In the face of diabetes, in which glucose and levels of destructive inflammation soar, whole body vibration appears to improve how well our body uses glucose as an energy source and adjust our microbiome and immune cells to deter inflammation, according to a report in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Glucose is used by the body for fuel but at high levels, it promotes inflammation, insulin insensitivity, and ultimately can cause diabetes.
Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and Dental College of Georgia (DCG) at Augusta University described how regular use of whole body vibration can yield a greater percentage of macrophages––cells that can both promote or prevent inflammation––that suppress rather than promote inflammation. In their mouse model, the investigators have also shown that whole body vibration alters the microbiome, a collection of micro-organisms in and on the body that help protect us from invaders and, in the gut, aid with food digestion.
The most dramatic change the researchers documented was the 17-fold increase in a bacterium called Alistipes, a gut bacterium not typically in high supply there but known to be proficient at making short-chain fatty acids. These, in turn, are “very good” at decreasing inflammation in the gut.
With rates of inflammation-producing obesity and related type-2 diabetes soaring––even in children––new therapies that can directly help avoid the health consequences are crucial. The researchers add that although more work is required, whole body vibration could be one widely applicable and generally safe approach to use.