(Natural News) Probiotics are live microorganisms that are used to ferment foods. Commonly found in products like yogurt, traditional foods like sauerkraut or in supplements, probiotics confer benefits to the digestive system when ingested.
According to studies, probiotics improve digestive health and function by resolving dysbiosis, or the imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. This is important as the microbial community that resides in the human gut is believed to influence not only immune system function, but also mental health and a person’s risk of developing inflammatory diseases.
In a recent study, researchers at the Sri Adichunchanagiri College of Pharmacy in India analyzed the impact of probiotics on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have linked the development of this disease to dysbiosis.
The researchers found that supplementation with probiotics improves blood glucose markers in diabetics. This greatly helps with disease management and improves their quality of life. These findings were published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine.
How probiotics benefit patients with Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by either high insulin resistance or insufficient production of insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for stimulating cells to absorb sugar from the blood.
Research suggests that regular intake of probiotics helps resolve dysbiosis. An imbalance of the gut microbiota is said to contribute to the development of diabetes by triggering systemic inflammation and oxidative damage.
On the other hand, the ability of probiotics to replenish good gut bacteria reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, which results in improved glycemic control and insulin metabolism. Probiotics have also been shown to increase liver natural killer T-cells, which are immune cells that play a protective role against insulin resistance and obesity.
For their prospective, interventional, single-blind, randomized study, the researchers recruited and randomly assigned 80 diabetics to two groups: the interventional group that received probiotic capsules, and the control group that received placebo capsules. The study lasted for three months, and evaluation of the patients’ HRQOL were conducted before the start of the experiment and on the sixth and 12th week of intervention.
The researchers reported that 75 out of the 80 participants completed the study. They reported that probiotic supplementation had a positive effect on the participants’ blood glucose markers, which included fasting blood sugar, postprandial blood sugar, insulin resistance and serum insulin levels.
The researchers said that the improvements in these markers had a positive influence on the HRQOL of patients. Specifically, probiotics reduced the risk of depression and anxiety caused by changes in lifestyle and the fear of diabetic complications. While gender did not affect HRQOL in any way, age had a significant influence.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that probiotics can improve the HRQOL of patients with Type 2 diabetes by decreasing their blood sugar levels and increasing their insulin sensitivity.
Other health benefits of probiotics
Probiotics, the best sources of which are fermented foods and supplements, offer a variety of health benefits, according to studies. Here are some of the benefits that probiotics can provide for your body:
- They can replenish the good bacteria in your gut.
- They can prevent and treat digestive issues, such as diarrhea.
- They can improve some mental health conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Certain strains of lactic acid-producing bacteria help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- They help reduce the severity of certain allergies and eczema.
- They can reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- They help enhance immune function.
- They can aid in weight loss.
Consuming probiotic-containing foods or supplements is a great way to improve your digestive health and prevent diabetes. You can easily get probiotics by adding fermented foods like kimchi, miso, pickled vegetables and soy products to your daily diet. However, you will need to consume sufficient amounts of probiotics to fully enjoy their benefits. When taking probiotic supplements, studies suggest taking one billion to 100 billion colony-forming units (CFU) per day for best results.