The Dead Sea towards sunset
The Dead Sea towards sunsetIsrael news photo: Hana Levi Julian

The lowest place on earth also has the power to bring down a person's high blood sugar, a new study has found.

According to a study by the Health Sciences faculty at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, short swims in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea may help reduce blood glucose levels.

It may also improve the general medical condition of people who suffer with diabetes, said Professor Shaul Sukenik, who led the team of researchers.

However, he cautioned, “These are findings from an initial study from which it is difficult to draw conclusions at this stage. Nevertheless, the results are promising. We have yet to test what happens to the glucose levels beyond an hour after the dip.”

An initial sample group of 14 subjects ages 18 to 65 who suffered Type 2 diabetes for less than 20 years was studied.

The study was carried out in a pool of Dead Sea water heated to 35 degrees Celsius.

Researchers found that the blood glucose levels of subjects who remained in the water for 20 minutes for a one-time dip were reduced by an average of 13.5 percent.

One hour after their dip in the Dead Sea water, the subjects' blood glucose levels had dropped even further, according to the study.

A control group of six healthy individuals did not exhibit any difference between measurements taken after their dips in both Dead Sea water and regular pool water.

Ironically, the water level in the Dead Sea has been dropping at an alarming rate of approximately four feet (1.3 meters) per year, especially at the northern end. In the south, increasing mineral salts have pushed the water level up by eight inches (20 centimeters) a year due to manufacturing and mineral extraction by the Dead Sea Works.

In some cases, even seaside hotels were being threatened – an issue that the Tourism Ministry has been working on.

The Dead Sea, which has been proven to have therapeutic properties for people with the skin disease psoriasis, is a finalist in the New7Wonders of Nature competition, which draws to a close on November 11.

Only a few days remain to vote for the Dead Sea to win and become one of the seven New Wonders of Nature. Click here to vote!