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DNA India
31 March 2011
By Somita Pal
Mumbai, India

Yoga and a simple kitchen ingredient can now help you avoid diabetes, in case you are in the high-risk group.

A pilot study conducted by Dr Hemraj Chandalia, Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India, demonstrates that early intervention with methi powder and yoga in patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) can significantly reduce the number of those who subsequently develop type 2 diabetes. After the success of the study, the RSSDI is doing a nationwide study for which it has got grants from the international society doing research on diabetes.

The study is important as, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), one in eight Indian adults either has or is highly susceptible to diabetes.

Chandalia, endocrinologist and diabetologist at Jaslok and Breach Candy hospitals said, "We wanted to check if methi powder and yoga can be an alternative to standard medication given to diabetes patients. We conducted a feasibility test with a smaller group in which we screened children of people having diabetes."

For the study, the doctor picked people who had their fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 125. "Having fasting blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 is considered normal. If a person has these levels for sometime, he falls under the IGT group. However, most of us do not seek medical advice, as the levels are considered to be normal," he said.

The pilot project had nearly 400 people, who were divided in three groups, and was carried out between 2009 and 2011. While one group was put on normal medication, the other two were put on methi powder and yoga respectively. The group put on methi powder was given 10 to 15 g every day. "The results were quite positive. To prove it, we are now conducting a nationwide study that will have a sample size of 1,500 people and will be studied for three years. We will begin the study next month," added Chandalia.

The study will be conducted in five places in India that will include Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi. According to a recent study done by Metropolis, Mumbai enjoys that dubious distinction within the country to have the most diabetes patients.

Abnormal blood sugar levels were found to be as high as 73.3% in the financial capital – way above levels in other cities – during a survey among 2,28,009 people between April and September 2010 in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Surat.

The studies showed that women are more prone to the condition than men, a reversal of the general trend across the world, and pointed at a trend of early onset of diabetes among the population.

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