Using certain probiotics can decrease fasting blood glucose levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
However, the six randomised trials conducted within the last five years were unable to determine the effects probiotics had on HbA1c levels.
Syamimi Samah, of the department of pharmacy at Universiti Teknologi in Malaysia, led the systematic review looking at the use of probiotics in people with type 2 diabetes.
In the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, the study authors wrote: “The current meta-analysis suggested moderate beneficial hypoglycemic effects of certain probiotics, with significantly lower [fasting blood glucose].
“Findings on HbA1c, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects of probiotics in the clinical setting, however, remain inconsistent, and thus, merit further investigations in future clinical studies.”
Yoghurt probiotic was used in two of the trials, while one used kefir and three measured the probiotics in capsule form.
Various blends of probiotic genera, including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, were also used in four of the studies.
Despite four studies showing a decrease in HbA1c, pooled estimates suggested there was no difference in HbA1c levels between the probiotic and control groups across the studies.
What researchers did discover was probiotic use was associated with a mean decrease in fasting blood glucose.
Research published earlier this year in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, found “early probiotic supplementation may reduce the risk of islet autoimmunity in children at the highest genetic risk” for type 1 diabetes.
It was thought it boosted the intestinal and immune systems, but researchers say more work needs to be done to investigate the effects of probiotics.

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