Hyperglycemia in people with prediabetes and diabetes, if left untreated, can cause serious health conditions and may lead to a diabetic coma. Muscle contraction through conventional exercise is known to increase glucose uptake in cells, thereby decreasing blood glucose levels. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is an innovative approach to contract skeletal muscle involuntarily. Whereas exercise is widely recommended for hyperglycemia management, it is not known whether NMES can be used as an alternative strategy to improve glycemic control. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of NMES for muscle contraction can improve glycemic control among people with prediabetes and diabetes. METHODS: Twenty-one men (n=8) and women (n=13) with hyperglycemia (fasting glucose ≥ 100 ug/dL) participated in the study (BMI: 34±8 kg/m2; Age: 36±12 years). All participants received 30 minutes of NMES on their quadriceps muscles at their maximum tolerable intensity while lying (pulse duration 300 ms; frequency 50 Hz). Glucose levels were measured on the day before stimulation and on the day of stimulation using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which measures glucose levels every 5 minutes. The participants were provided with a standardized, energy-balanced diet on both days. Changes in glucose levels immediately before stimulation, during stimulation, and immediately after the stimulation were assessed using a one-way ANOVA with Tukey multiple comparisons. A paired t-test was used to compare the twenty-four-hour glycemic control (maximum glucose excursion and glucose fluctuations) on the day of stimulation to the day before stimulation. RESULTS: Thirty minutes post-stimulation, glucose levels significantly decreased compared to glucose levels during stimulation (123 ± 17 mg/dL to 120 ± 16 mg/dL; p<0.05). Additionally, there was a significant decrease in maximum glucose excursion (182.4 ± 72.08 mg/dL to 131.1 ± 14.34 mg/dL; p<0.05) and glucose fluctuations (21.84 ± 5.69 to 18.64 ± 5.28; p<0.05) during the stimulation day compared to the day prior to stimulation. CONCLUSION: NMES-induced muscle contraction improved twenty-four-hour glycemic control and effectively reduced blood glucose. NMES can be considered as an alternative approach to improve glycemic control for the population with hyperglycemia.



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