Research Update: Acupuncture and Your Metabolism

A study published by The National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health looked at the effects of acupuncture on the regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism in patients suffering from metabolic syndrome. The study followed 76 metabolic syndrome patients over a period of time and divided them into two groups. The first group received only conventional medical treatments/pharmaceuticals, while the second group received conventional medical treatments plus regular acupuncture treatments. The body mass index (BMI), blood lipid, blood glucose and comprehensive therapeutic effects were compared before and after treatment in both groups. The results revealed the group that received acupuncture plus conventional medical treatments had superior improvement over the group that only received conventional medical treatments. The subjects showed improvement in BMI, triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting insulin and insulin resistance index. This study provides strong evidence that acupuncture can greatly improve the health of patients suffering from metabolic disorders, when coupled with conventional medical treatments.

Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. That’s not something that most people consciously think about. It just happens and we automatically assume it will happen, regardless of what we do on a daily basis. But this isn’t always the case. Some people are born with genetic defects that can mess with their metabolism. Others develop metabolic disorders over time from not taking proper care of themselves. Metabolic disorders can also be trauma induced. 

As with most health issues, conventional medicine typically treats metabolic issues with pharmaceuticals. For some this works very well. But there are always side effects with pharmaceuticals and the body can also develop a resistance to them over time. So when it comes to metabolic disorders, a natural approach is usually a better long term choice. This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be very beneficial.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all disease occurs in the body due to either a lack, excess or blockage of energy. TCM treats these energy imbalances using a host of modalities, but acupuncture is the most commonly known and used. Most metabolic diseases are a result of an imbalance of hormones such as insulin, glucose and thyroid hormones. These three components are key to keeping the body functioning properly and can easily be thrown off. Too much stress, poor dietary habits and lack of exercise are all reasons why the body’s metabolism may not be functioning correctly.

Acupuncture has been shown to balance hormones when accompanied by lifestyle modifications. Acupuncture helps control food cravings, boosts metabolism, improves digestion and helps the liver function optimally. The liver produces chemicals that help break down fat, while filtering out toxins that can slow our body’s ability to digest and regulate. Excess stress can lead to a slower metabolism, an increase in body fat and poor sleep. Regular acupuncture treatments can also help reduce stress.

If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, put on some weight, or are dealing with stress and depression, acupuncture can definitely help.