Lowering cholesterol, sugar and stress by Yoga and Acupuncture
---by Paramjit S Tappia and Yan Jun Xu, Winnipeg, Canada, CV Network.
Elevations in LDL-cholesterol, obesity and stress are major cardiovascular disease risk factors (1). Due to the side effects of a number of pharmacological agents, the potential of Yoga and acupuncture on cholesterol levels as alternative therapies has been explored, particularly in the Western world. Yoga is an ancient type of mental and physical exercise originating in India, and has been reported to reduce oxidative stress, body weight and blood cholesterol. Acupuncture has been used in China to treat a variety of diseases since about two thousands years ago. In ancient times, people used a sharp stone to pressure some points for pain relief. Subsequently, acupuncture has been found to be effective in the reversal of coma and stroke as well as for the treatment of chest pain, irregular heart beat, hypertension and other conditions including asthma and insomnia.
Recently it has been found that acupuncture is also effective for the control of blood lipids, glucose and oxidative stress. A literature review of 220 publications conducted by Peplow and Bater (2) has revealed that acupuncture with electrical stimulation (electro-acupuncture) can control elevations in blood sugar in obese women. In animal studies, electrical stimulation (15Hz) for 30-60 minutes is required for positive results. From the literature available on Traditional Chinese Medicine books, Zhongwan, Zusanli, Yishu and Geshu acupuncture points appear to be most frequently used for diabetic patients. Liang and Koya (3) reviewed acupuncture literature between 1979 and 2009; it was evidenced that acupuncture can reduce insulin resistance, hypertension, metabolic disorder, obesity and improve blood lipid profile. Furthermore, frequently used acupuncture points were Zusanli, Fenglong, Tianshu, Neiting, Sanyinjiao, Quchi, Qihai, Zhongwan, Guanyuan, Yinlingquan and Pishu.
Siu et al (4) have reported that electro-acupuncture is able to lower oxidative stress by stimulation of the Zusanli point. It appears that electrical stimulation at low frequency (2 Hertz), 30 min/day for 4 weeks yields beneficial effects. It is pointed out that different frequencies of stimulation can exert different effects. The underlying mechanism of acupuncture is that stimulation of different points release different neuropeptides and hormones. In addition, it has also been suggested that resistance of nerve fibres and electrical signals are altered in different disease that can be re-balanced by acupuncture. Acupuncture and yoga promote well-being and health and have the potential to be used as a complimentary therapeutic regimen to improve blood lipid and glucose profiles as well as attenuate oxidative stress.
1. Adameova A, Xu YJ, Duhamel TA, Tappia PS, Shan L and Dhalla NS. Anti-atherosclerotic molecules targeting oxidative stress and inflammation. 2009; 15: 3094-3107.
2. Peplow PV and Baxter GD. Electro-acupuncture for control of blood glucose in diabetes: Literature revies. J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2012; 5:1-10.
3. Liang F and Koya D. Acupuncture: is it effective for the treatment of insulin resistance? Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2010; 12:555-569.
4. Siu FKW, Lo SCL, and Leung MCP. Effectiveness of multiple pre-ischemia electro-acupuncture on attenuating lipid peroxidation induced by cerebral ischemia in adults rats. Life Sciences. 2004; 75:1323-1332.
|Editor’s note: As I reported in the article on Page 6, I heard Dr. Dean Ornish speak at the Clinton Health Matters Conference. In CV Network Vol. 10 No. 4, Pages 7 -10, I had reported that Dr. Ornish helped to develop Pres. Clinton’s new healthy lifestyle.Subsequently, I listened to Dr. Ornish’s interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN “Yoga, Meditation and Medicare”. Dr. Ornish surprised me with the statement that Medicare in the USA now covers 12 weeks for heart attack victims to begin the road to recovery using the Ornish Spectrum which emphasizes: plant-based diets with no meat, building stronger social ties to reduce loneliness; exercise; meditation; and … yes … yoga.|