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Stier-Jarmer, Marita; Frisch, Dieter; Neuy, Susanne; Schuh, Angela (2021): A 3-Week Naturopathic Intervention Improves HbA1c, Weight, and Quality of Life Among Overweight and Obese Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: 6-Month Results From a Randomized Trial. In: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
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Abstract

Context The \textquotedblOberstaufen Schrothkur,\textquotedbl a traditional naturopathic treatment, has been shown to lead to metabolic improvement in adults with type 2 diabetes. However, data concerning its benefits are still limited. Objective The study aimed to investigate the effects of an Oberstaufen Schrothkur compared to a diabetes-friendly holiday in adults with type 2 diabetes. Design The study was a single-center, 2-arm randomized controlled trial with 6-month follow-up. Setting The interventions were carried out in the Oberstaufen health resort in Bavaria, Germany. Participants Ninety-eight overweight or obese volunteers (mean age 61.5; 51% female) with type 2 diabetes received the randomly allocated intervention (Oberstaufen Schrothkur = 51; diabetes-friendly holiday = 47). Three participants were lost to follow-up. Intervention The Oberstaufen Schrothkur included a low-calorie diet, daily changes between a higher or lower fluid intake, daily alternation in physical activities, and daily application of cold and damp body packs. The diabetes-friendly holiday included a holiday stay specifically tailored to diabetics. Outcome Measures The primary outcome was change in hemoglobin A1c at 6 months post intervention. Secondary outcomes included body weight, body mass index, blood pressure, levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, well-being (WHO-5), and general health status (EQ-5D and SF-36). Results Significant within-group improvements at 6 months were observed in both groups: sustained reductions in hemoglobin A1c (Oberstaufen Schrothkur: -0.67%; diabetes-friendly holiday: -0.55%) and weight reduction of 4.65% (-4.71 kg) in the Oberstaufen Schrothkur group and 3.91% (-3.95 kg) in the diabetes-friendly holiday group (P \textless .001), with no statistically significant difference between groups. The proportion of obese participants decreased by 13.8 (Oberstaufen Schrothkur) and 6.3 (diabetes-friendly holiday) percentage points. Compared to baseline, 80.4% (Oberstaufen Schrothkur) and 85.1% (diabetes-friendly holiday) of the participants reported no changes in hyperglycemia medication intake at 6 months. A medication decrease was observed in 9 (17.7%) participants in the Oberstaufen Schrothkur group and 6 (12.8%) participants in the diabetes-friendly holiday group. Conclusion Adults with type 2 diabetes undergoing one of two 3-week interventions (Oberstaufen Schrothkur or diabetes-friendly holiday) had significant within-group improvements in glycemic control, weight reduction, blood pressure, well-being, and quality of life at 6 months while between-group differences did not reach significance.