According to Diabetes UK we are the ‘fattest’ country in Europe with over 1 in 5 adults categorized as overweight and 1 in 15 as obese. The number of obese adults is set to rise to over 26 million in the next 20 years – a rise of 73% which would result in an extra million cases of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers.
Now a research team conducting a meta-analysis (a combined review of several studies) has found that probiotic supplements can be effective in preventing high blood glucose which is a risk factor for several chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Poor diet and lack of exercise play their part in blood glucose impairment and it now seems that bad gut bacteria also have an important role in glucose metabolism.
Human studies have shown that gut bacteria are linked to changes in blood glucose metabolism possibly by influencing the balance between free radical stress in the body and our ability to detoxify their harmful effects. Gut bacteria may also affect inflammation, which can cause insulin resistance, and circulating endotoxins (toxins release from certain bacteria) that play a role in chronic disease.
The team conducted a review of 17 human clinical trials involving probiotic supplementation in which fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity were reported.
The reviewers stated that “Overall, probiotics significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and improved HOMA-IR [a measure of insulin resistance] indicating a modest effect of probiotics on glycemic control.
Even small glucose reductions may provide health benefits ……abnormal glucose metabolism carries crucial risks for many metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS), and cardiovascular disease.”
The researchers concluded that probiotic consumption may improve blood sugar control and that probiotic supplementation may be a method for preventing and controlling impaired blood glucose mechanisms including type 2 diabetes.
Ruan Y, Sun J, He J, Chen F, Chen R, Chen H. Effect of Probiotics on Glycemic Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 10;10(7):e0132121.