Probiotic supplementation could have benefits for adults who have been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a study reports.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that confer health benefits, such as protecting premature babies. Often found in yoghurts, they can also be taken as supplements.
Six months of twice-daily, multi-strain probiotics was shown to help reduce insulin resistance and inflammation in participants compared to those who took placebo.
The Saudi Arabian researchers believe the changes observed could indicate probiotic supplementation as a way to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes among high-risk people.
“Multi-strain probiotic supplementation can be beneficial for the prevention of diabetes and as an alternative therapy for people with diabetes thereby reducing healthcare costs,” said lead author Shaun Sabico, MD, PhD, King Saud University College of Science.
The study’s central aim was to see if probiotic supplementation lowered levels of endotoxin in the participants, a toxic molecule in the bloodstream.
They recruited 61 adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, none of whom had any diabetes complications, and randomly assigned them to sachets of probiotic powder twice-daily, or placebo. The participants were asked to consume the treatment before breakfast and bedtime.
A 38% reduction in circulating insulin was observed in the probiotics group compared with the placebo group, indicating that supplementation could help lower insulin resistance.
Furthermore, all inflammatory markers analysed improved in the probiotic group. There were also improvements in triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol (known as the ‘good’ cholesterol).
“Our study is, to our knowledge, the first to demonstrate the effects of a multi-strain probiotic supplement given over six months in the Arab [type 2 diabetes] population, using endotoxin as the primary endpoint,” said Sabico.
The researchers stressed that supplementation was used as a standalone treatment, and no modifications were made to exercise and diet in the study.
The research has been published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

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