Can Probiotics Help Your Battle With Diabetes?


diabetes probioticsNo other disease has inflicted trouble to the human race in modern times as much as diabetes. It has surpassed the barriers of age, race and gender. Being overweight is the biggest risk of developing this disease. Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome in which the body is unable to produce sufficient insulin to be able to metabolize the sugars, thereby leading to hyperglycemia (high blood glucose level). In simple words we can say, “Too much sugar and the body is unable to use it properly”.

Diabetes can be of two types: Type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune disease in which the pancreas produces no or too-little insulin, which is insufficient to metabolize the sugars in the diet. In Type 2 diabetes, which is often also christened as adult-onset diabetes, with age, there is reduction in the ability to control blood-glucose levels. Apart from insulin, other hormones also play role in diabetes and weight control, one such hormone is leptin. This hormone, for example induces the feeling of satiety in the brain, checking the further intake of food. Constant high blood glucose level causes multiple complications including cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis), blindness and even amputation of the limbs.

Battling Diabetes:

Management of diabetes requires maintaining a healthy weight, thus a healthy BMI. Obesity causes insulin resistance in the body and it is surprising how lowering the weight leads to significant risk reduction in pre-diabetes population (population group that has the blood glucose higher than normal but not enough to be diagnosed as diabetes). According to a very recent study published in Iran J Med Sci.(2013), the authors argued that though there was an not so significant reduction in the amount of triglycerides and resistance to insulin as well as increase in HDL-C, the role of probiotics in management of diabetes cannot be ignored.

How probiotics Help Patients With Diabetes:

Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy to all the cells of the body and is also crucial for the survival of the micro-flora. In fact, complex carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to provide for the energy requirements of these cells. Excess glucose is stored in the body to glycogen. The three golden rules in diabetes management and how probiotics intervene at each level are mentioned below:

1. Reduction of the glucose absorption from intestine: In diabetes, probiotics can be a boon. When a patient consumes large amount of probiotics, they line the GI tract and feed on this excess glucose, thereby reducing the intestinal absorption of these sugars. Hence probiotics act as a first line of defense in management of diabetes.

2. Reduction in the glucose synthesis in liver: As mentioned in the previous paragraph, probiotics reduces the amount of glucose in the blood. With this lowering, the amount of glucose to be converted to glycogen in the liver is also reduced. This mechanism ensures that there is less storage of glycogen, hence less glucose during emergency.

3. Increased metabolic utilization of glucose: It is interesting to note that our body has more bacteria than the cells, thus probiotics or good bacteria has a significant role to play in general metabolism. By increasing these useful bacteria in the body, you are masking the body’s requirement for the utilization of these compounds. If we consider the intestine as a tube that does not interact with the other parts of the body, consuming large number of good bacteria or probiotics is a great idea to increase the metabolism of glucose in the body, thereby reducing absorption of glucose. Thus, probiotics also help in management of weight and fighting obesity which plays a significant role in the etiology of diabetes.

Probiotics can also benefit systemic inflammatory induced diabetes. According to a study (2013) published in J Clin Diagn Res., the authors concluded that the addition of probiotics in the diet for several weeks has shown to reduce the chances of development of systemic inflammatory induced diabetes by improving the immune response of the body.

Once it is established that probiotics intervene at each stage of diabetes management, we can look out for the options available where probiotics can work wonders. One such interesting compound is MAKSwee-T. This is a sweetener that is not at all digested by the body, however the probiotics loves it. Thus, once consumed, it performs dual function: act as a sweetener for the patient and provides fodder to the probiotics. It therefore is a safe bet for patients with diabetes having a sweet tooth.

To sum up, we know that diabetes is a silent killer that affects the global population across age, race and gender and we also know the management strategies. In this article, we align the role of probiotics in diabetes management.

References

1. Mazloom Z, Yousefinejad A, Dabbaghmanesh MH. Effect of probiotics on lipid profile, glycemic control, insulin action, oxidative stress, and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial. Iran J Med Sci. 2013 Mar;38(1):38-43.
2. Aggarwal J, Swami G, Kumar M. Probiotics and their Effects on Metabolic Diseases: An Update. Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Jan;7(1):173-7. Epub 2013 Jan 1.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jill_a_brown/2628388839/ @creativecommons

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