A study shows promise for diabetes treatment using yoga and fenugreek. [Image: Tannaz | Flickr]

Preliminary results from a study to assess the effectiveness of yoga coupled with fenugreek dietary supplements have yielded positive results. Patients with diabetes were prescribed regular yoga practice and the consumption of a quantity of fenugreek seeds twice daily.

The study was begun in Jaipur by Dr Arvind Gupta, the director of Jaipur Diabetes Research Centre and member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. He started with 50 participants diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 2, all above 30 years old and all off other medication. The study grew to be conducted in the cities of Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Puducherry, and Thiruvananthapuram, as well.

Within 8 months, the participants were said to have an “improved quality of life,” as reported by The Hindu.  Dr Gupta said that the prescribed yoga helped keep the weight and blood pressure of the participants in check. Obesity is one of the key causative factors of type 2 diabetes.

The study aims to identify the mechanism of how yoga could potentially reverse diabetes, as well as the properties of fenugreek seeds to treat diabetes.

Fenugreek is an ingredient used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Fenugreek seeds are an herbal treatment for diabetes in the traditional medicine of Ethiopia, as well as Ayurveda. These seeds are high in soluble fiber, which helps reduce blood sugar by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disease characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin. Untreated, diabetes patients can suffer from kidney failure, heart disease, strokes, blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, and even amputation due to poor blood flow.

Cases of type 2 diabetes have been growing steadily around the world. In 1985, there were only 30 million diagnosed cases, which then rocketed to 368 million cases in 2013. Dr Gupta is concerned about how this disease has been rising in India.

“As the cities move away from economic and social deprivation, there is [a] greater prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Behavioral risk factors such as smoking, smokeless tobacco use, low fruits and vegetables intake and high visible fat intake indicate that our urban populations are facing a chronic disease transition,” he said.


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