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T'ai Chi may help ease diabetes

T'ai chi exercises can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, according to new research.

Two studies revealed the people suffering type 2 could boost their immune systems with a 12-week programme.

The first study, from researchers in Taiwan, compared 30 diabetics with 30 healthy people acting as controls.

Over the 12 week period, those in the t'ai chi group learned 37 movements and performed three one hour sessions a week.

The researchers found that the exercise could cause a fall in blood glucose levels or improve blood glucose metabolism which sparks a drop in the inflammatory response.

In a second 12-week study, three men and eight women aged between 42 and 65 with raised blood glucose levels took part in the study at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The study found "significant improvements" in four out of seven indicators of metabolic syndrome, including body mass index (an average drop of 3kg), waist circumference (an average drop of almost 3cm) and blood pressure.

There were also small improvements in HbA1c levels and insulin resistance.

There are around 1.8m type 2 sufferers in the UK, with possibly another 750,000 undiagnosed.

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