ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help


Trending News

Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods, Herbs, and Spices

Higher dementia risk linked to more use of common drugs

Latent HIV may lurk in 'quiet' immune cells, research suggests

Repair Damaged Mitochondria and Reduce Fatigue Up to 45%

Multiple sclerosis: pathological progression of the disease documented for the first time

Propolis - The Natural Antibiotic for MRSA, Candida, and More

Microbiome linked to type 1 diabetes

Activate Your Natural Killer Cells

Lyme disease costs up to $1. 3 billion per year to treat, study finds

Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D may control brain serotonin, affecting behavior and psychiatric disor...

Print Page
Email Article

Acupuncture Gains 'New Scientific Heft' - Releases Natural Pain Killer Adenosine

  [ 57 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • May 31, 2010

Acupuncture Gains 'New Scientific Heft' - Releases Natural Pain Killer Adenosine

For those still harboring doubts about acupuncture, this discovery adds proof of local chemical release in the peripheral nervous system to the recent discovery of a central nervous system endorphin response.

Scientists have taken another important step toward understanding just how sticking needles into the body can ease pain.

In a paper published online May 30 in Nature Neuroscience (“Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local antinociceptive effects of acupuncture”), researchers at the University of Rochester’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine have identified the molecule adenosine as a central player in parlaying some of the effects of acupuncture in the body.

Building on that knowledge, the scientists were able to triple the beneficial effects of acupuncture in mice by adding a medication approved by the FDA to treat leukemia in people.

The research focuses on adenosine, a natural compound known for its role in regulating sleep, for its effects on the heart, and for its anti-inflammatory properties. But adenosine also acts as a natural painkiller, becoming active in the skin after an injury to inhibit nerve signals and ease pain in a way similar to lidocaine. [According to the paper, mechanical or electrical tissue stimulation releases ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from the cells - and ATP, the stuff of cellular energy, quickly degrades to adenosine.]

In the current study, scientists found that the chemical is also very active in deeper tissues affected by acupuncture. The Rochester researchers looked at the effects of acupuncture on the peripheral nervous system – the nerves in our body that aren’t part of the brain and spinal cord.

Acupuncture’s Multiple Anti-Pain Effects

The research complements a rich, established body of work showing that in the central nervous system, acupuncture also creates signals that cause the brain to churn out natural pain-killing endorphins.(1)

The new findings add to the scientific heft underlying acupuncture, said neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard, MD, DMSc, who led the research. Her team presents the work this week at a scientific meeting, Purines 2010, in Barcelona, Spain.

“Acupuncture has been a mainstay of medical treatment in certain parts of the world for 4,000 years, but because it has not been understood completely, many people have remained skeptical,” said Nedergaard. “In this work, we provide information about one physical mechanism through which acupuncture reduces pain in the body.”

To do the experiment, the team performed acupuncture treatments on mice that had discomfort in one paw. The mice each received a 30-minute acupuncture treatment at a well known acupuncture point near the knee, with very fine needles rotated gently every five minutes, much as is done in standard acupuncture treatments with people.

The team made a number of observations regarding adenosine:

• In mice with normal functioning levels of adenosine, acupuncture reduced discomfort by two-thirds.

• In special “adenosine receptor knock-out mice” not equipped with the adenosine receptor, acupuncture had no effect.

• When adenosine was turned on in the tissues, discomfort was reduced even without acupuncture.

• During and immediately after an acupuncture treatment, the level of adenosine in the tissues near the needles was 24 times greater than before the treatment.

Adenosine Elimination Inhibitors May Boost Acupuncture’s Impact

Once they recognized adenosine’s role, the scientists explored the effects of a cancer drug called deoxycoformycin, which makes it harder for the tissue to remove adenosine. The compound boosted the effects of acupuncture treatment dramatically, nearly tripling the accumulation of adenosine in the muscles and more than tripling the length of time the treatment was effective.

“It’s clear that acupuncture may activate a number of different mechanisms,” said Josephine P. Briggs, MD, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. “This carefully performed study identifies adenosine as a new player in the process. It’s an interesting contribution to our growing understanding of the complex intervention which is acupuncture.”

Funding for the work came from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Program and the National Institutes of Health.
1. See article footnotes 4, 5, 6, and "Fibromyalgia imaging study demonstrates that Chinese acupuncture affects brain's ability to regulate pain - describes how."

Source: Based on University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center, news release, May 30, 2010

Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

Acupuncture no longer a placebo effect!
Posted by: KerryK
May 31, 2010
So, in the last couple of weeks the following important breakthroughs were reported: that IBS is a bacterial overgrowth - not psychological problem; that post traumatic stress syndrome is quickly curable with an injection to part of the nervous system and is therefore not psychological; and now acupuncture is firmly not a placebo effect. The prudent approach to the less understood illnesses seems is always to assume they are real and biological instead of psycho-social. What will be left for the psychologists???
Reply Reply

please read this review of the "adenosine" acupuncture study
Posted by: voner
Jun 4, 2010
if you're interested in this study, please read this review: the "body in mind" website is run by some extremely competent researchers in the field of pain.... also scroll down and read some of the comments..... timv
Reply Reply
Free Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Newsletters
Subscribe to
Subscribe Now!
Receive up-to-date ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia treatment and research news
 Privacy Guaranteed  |  View Archives

Save on Vitamins and Supplements

Featured Products

Creatine Monohydrate Creatine Monohydrate
Improve muscle strength & energy
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
Ubiquinol CoQ-10 Ubiquinol CoQ-10
Reduced, Active Form of CoQ10
Energy NADH™ 5mg Energy NADH™ 5mg
Long-lasting Energy, Without Stimulants
Corvalen M® by Douglas Laboratories Corvalen M® by Douglas Laboratories
Restore & Maintain Your Body's Core Energy

Natural Remedies

Fatigue & Fibro Fog: Could You Have a B-12 Deficiency? Fatigue & Fibro Fog: Could You Have a B-12 Deficiency?
Front Line Defense Against Colds & Flu - Support for Healthy Immune System Balance Front Line Defense Against Colds & Flu - Support for Healthy Immune System Balance
Live Longer: Groundbreaking Research on Omega-3s Live Longer: Groundbreaking Research on Omega-3s
Could a B-12 Deficiency Be Causing Your Symptoms? Could a B-12 Deficiency Be Causing Your Symptoms?
Sleep Like a Baby in Nature's Cradle Sleep Like a Baby in Nature's Cradle

What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia Treatments
What is CFS?
ME/CFS Diagnosis
ME/CFS Symptoms
ME/CFS Treatments
ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus
Credit Card Processing