By PT Staff, published on May 28, 2003 - last reviewed on October 31, 2007
A chuckle may help the body process blood sugar, according to research from Japan. A study of type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—found that laughter was linked to lower blood sugar levels after a meal.
Over two days, participants were given identical meals. On one day, they watched a humorless lecture, and on the next they watched a Japanese comedy show. The group of 19 people with diabetes and five without had their blood sugar monitored during the study.
Afterward both diabetics and non-diabetics alike had lower glucose levels after laughing through the comedy show than they did when they listened to the monotonous 40-minute lecture. The study was published in Diabetes Care.
Keiko Hayashi, of the University of Tsukuba, Japan, who led the study says that he cannot yet explain the laughter-glucose connection. It could be that laughter affects the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body's glucose levels. Or it may be an effect of energy used by the stomach muscles.
Increased blood sugar can cause major complications for diabetics. If glucose is not kept in check, diabetics are more at risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin to control the body's glucose levels.