Research suggests that laughter helps keep diabetes under control. It is similar to exercise in that it improves the overall performance of the heart’s muscular function and helps ward off heart disease and lower blood sugar. It also stimulates positive emotions and a more positive outlook. Negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, and sorrow are known to be factors that elevate the blood glucose level. (Surwit RS, Schneider MS: Role of stress in the etiology and treatment of diabetes mellitus. Psychosom Med 55:380–393, 1993.)

Having diabetes is stressful. Laughter is a great way to cope and we now know that being able to cope also influences your body’s biochemistry, helping to insure that the chemical messages are working for you, not against you.

Daily opportunities for laughter are important for patients with Diabetes.Keiko Hayashi, RN, PhD
Research at the University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan, found that people with type 2 diabetes who laughed at a comedy show after dinner experienced a lower spike in blood sugar following their meal than those who didn’t do something that made them laugh. They believed this positive impact might stem from beneficial changes in immune regulation that prevent damaging inflammation from undermining blood-sugar control. They found that laughter not only decreased blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes, it also decreased the levels of prorenin in the blood (prorenin is involved in the onset of diabetic complications.)

Though they cannot yet explain the laughter-glucose connection, Keiko Hayashi, RN, PhD (the head of that study group) said that laughter affects the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body’s glucose levels.

The conclusion, as reported in Diabetes Care, was that for patients with diabetes, “daily opportunities for laughter” are important.

Research at Loma Linda University, CA, USA
Scientists, Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist, of Loma Linda University, and Stanley Tan, MD, PhD an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Oak Crest Health Research Institute, studied 20 diabetics at high risk for heart disease from high cholesterol and hypertension. They discovered that laughter lowered inflammation, and raised good cholesterol levels among diabetics. (Berk LS, Tan SA, Fry WF, Napier BJ, Lee JW, Hubbard RW, Lewis JE, Eby WC:Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter. Am J Med Sci 298:390–396, 1989.) The scientists divided diabetics into either a laughter group, or a non-laughter group. Both groups of diabetics were given standard blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes treatment with medications. The groups were followed for 12 months.

Diabetics in the laughter group had lower levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, improved HDL (good cholesterol), and decreased markers of inflammation, measurable by blood tests, by the second month of watching self-chosen funny videos. The findings indicated the diabetics in the laughter group had lower stress, and had reduced their risk factors for heart disease from engaging in laughter.

After one year, HDL levels rose by twenty-six percent and C-reactive protein was found to be sixty-six percent lower in the diabetic group who engaged in regular laughter. The control group, who received standard medical therapy, experienced a three percent rise in HDL, and twenty-six percent reductions in C-reactive protein, in comparison, showing that diabetics benefited from laughter.

Research at the University Clinical Center Maribor, Slovenia
The inhibitory effect of Laughter Yoga on the increase in postprandial blood glucose in type 2 diabetic patient. (UKC Maribor, Department of Diabetology, led by the head cf.Assist Miro Čokolič and co-authors (Stangler-Herodež W, Sternad S, Krebs S). This research was published in the scientific medical journal Diabetologia CROATICA.

Here is the research conclusion: “Laughter Yoga has proved to be an effective complementary and preventive therapy in reducing postprandial levels of blood glucose. Therefore, it contributes to long-term regulation of type 2 diabetes. Laughter is of preventive, psychological, physiological and therapeutic importance. However, it must be dealt by professionals. On the other hand, we know that stress is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Actually, in our study, participants showed by the questionnaire that Laughter Yoga is an effective method to enhance positive mindset and effecive tool of relaxation and networking among people. Given the fact that Laughter Yoga is a simple and effective method, which bypasses all intellectual systems and leads people to laugh, it could be used as nonpharmacological treatment in preventing chronic microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes.”

More resources:

More research
Journal of Psychosomatic Research. The beneficial effects of laughter on preventing the exacerbation of diabetic nephropathy are strongly suggested in terms of normalizing the expression of the prorenin receptor gene followed by reducing the level of blood prorenin.

Massachusetts General Hospital – Dr. Darin Doughan. In a study, chronic excess anger was linked to a higher risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

How laughter can help

Sedentary lifestyle

Physical inactivity and lack of exercise is related to obesity and rise in sugar levels. Laughter is an exercise which acts on the body and the mind. It has the ability to improve mobility and flexibility. It provides an effective cardio workout and accelerates heart rate faster than other forms of exercise. It provides an effective mid-body and also an aerobic workout that leaves one feeling energized. Read more.


One of the functions of insulin is to stimulate hunger. Therefore, higher insulin levels lead to increased hunger and eating. Stress and compulsive eating disorders also add to excessive weight gain and heightened sugar levels. Extended hearty laughter has been proved as a tool to regulate blood sugar as it massages the endocrine glands responsible for glucose production.

Mental health, Stress

Agitation, unexplained irritability, inattention, extreme lethargy, or confusion can all increase sugar levels. Therapeutic approaches to laughter such as Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga offer a unique form of exercise that impacts positively and directly on body, mind and emotions. Read more.

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