Saturday, November 28, 2015

How Acupuncture May Fight Obesity

As we’ve stated before, lifestyle modification (including diet and exercise), bariatric surgery, and weight loss medications are the main approaches to weight loss. While each of these approaches can enable a person to lose weight, each of these approaches has associated pros and cons. However, acupuncture may be an alternative weight loss tool with a number of pros and few associated cons, if the treatment is effective.

Here are some of the problems associated with the common approaches to weight loss: Lifestyle modification, including diet and exercise programs, is difficult to adhere to. Many times, weight loss medications are accompanied by negative side effects. And weight loss surgery can require difficult lifestyle changes, and the surgery may precipitate complications.

So, acupuncture may be worth considering. But there is some doubt as to whether acupuncture can aid in weight loss. Indeed, in a WebMD article, one referenced study concluded that a group that had undergone acupuncture experienced "no statistical difference in body weight, body-mass index and waist circumference" compared to a placebo group.

Although there is some doubt about acupuncture's effectiveness in weight loss, the treatment may still have potential. One mice study has concluded that acupuncture may aid in the conversion of white fat to brown fat. The study "showed that electronic acupuncture can remodel" white fat to brown fat. Brown fat burns energy unlike white fat which stores energy. Since having brown fat may lead to weight loss, brown fat is more desirable than white fat.

Acupuncture has been found to be effective in other treatments including some areas of pain reduction. And acupuncture produces very few negative side effects.  If acupuncture does prove to be effective in white-to-brown fat conversion, the procedure could eventually become another tool that medical weight loss providers could use to treat overweight and obese patients. 



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