Acupuncture for Cholesterol Management

A healthy diet consists of generous portions of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain, high-fiber foods, and fish and a small amount of saturated and trans-fats. In addition to these recommendations, some food ingredients such as plant sterol/stanol soy protein and isoflavones may help reduce cholesterol levels. Increased dietary fiber intakes are associated with significantly lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease and lower LDL-cholesterol concentration of about 5-10%. But other than watching our daily food intake, are there any other ways in which we can lower the cholesterol level naturally?

In 2005, Cabioğlu et al suggest that electro acupuncture application in obese women may decrease the serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels by increasing levels of serum beta endorphin. The lipolytic effect of electro acupuncture may also reduce the morbidity of obesity by mobilizing the energy stores that result in weight reduction.

More recently, Ling Li et al (2012) concluded that acupuncture lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides. The laboratory research measured biochemical responses to electro acupuncture at acupoint ST40 (Fenglong) to map the mechanisms by which acupuncture reduces hyperlipidemia. This study documents that electro acupuncture induces expression of nNOS and Mt1. The nNOS enzyme mediates nitric oxide signaling and plays an important role in cellular signaling, vascular tone, blood pressure, insulin secretion, airway tone, angiogenesis and peristalsis. Mt1 plays an important role in the protection against oxidative stress. Based on these, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture and its effect on nitric oxide signaling transduction can bring down levels of plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and proinflammatory macrophages in cases of hyperlipidemia.

Sources:

  1. Electroacupuncture therapy for weight loss reduces serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels in obese women. Cabioğlu MT, Ergene N. Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(4):525-33.
  2. Modulated expression of genes associated with NO signal transduction contributes to the cholesterol-lowering effect of electro-acupuncture. Ling Li, Guang-Hong Tan and Yi-Zheng Zhang. Biotechnology letters. 2012, doi: 10.1007/s10529-012-0892-9.