Taking a daily dose of a powerful prebiotic could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study due to be published in the Journal of Nutrition .
The world-first research, conducted by experts at the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading, found that the health supplement Bimuno improves a range of metabolic risk factors which, when combined, significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
These risk factors include elevated blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL (or ‘good’) cholesterol, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, and a large waist size (central obesity). People with three or more of these risk factors are considered to have metabolic syndrome or syndrome X.
For the study, 45 overweight or obese adults were given either Bimuno or a placebo each day for a period of 12 weeks, with a four-week break in between.
After the 12 weeks, the participants who took Bimuno were found to have considerably elevated levels of “good” bacteria in the gut and lower levels of “bad” bacteria. Improvements were also seen in blood lipids, blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin and blood glucose levels, as well as body measurements.
“The relationship between human health and the gut is complex and scientists are only just beginning to understand this link and its significance,” said lead researcher Dr Jelena Vulevic.
“This research has shown that Bimuno could be used as a dietary supplement to enhance gastrointestinal health, immune function, and to reduce some metabolic syndrome risk factors .”
But Dr Matthew Hobbs, head of research at Diabetes UK, said because the study was short-term, the results “provide no evidence” to suggest that Bimuno prebiotic powder actually cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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