Stress reduction could help women control blood sugar
Women who engage in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could substantially improve their fasting glucose levels, according to new research from the Endocrine Society.
The study also found that women who were overweight scored better on tests of perceived stress after going through eight weeks of MBSR, compared with women who had eight weeks of health education control (HEC).
MBSR was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It is a meditation technique that involves present-moment breathing awareness and non-judgmental attention to bodily sensations, thoughts and emotions.
Women in both groups saw an improved quality of life
Women in both the MBSR and HEC groups saw improvements in mood, sleep quality and psychological distress, but women in the MBSR group showed significant drops in fasting glucose as well.
"Increased mindfulness and reduced stress may lead to physiological changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and/or sympathetic nervous system that result in lower glucose levels," said Dr. Nazia Raja-Khan, assistant professor of medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at the Penn State College of Medicine.
This isn't the first study to link meditation to improved health outcomes for diabetics. Research presented last year found that veterans showed lower HbA1c levels and reduced stress after practicing mindfulness meditation.