By-products of bacteria known as postbiotics have been linked to lowering blood sugar levels in obese people with prediabetes, a new study finds.
A research team from McMaster University in Canada believes postbiotics, beneficial pieces of bacteria cell walls that can increase insulin absorptio, could be used in the future to help obese people with prediabetes, preventing them from developing type 2 diabetes.
“It was previously thought that bacteria only caused problems such as higher inflammation and higher blood glucose. But this is only half of the story,” said biomedical sciences professor and senior author Dr Jonathan Schertzer.
“We discovered that a specific component of bacteria actually lowers blood glucose and allows insulin to work better during obesity.”
In a study involving mice that were genetically engineered to be obese the scientists found that postbiotics boosted the effectiveness of insulin.
Schertzer’s team believe postbiotics could represented a fascinating new avenue of research in diabetes, and they are also interested in whether postbiotics could lower inflammation to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
“We know that gut bacteria, often called the microbiomen, send inflammation signals that change how well insulin works to lower blood glucose,” he said.
“Understanding how different parts of bacteria control glucose could lead to new therapies that avoid some of the problems with probiotics or prebiotics. We have found a “postbiotic” that lowers blood glucose during obesity.”
The researchers are poised to begin clinical trials in humans to see if postbiotics can prevent type 2 diabetes in obese people, with the aim to develop drugs which are based on this bacteria.
The findings have been published online the journal Cell Metabolism.

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