Passive heating and glycaemic control in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Matthew J. Maley, Andrew P. Hunt, Ian B. Stewart, Steve H. Faulkner, Geoffrey M. Minett

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Objective: Passive heating (PH) has begun to gain research attention as an alternative therapy for cardio-metabolic diseases. Whether PH improves glycaemic control in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals is unknown. This study aims to review and conduct a meta-analysis of published literature relating to PH and glycaemic control.

Methods: Electronic data sources, PubMed, Embase and Web of Science from inception to July 2018 were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCT) studying the effect of PH on glycaemic control in diabetic or non-diabetic individuals. To measure the treatment effect, standardised mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.

Results: Fourteen articles were included in the meta-analysis. Following a glucose load, glucose concentration was greater during PH in non-diabetic (SMD 0.75, 95% CI 1.02 to 0.48, P < 0.001) and diabetic individuals (SMD 0.27, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.02, P = 0.030). In non-diabetic individuals, glycaemic control did not differ between PH and control only (SMD 0.11, 95% CI 0.44 to -0.22, P > 0.050) and a glucose challenge given within 24 hours post-heating (SMD 0.30, 95% CI 0.62 to -0.02, P > 0.050).

Conclusion: PH preceded by a glucose load results in acute glucose intolerance in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. However, heating a non-diabetic individual without a glucose load appears not to affect glycaemic control. Likewise, a glucose challenge given within 24 hours of a single-bout of heating does not affect glucose tolerance in non-diabetic individuals. Despite the promise PH may hold, no short-term benefit to glucose tolerance is observed in non-diabetic individuals. More research is needed to elucidate whether this alternative therapy benefits diabetic individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214223
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019


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