Probiotics & Diabetes: Can They Help Control Blood Sugar?
Posted On: July 29, 2022 Categories:Probiotics and Your Health,
Most people benefit from taking probiotics, and that includes anyone struggling to regulate their blood sugar. Maintaining a sufficient quantity of good bacteria in your gut can help alleviate some of the issues that come with diabetes while also supporting digestive health.
Diabetes and Your Gut
To understand the positive impacts of probiotics on diabetes, it helps to know how your gut affects your health.
In your digestive tract, there are trillions of bacteria that make up what is called the gut microbiome. In general, the more diverse the species in the microbiome, the healthier it is. Beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, produce substances that help support digestive health, immune function, and other important bodily processes. If you have insufficient quantities of probiotics in your gut, your health could suffer as harmful bacteria build up.
Research indicates that the incidence of diabetes actually correlates with changes in your gut’s microbiome. For instance, one study found that diabetic patients had lower concentrations of certain strains of beneficial bacteria such as Clostridia and Firmicutes.
Exactly why this occurs is unclear, but regardless of the exact association, there is a well-established link between the balance in your gut microbiome and diabetic symptoms such as insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, and even blood pressure. This link means reestablishing a healthy microbial balance in your gut could help with blood sugar regulation. That balance can be achieved by reintroducing healthy bacteria into your digestive tract with probiotic supplements.
Are Probiotics Good for Diabetics?
In and of themselves, probiotics are perfectly safe for diabetics (and most people in general) to consume. In fact, they may even be beneficial when it comes to regulating blood sugar and insulin resistance, though more research is needed in this area.
Probiotics and Insulin Resistance
For instance, one study indicated that patients with type-2 diabetes who took Lactobacillus acidophilus (a probiotic strain) for four weeks were better able to maintain insulin sensitivity. While the test is far from conclusive, it does suggest that probiotics could help reduce insulin resistance. Naturally, this is beneficial for individuals who have been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.
Probiotics and Blood Sugar
Research also indicates that probiotics could have a positive impact on blood sugar regulation. Tests on animals generally demonstrate positive results for blood glucose levels, though clinical trials on humans have had mixed results.
One fairly recent study found several probiotic strains that seem to be beneficial when it comes to blood sugar control. Among these varieties is Bifidobacterium infantis, which happens to be present in Dr. Ohhira’s probiotic supplements. The inclusion of prebiotics can also help support beneficial bacteria strains, which in turn could also yield positive results for those who have difficulty regulating their blood sugar.
Metformin and Probiotics Interaction
Of course, probiotics aren’t a medication per se. Probiotic supplements help support your body’s natural functions, so many people still benefit from traditional diabetes treatments like metformin.
Probiotics are generally safe to take if you’re also taking metformin for your diabetes since the two don’t interact. In fact, research indicates that probiotic supplements may actually help counteract the diarrhea often caused by metformin, making it easier for people with diabetes to continue treatment.
Choosing Probiotics for Overall Health
Probiotics are an effective way to regulate your gut’s health, and if your gut is happy, the rest of your body is happier too. The implications probiotics have for people with insulin resistance are promising, and there’s typically no harm in using probiotics to regulate your gastrointestinal wellbeing.
Diabetics can take probiotics. Quality probiotic supplements are safe for most people to take, with the possible exception of individuals with suppressed immune systems.
Can probiotics lower blood sugar?
Most studies have fairly inconsistent results when it comes to whether probiotics can reliably lower blood sugar in human beings. However, research cited above has indicated specific strands that could have positive effects on your body’s ability to manage blood glucose levels, so it’s possible.
Can probiotics raise blood pressure?
High blood pressure often accompanies diabetes. In fact, diabetes can have a negative effect on arteries, leading to increased blood pressure. Probiotics, however, do not raise blood pressure—in fact, they have been shown to support healthier systolic and diastolic blood pressure and improve overall heart health.