Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria found in foods such as yogurt and in pill supplements and are important for good overall health. Recent research suggests that probiotics are important for people who suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The hope is that using probiotics to alter the type of bacteria in the gut may prevent type 1 diabetes, and that probiotics may one day be a part of the treatment strategy for type 2 diabetics.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live, active bacteria that are also referred to as cultures. In your digestive tract there is a layer of healthy bacteria. Gut or intestinal flora are healthy bacteria that contribute to colon health and the health of your whole body by reducing inflammation. Two of the most common strains include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics promote healthy digestion by making your digestive tract a more acidic environment, thus discouraging harmful bacteria that cause stomach upset.
Type 1 Diabetes
Probiotics have important applications for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the University of Florida recently reported that probiotics can prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes. Your gut is your body’s largest immune system, and taking probiotics is a way of fighting off illness and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
The gut flora in type 2 diabetics may be different from people without diabetes. Another recent study suggests there is a link between metabolic diseases and the composition of bacterial populations in the intestines. Scientists found that the balance of some bacteria is highly dependent on blood sugar levels. They suggest that gut bacteria should be factored into strategies to control diabetes.
Sabico S, et al. (2018).Effects of a 6-month multi-strain probiotics supplementation in endotoxemic, inflammatory and cardiometabolic status of T2DM patients: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition, 2018; doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2018.08.009.
Yao, K., Zeng, L., He, Q., Wang, W., Lei, J., & Zou, X. (2017). Effect of Probiotics on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis of 12 Randomized Controlled Trials. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 23, 3044–3053. doi:10.12659/msm.902600