Yoga Shown To Improve Blood Sugar Levels After Just 10 Days

| June 7, 2017

Yoga is known to improve flexibility, strength, posture and mood. But did you know it could also help keep your blood sugar under control? Research shows people with diabetes who regularly do yoga have healthier blood sugar levels than those who don’t. And you could see the benefit in just 10 days, according to a new study.1

Researchers in India recruited 1,292 people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, from a mix of age groups and socio-economic, educational and cultural backgrounds. All had their blood sugar tested at the start and finish of a 10-day programme of yoga exercise sessions and seminars, but made no changes to their diet, medication or other relevant factors.

Fasting blood sugar levels of the participants dropped by 10 per cent on average over the 10 days. This is a significant reduction, comparable to what some antidiabetic drugs might achieve in the same time frame. According to Dr Venugopal, lead author of the study, even a single session of yoga can reduce blood glucose levels, but regular practice for at least for three months will show the greatest benefit.

Exactly how yoga achieves this drop in blood sugar is not clear. It is thought that its ability to lower stress hormones, inflammation and oxidative stress also brings about an improvement in insulin sensitivity. Better sleep quality, mood and self-esteem could also play a part.

Alongside its effects on blood sugar, yoga has other benefits for people with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. These include lowering blood pressure, improving blood fat and cholesterol levels, weight reduction, reducing heart rate and improving lung function.2 And all this without any drugs or unpleasant side effects (apart from the odd muscle ache from overdoing it).

There are more tips on how exercise can help you get the better of diabetes here and here. Yoga and other forms of exercise greatly reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke – and a new report that predicts a 44 per cent rise in the number of strokes by 2035, largely driven by the rise in type 2 diabetes, is the subject of my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. Venugopal V, Rathi A, Raghuram N. Effect of short-term yoga-based lifestyle intervention on plasma glucose levels in individuals with diabetes and pre-diabetes in the community. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017 Apr 12 (Online ahead of print)

2. Innes KE, Selfe TK. Yoga for adults with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review of controlled trials. J Diabetes Res. 2016; 2016:6979370.

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