosci Lett 2002;326:17–20.

Lee YC, Li TM, Tzeng CY, et al. Electroacupuncture at the Zusanli (ST-36) acupoint induces a hypoglycemic effect by stimulating the cholinergic nerve in a rat model of streptozotocine-induced insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Liang F, Chen R, Nakagawa A, et al. Low-frequency electroacupuncture improves insulin sensitivity in obese diabetic mice through activation of SIRT1/PGC-1alpha in skeletal muscle. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011;2011:735297.

Lagouge, Marie, Carmen Argmann, Zachary Gerhart-Hines, Hamid Meziane, Carles Lerin, Frederic Daussin, Nadia Messadeq et al. “Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1α.” Cell 127, no. 6 (2006): 1109-1122.

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The Real Problem with Sleeping Problems

Is How You (Don’t) Sleep Making You Sick?

We all know that there are short term problems with not getting a good night’s sleep – a lack of mental sharpness, irritability, falling asleep at inopportune times, etc.  Did you know there are potential long-term risks to your health also?  For instance, people who sleep less than 6 hours per night are twice as likely to have a heart attack, and four times more likely to have a stroke than those who sleep more than 6 hours.  They are also at greater risk of diabetes and obesity.  Extreme fatigue increases appetite and decreases metabolism, and individuals who regularly get less than 4 hours of sleep 4 nights or more a week may easily be in a pre-diabetic state. 

Half of adults 55+ have at least 1 symptom of insomnia at least 3 times per week including:
– Trouble falling asleep
– Waking during the night
– Waking to early and being unable to fall back to sleep
– Not feeling refreshed upon waking

Women suffer from insomnia more than men due to pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.

Twenty million Americans take prescription sleep pills regularly. Over $100 million is spent in the US on over the counter sleep aids per year, and that number does not include prescriptions.  Drug oriented OTCs have been studied and found no more effective than a placebo.  Medications alter sleeping cycles, and suppress REM sleep. This can lead to light, restless sleep with nightmares once medications end, or “REM Withdrawl Sleep.”  Many individuals often return to these sleep aids, even the ones advertised as “non-habit forming,” and the cycle continues.  Medications can cause long-term harm to your body.  Additionally, they are expensive, and only treat the symptom of an underlying problem. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the symptoms of insomnia are the branches of a disease.  An imbalance in the body, usually Chi, blood, Yin, Yan, Jing, or Shen, or a major organ system (lung, liver, heart, spleen, kidney, or liver) causes the imbalance or dysfunction, and acupuncture treatments help realign the body’s systems and help you find balance once more.  Additional methods in Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as herbs, may also help your body better process energy and achieve restful sleep. 

The following may lead to a lack of restful sleep:

The Body
Physical tension
Overeating, especially protein
Irregular sleeping hours
Lack of physical exercise
Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
Sleep apnea (Associated with high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, emotional disturbances and even psychoses.) 

The Mind
Emotional or mental stress
Overstimulation to the nervous system
TV/video game excess

The Environment
Lack of adequate ventilation; oxygen debt
Allergies – an increased heart rate follows exposure. 
Lights left on at night (disrupts the pineal gland producing melatonin, a sleep hormone)
Temperature extremes in bed
Poor mattress

Restless Sleepers may have excessive amounts of the following in their diets: 
Heavy metals (such as mercury found in high fructose corn syrup, tuna, swordfish, and mackerel
Salt, which increases blood volume, heart output, and blood pressure. 
Food additives, preservatives, and colorings
Refined carbohydrates, sugar, soda, ice cream or other sweets

They may be deficient in:
Vitamin B  
Lycopene (found in red and orange foods such as tomatoes, bell peppers)
Total carbohydrates
Vitamin C
Selenium (found in nuts, mushrooms, meat, and shellfish).  Selenium helps with inflammation.
Lutein (found in green, leafy vegetables)

Iron or copper (found in shellfish, clams, lentils, nuts, and whole-grain foods).  Deficiency may make it take longer to fall asleep, and sleep may be less refreshing.

The body converts tryptophan into seratonin, which is then converted into melatonin.  Both make you feel relaxed and sleepy.  Foods with tryptophan include bananas yogurt, dates, figs, warm milk, dairy, and turkey.  These foods are metabolized best in combination with starches, which make the body release insulin.  This pushes the amino acids except for tryptophan into the muscle cells, leaving the tryptophan alone in the blood stream and ready to go to the brain.  Niacin, a B-vitamin, makes tryptophan work more effectively, and is found in lean meats such as canned tuna.  Melatonin naturally exists in oats, sweet corn, rice, ginger, bananas, and barley.  

Magnesium rich foods can also help you relax and have restful sleep.  Low magnesium levels will stimulate brain-activation neurotransmitters, which leads to overstimulation of the brain. This is especially common in the elderly taking meds that may block magnesium absorption.  Dried beans such as pinto and navy beans, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and almonds are all rich in magnesium.

Folic acid in spinach, especially if muscle cramping or restless leg syndrome keeps you awake, are good additions to your diet. Inosytol enhances REM sleep

Avoid red meat, chocolate, ham, bacon, sausages, cheese, tomatoes, which contain the CNS stimulant tyramine.

Alcohol does not, in fact, help you get a good night’s sleep.  You may fall asleep easily, because alcohol turns off the hypocretin neurons which keep you awake, but it has a rebound effect and can wake you quickly.