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J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:6979370. doi: 10.1155/2016/6979370. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

Yoga for Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials.

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Department of Epidemiology, West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA; Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA.


A growing body of evidence suggests yogic practices may benefit adults with type 2 diabetes (DM2). In this systematic review, we evaluate available evidence from prospective controlled trials regarding the effects of yoga-based programs on specific health outcomes pertinent to DM2 management. To identify qualifying studies, we searched nine databases and scanned bibliographies of relevant review papers and all identified articles. Controlled trials that did not target adults with diabetes, included only adults with type 1 diabetes, were under two-week duration, or did not include quantitative outcome data were excluded. Study quality was evaluated using the PEDro scale. Thirty-three papers reporting findings from 25 controlled trials (13 nonrandomized, 12 randomized) met our inclusion criteria (N = 2170 participants). Collectively, findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in DM2 management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. More limited data suggest that yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure; enhance pulmonary and autonomic function, mood, sleep, and quality of life; and reduce medication use in adults with DM2. However, given the methodological limitations of existing studies, additional high-quality investigations are required to confirm and further elucidate the potential benefits of yoga programs in populations with DM2.

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