Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
- Manjunatha S, Vempati RP, Ghosh D, Bijlani RL.
Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
The study was conducted to examine the hypothesis that yogasanas help in the treatment of diabetes mellitus by releasing insulin from the pancreas. Twenty healthy young voluntees (17 male, 3 female; age 19-31 years) participated in the study. Each volunteer performed four sets of asanas in random order for 5 consecutive days each with a 2-day gap between consecutive sets of asanas. The four sets of asanas were:
(I) dhanurasana + matsyendrasana,
(II) halasana + vajrasana,
(III) naukasana + bhujangasana, and
(IV) setubandhasana + pavanamuktasana.
Blood samples were collected on days 4 and 5 of each set of asanas for measurement of glucose and insulin levels before the asanas, within 10 min after performing the asanas, and 30 min after ingestion of 75 g glucose, which in turn was ingested immediately after the second blood sample. A standard 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was also done before and after the study. On the days of the pre-study or post-study OGTT, no asanas were done. The serum insulin levels after the asanas were lower (P<0.05) than those before the asanas. However, the serum insulin level 0.5 h after the post-asana oral 75 g-glucose challenge was higher (P<0.05) in Set IV than the 0.5 h postprandial insulin level in the pre-study OGTT; the same trend was observed in other sets as well although statistically not significant.
The observations suggest that the performance of asanas led to increased sensitivity of the B cells of pancreas to the glucose signal. The increased sensitivity seems to be a sustained change resulting from a progressive long-term effect of asanas. The study is significant in that it has for the first time attempted to probe the mechanism by which yogasanas help diabetes mellitus.