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Which Probiotics Could Help Type 2 Diabetes

Probiotics for type 2 diabetes

Women who have type 2 diabetes and who are overweight could benefit from taking certain probiotics by losing unwanted pounds, according to a new study. The same success was not seen in men, however.

Most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, and shedding those extra pounds can be a struggle. A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that weight loss health seems to be available in the form of beneficial bacteria; specifically, the Lactobacillus rhamnosus group.

Read more about probiotics, diabetes, and obesity

L. rhamnosus is a probiotic commonly used in the making of yogurt and kefir, but it also is available in probiotic supplements. Numerous studies that have included L. rhamnosus have suggested this species of bacteria is helpful in the management of diarrhea, bacterial vaginosis, and gastroenteritis.

Now it’s been suggested the probiotic can help with weight loss. The suggestion comes from a research team at Universite Laval.

The 125 men and women in the study were overweight, but they were not identified as having type 2 diabetes. All the participants followed a 12-week weight-loss diet, which was followed by a 12-week period that focused on maintaining body weight.

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During the entire 24 week study, half of the participants took oral probiotics (2 pills daily) while the other half took placebo. The authors hoped to identify whether taking L. rhamnosus could assist in restoring balance that supports healthy weight in the intestinal bacterial environment.

At the 12-week and 24-week evaluations, here’s what the authors observed:

  • Women in the probiotic group lost an average of 9.7 pounds by week 12 compared with 5.7 pounds in the placebo group
  • Men in the two groups did not show any significant weight loss by week 12. The reason for this lack of response was not identified
  • During the second 12-week period, women in the probiotic group had continued to lose weight, for an average of 11.4 pounds overall.
  • Weight for the women in the placebo group remained stable during the second 12-week period
  • Therefore, women in the probiotics group lost twice as much weight as those in the placebo group by the end of the study
  • Women in the probiotic group also showed a decline in leptin, a hormone involved with appetite regulation, and a drop in the concentration of gut bacteria associated with obesity

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According to Professor Angelo Tremblay, who headed the study, use of probiotics may help prevent inflammation-causing molecules from entering the bloodstream, which in turn can help prevent the process that results in type 2 diabetes.

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Previous research on the relationship between probiotics, obesity, and/or type 2 diabetes has provided mixed results. One study that involved overweight individuals found that the probiotic L. gasseri plus two other beneficial bacteria helped study participants lose a significant amount of weight and abdominal fat when compared with subjects who did not take the probiotics.

Another recent study, however, was not as promising. The clinical trial looked at the impact of probiotics on various biochemical factors in 34 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The participants consumed either a placebo or a probiotic product containing L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. bifidum, and L. casei daily for six weeks. At the end of the study, the authors did not see any significant changes in fasting blood sugar, fasting plasma insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol in either group, although probiotic users did show a “nonsignificant declining trend” in several factors.

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Currently there is a clinical trial currently underway in which the researchers hope to show a positive effect of probiotics on diabetes. According to an article in Trials, the researchers expect “that the probiotic product will induce beneficial changes in gut microbiota, reduce the systemic inflammatory state” and thus “reduce the systemic inflammatory response observed in T2DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] subjects.”

Beneficial bacteria have demonstrated numerous benefits in several health categories. Evidence is now growing that probiotics may be helpful in managing factors associated with type 2 diabetes and so they may be worth adding to a type 2 diabetes or obesity treatment program.

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Alokail MS et al. Effects of probiotics in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2: study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Trials 2013 Jul 4; 14:195
Mazloom Z et al. Effect of probiotics on lipid profile, glycemic control, insulin action, oxidative stress, and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences 2013 Mar; 38(1): 38-43
Sanchez M et al. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. British Journal of Nutrition 2013; DOI:10.1017/S0007114513003875

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