A recent study finds that acupuncture improves weight loss outcomes for the treatment of obesity. Using biochemical analysis, researchers discovered potentially how acupuncture stimulates fat reduction. They discovered a hormone, stimulated by the application of acupuncture, that promotes weight loss by altering both appetite and metabolism.
The study involved feeding a high fat diet to laboratory rats for a twelve week period. Next, the obese rats received electroacupuncture at a rate of three times per week for a total of four weeks. Taking a look a changes in brain chemistry, the researchers found that acupuncture controls the expression of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and metabolism. The research team notes that, “electroacupuncture treatment led to a reduction of body weight, decrease in the plasma leptin levels, and an increase in leptin receptor expression in the hypothalamus.” As a result of these findings, the researchers note, “Our results suggested that regulating the expression of leptin and the leptin receptor might be one of the molecular mechanisms underlying the reduction of body weight in diet-induced obese rats by electroacupuncture treatment.”
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Meirong Gong et al, Am. J. Chin. Med. 40, 511 (2012). DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X12500395. Effect of Electroacupuncture on Leptin Resistance in Rats with Diet-Induced Obesity. Meirong Gong. Xinjun Wang. Zhen Mao. Qinhua Shao. Xiaoren Xiang. Bin Xu. Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China.