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November 17, 2002

Alternative Therapies and Explanations

Question from Dublin, California, USA:

Can touch raise or lower blood sugar? How about words that give good feelings? How about humor?


In mammals, blood sugar is maintained over a fairly wide range by an intricate series of intracellular biochemical mechanisms. To accommodate food intake, there is considerable tolerance of variation on the high side, but because of the need for glucose in the central nervous system, there are safety mechanisms to prevent hypoglycemia. There is no evidence that these latter can be overridden by any of the factors that you mention. Stress however is a common cause of a rise in blood sugar so that, insofar as touch, good feelings and humour go, they might allay stress and could be said to lower above-normal blood sugars.