Probiotics May Improve Metabolic Profiles

iStock-1046974390Most people generally associate probiotics with fostering the growth of good bacteria in the gut, however, more and more clinical studies are highlighting the role of probiotics beyond the gut. One randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind study looked at the effects of probiotic supplementation on the metabolic profiles in diabetic patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).

Sixty diabetic patients with CHD, aged 40–85 years were evaluated at a cardiology clinic from October 2017 through January 2018. They were separated into two groups to take either probiotic supplements (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30) for 12 weeks, and randomly stratified based on age, BMI, gender, and medication use. The probiotic supplementation group received Bifdobacterium bifdum 2×109, Lactobacillus casei 2×109, Lactobacillus acidophilus 2×109 CFU/day (n=30) or placebo (n=30) for 12 weeks.

In these diabetic patients with CHD, probiotic supplementation for 12 weeks had beneficial effects on glycemic control, HDL-cholesterol, total-/HDL-cholesterol ratio, and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. The researchers suggest these beneficial effects by the probiotics may be due to their ability to scavenge superoxide and hydroxyl radicals[1] and decrease inflammatory signaling[2].

The group receiving probiotics had significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (β − 20.02 mg/dL; 95% CI − 33.86, − 6.17; P = 0.005), serum insulin levels (β − 2.09 μIU/mL; 95% CI − 3.77, − 0.41; P = 0.01), homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (β − 0.50; 95% CI − 0.96, − 0.03; P = 0.03) and total-/HDL-cholesterol ratio (β − 0.27; 95% CI − 0.52, − 0.03; P = 0.02), and significantly increased quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) (β 0.008; 95% CI 0.001, 0.01; P = 0.02), and HDL-cholesterol levels (β 2.52 mg/dL; 95% CI 0.04, 5.00; P = 0.04) compared with the placebo. In addition, hs-CRP levels were decreased, and both total antioxidant capacity and glutathione levels increased.

Thus, the researchers concluded that, “taking probiotics for 12 weeks by diabetic patients with CHD had beneficial effects on glycemic control, improving HDL levels- and total-/HDL-cholesterol ratio, and attenuating biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress.”

This research confirms previous findings where It has been reported that gut microbiota contribute to glucose homeostasis through different bacterial metabolites.[3]



[1] Kullisaar T, Zilmer M, Mikelsaar M, Vihalemm T, Annuk H, Kairane C, et al. Two antioxidative lactobacilli strains as promising probiotics. Int J Food Microbiol. 2002 72:215–24.

[2] Ma X, Hua J, Li Z. Probiotics improve high fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance by increasing hepatic NKT cells. J Hepatol. 2008 49:821–30.

[3] Delzenne NM, Cani PD, Everard A, Neyrinck AM, Bindels LB. Gut microorganisms as promising targets for the management of type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2015 58:2206–17.



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