Probiotics May Help Those with Diabetes

By: Robert M. Blair, Ph.D.

Diabetes has become one of the most prevalent health issues in the world. While there is no cure for diabetes, a number of researchers have sought to find treatments and supplements that may help individuals with this disease manage and cope with the symptoms and probiotics may show hopeful results!

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, raising the global prevalence from 4.7% to 8.5% of the world’s population! The predominant form of diabetes in the world’s population is Type 2 diabetes, which is mainly due to inactivity and excess body weight.

While a number of human clinical studies have examined the potential benefits of probiotics on Type 2 diabetes, the results have been somewhat inconsistent. However, a recent meta-analysis, combined and analyzed data from 10 human clinical trials in an attempt to get a clearer view of the potential benefits of probiotics for Type 2 diabetes [1].


The Study:

To make up the meta-analysis, the following databases were searched by index words to identify the randomized control trial with the latest research being done in January 2017:

  • PubMed
  • Cochrane
  • Embase
  • Wanfang
  • China National Knowledge Infrastructure
  • VIP database

The primary endpoints of this study were changes in cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose levels, each of which are important metabolic factors related to Type 2 diabetes.


The Results:

At last, ten trials were included with a total of 297 patients in the treatment group and 294 patients in the control group.  The results of this analysis showed that, compared to control subjects, supplementation with probiotics lowered total cholesterol, reduced triglyceride levels, and improved LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol. Additionally, systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements were lower on average in subjects taking probiotics. Lastly, this study reported that probiotic supplementation was associated with lower levels of fasting blood glucose.


What It Means:

Overall, this study demonstrates the potential benefits of probiotics for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Probiotics may lead to a decrease in the indexes of lipid profile, blood pressure, and FBG and the application of probiotics may be a helpful new method for lipid profiles and blood pressure management. Research into the potential health benefits of probiotics and the link between the digestive system and human health continues to point out the potential importance of probiotics for our health and well-being.




He J, Zhang F, Han Y. Effect of probiotics on lipid profiles and blood pressure in patients with Type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of RCTs. Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis 2017; 96:51.