Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

Can Protein, Probiotics Aid Blood Sugar Control?

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

From the WebMD Archives        

By Dennis Thompson


         HealthDay Reporter        


THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Adding protein-rich or probiotic-laden foods to your diet may help control your blood sugar levels, according to a pair of new studies.

Both proteins and probiotics appear to slow down digestion of carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar spikes that can lead to type 2 diabetes or exacerbate damage done by the disease, researchers found.

Eating tuna fish with a slice of white bread produced a slower rise in blood sugar than eating carbs alone, said Huicui Meng, who led one of the studies. She's a postdoctoral researcher at Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston in Boston.

Meanwhile, people who added foods rich in probiotics — a type of “good” bacteria — to their heart-healthy DASH diet achieved a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels, said Arjun Pandey, a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute in Ontario, Canada.

The results of both studies were presented this week at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in New Orleans. But until peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal, the conclusions should be considered preliminary.

Although both were small-scale studies, the pair provide useful information that people can put into practice with their daily diets, said Dr. Prakash Deedwania, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is also vice chair of the American Heart Association's diabetes committee.

“These are lifestyle changes that are easy to do, and important for the large amount of the population who have metabolic syndrome or are prediabetic,” said Deedwania. People with metabolic syndrome have risk factors that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

For the protein-carbohydrate study, Meng's team asked four groups of about 20 people each to eat specific foods. Their blood sugar levels were measured at regular intervals over two hours.

The groups ate white bread accompanied by either rice squares cereal (carbohydrates), tuna fish (protein), unsalted butter (fat), or oat circles cereal (fiber).

The researchers wanted to see whether other types of nutrients affected the digestion of carbohydrates, Meng said.

“We don't eat carbohydrates on their own,” Meng said. “Our meals consist of a blend of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber.”

Protein slowed the release of sugars into the bloodstream, but Meng and her colleagues were surprised to find no similar effect from the fats in butter or the fiber in the oat cereal.

“Protein may stimulate the release of some gut hormones that may slow the gastric empty rate,” Meng said. That's the speed at which food leaves the stomach for digestion in the intestines.

In the other study, 80 people with high blood pressure adopted the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet — a heart-healthy eating plan designed to lower blood pressure. But Pandey asked half of the participants to substitute probiotic foods for other items in the diet.

For example, they could substitute probiotic-rich yogurt as their low-fat dairy food, or eat probiotic granola or drink probiotic beverages, he said.

Pandey is a high school student, but experts with John Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Cambridge Cardiac Care Center in Ontario helped oversee his research.

The people who added probiotics to their diet showed no difference in blood pressure compared to the other group, but they did achieve a better reduction in their fasting blood sugar and their hemoglobin A1C levels, Pandey reported. Hemoglobin A1C is a standard biomarker for testing long-term blood sugar levels.

Probiotic bacteria appear to produce compounds that may make it easier for cells to use the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy, Pandey said.

Deedwania said follow-up research involving larger groups would help bolster these findings, but that people who take the advice offered by these studies would face no great harm.

“Just having one container of probiotic yogurt is not going to be of consequence to anybody,” he said.

At the same time, Deedwania noted that in the case of the probiotic study, the participants were asked to follow an overall heart-healthy diet.

“It's important to remember the authors used a very prudent diet to begin with, the DASH diet,” he said. “You can't just have a very unhealthy diet and add probiotic supplementation. That's not going to do it.”

SOURCES: Huicui Meng, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher, Tufts University Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Boston; Arjun Pandey, student, Waterloo Collegiate Institute, Ontario, Canada; Prakash Deedwania, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, San Francisco; November 2016, American Heart Association, annual meeting, New Orleans Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Probiotic assisted weight management as a main factor for glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

  1. 1.

    International Diabetes Federation. The global picture. 8th ed. Brussels: International Diabetes Federation; 2017.

  2. 2.

    Rothberg AE, McEwen LN, Kraftson AT, Fowler CE, Herman WH. Very-low-energy diet for type 2 diabetes: an underutilized therapy? J Diabetes Complications. 2014;28(4):506–10.

  3. 3.

    Association AD. 7. Obesity management for the treatment of type 2 diabetes: standards of medical care in diabetes—2018. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(Supplement 1):S65–72.

  4. 4.

    Pastors JG, Warshaw H, Daly A, Franz M, Kulkarni K. The evidence for the effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy in diabetes management. Diabetes Care. 2002;25(3):608–13.

  5. 5.

    Steven S, Hollingsworth KG, Al-Mrabeh A, Avery L, Aribisala B, Caslake M, et al. Very-low-calorie diet and 6 months of weight stability in type 2 diabetes: pathophysiologic changes in responders and nonresponders. Diabetes Care. 2016.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  6. 6.

    Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K, Lichtinghagen R, Stichtenoth D, et al. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA1c, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006;36(5):340–4.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  7. 7.

    Lee Y-S, Park M-J, Choi J-E, Kim J-Y, Nam M-S, Jeong Y-H. Effects of silk protein hydrolysates on blood glucose level, serum insulin and leptin secretion in OLETF rats. J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 2007;36(6):703–7.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  8. 8.

    Yun S, Park H, Kang J. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 on blood glucose levels and body weight in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes. J Appl Microbiol. 2009;107(5):1681–6.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  9. 9.

    Bastani P, Akbarzadeh F, Homayouni A, Javadi M, Khalili L. Health benefits of probiotic consumption. Microbes in food and health. Beriln: Springer; 2016. p. 163–83.

  10. 10.

    Rad AH, Abbasalizadeh S, Vazifekhah S, Abbasalizadeh F, Hassanalilou T, Bastani P, Ejtahed HS, et al. The future of diabetes management by healthy probiotic microorganisms. Curr. Diabetes Rev. 2017;13(6):582–9.

  11. 11.

    Van Gaal L, Scheen A. Weight management in type 2 diabetes: current and emerging approaches to treatment. Diabetes Care. 2015;38(6):1161–72.

  12. 12.

    Kobyliak N, Conte C, Cammarota G, Haley AP, Styriak I, Gaspar L, et al. Probiotics in prevention and treatment of obesity: a critical view. Nutr Metab. 2016;13(1):14.

  13. 13.

    Ostadrahimi A, Taghizadeh A, Mobasseri M, Farrin N, Payahoo L, Gheshlaghi ZB, et al. Effect of probiotic fermented milk (kefir) on glycemic control and lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Iranian J Public Health. 2015;44(2):228.

  14. 14.

    Tompkins T, Mainville I, Arcand Y. The impact of meals on a probiotic during transit through a model of the human upper gastrointestinal tract. Benef Microb. 2011;2(4):295–303.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  15. 15.

    Moghaddam MB, Aghdam , Jafarabadi MA, Allahverdipour H, Nikookheslat SD, Safarpour S. The Iranian Version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) in Iran: content and construct validity, factor structure, internal consistency and stability. World Appl Sci. 2012;18(8):1073–80.

  16. 16.

    Asghari Jafarabadi M, Mohammadi S. Statistical series: introduction to statistical inference (point estimation, confidence interval and hypothesis testing). J Diabetes Lipid Disorders. 2013;12(3):173–92.

  17. 17.

    Kadooka Y, Sato M, Imaizumi K, Ogawa A, Ikuyama K, Akai Y, et al. Regulation of abdominal adiposity by probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055) in adults with obese tendencies in a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(6):636.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  18. 18.

    Omar JM, Chan Y-M, Jones ML, Prakash S, Jones PJ. Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus as probiotics alter body adiposity and gut microflora in healthy persons. J Funct Foods. 2013;5(1):116–23.

  19. 19.

    Yadav H, Lee J-H, Lloyd J, Walter P, Rane SG. Beneficial metabolic effects of a probiotic via butyrate-induced GLP-1 hormone secretion. J Biol Chem. 2013;288(35):25088–97.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  20. 20.

    Homayouni-Rad A, Soroush A-R, Khalili L, Norouzi-Panahi L, Kasaie Z, Ejtahed H-S. Diabetes management by probiotics: current knowledge and future pespective. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2017;1(1):1–13.

  21. 21.

    Duca FA, Swartz TD, Sakar Y, Covasa M. Increased oral detection, but decreased intestinal signaling for fats in mice lacking gut microbiota. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(6):e39748.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  22. 22.

    Shen J, Obin MS, Zhao L. The gut microbiota, obesity and insulin resistance. Mol Aspects Med. 2013;34(1):39–58.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  23. 23.

    Srinivas P, Wagner AS, Reddy LV, Deutsch D, Leon MA, Goustin AS, et al. Serum alpha 2-HS-glycoprotein is an inhibitor of the human insulin receptor at the tyrosine kinase level. Mol Endocrinol. 1993;7(11):1445–55.

  24. 24.

    Mathews ST, Singh GP, Ranalletta M, Cintron VJ, Qiang X, Goustin AS, et al. Improved insulin sensitivity and resistance to weight gain in mice null for the Ahsg gene. Diabetes. 2002;51(8):2450–8.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  25. 25.

    Choi KM, Han KA, Ahn HJ, Lee SY, Hwang SY, Kim BH, et al. The effects of caloric restriction on F etuin-A and cardiovascular risk factors in rats and humans: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Endocrinol. 2013;79(3):356–63.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  26. 26.

    Ismail NA, Ragab S, El Dayem SMA, ElBaky AA, Salah N, Hamed M, et al. Fetuin-A levels in obesity: differences in relation to metabolic syndrome and correlation with clinical and laboratory variables. Arch Med Sci AMS. 2012;8(5):826.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  27. 27.

    Uskova M, Kravchenko L. Antioxidant properties of lactic acid bacteria—probiotic and yogurt strains. Vopr Pitan. 2009;78(2):18–23.

  28. 28.

    Herranz D, Serrano M. SIRT1: recent lessons from mouse models. Nat Rev Cancer. 2010;10(12):819.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  29. 29.

    Turkmen K, Karagoz A, Kucuk A. Sirtuins as novel players in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. World J Diabetes. 2014;5(6):894.

  30. 30.

    Haukeland JW, Dahl TB, Yndestad A, Gladhaug IP, Løberg EM, Haaland T, et al. Fetuin A in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: in vivo and in vitro studies. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012;166(3):503–10.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  31. 31.

    Brix JM, Stingl H, Höllerl F, Schernthaner GH, Kopp H-P, Schernthaner G. Elevated Fetuin-A concentrations in morbid obesity decrease after dramatic weight loss. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95(11):4877–81.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  32. 32.

    Mariani S, Fiore D, Persichetti A, Basciani S, Lubrano C, Poggiogalle E, et al. Circulating SIRT1 increases after intragastric balloon fat loss in obese patients. Obes Surg. 2016;26(6):1215–20.

  33. 33.

    Lagouge M, Argmann C, Gerhart-Hines Z, Meziane H, Lerin C, Daussin F, et al. Resveratrol improves mitochondrial function and protects against metabolic disease by activating SIRT1 and PGC-1α. Cell. 2006;127(6):1109–22.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  34. 34.

    Cantó C, Auwerx J. Caloric restriction, SIRT1 and longevity. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2009;20(7):325–31.

  35. 35.

    Laitinen K, Poussa T, Isolauri E. Probiotics and dietary counselling contribute to glucose regulation during and after pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2008;101(11):1679–87.

  36. 36.

    Andreasen AS, Larsen N, Pedersen-Skovsgaard T, Berg RM, Møller K, Svendsen KD, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM on insulin sensitivity and the systemic inflammatory response in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2010;104(12):1831–8.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  37. 37.

    Ejtahed HS, Mohtadi Nia J, Homayouni Rad A, Niafar M, Asghari Jafarabadi M, Mofid V. The effects of probiotic and conventional yoghurt on diabetes markers and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Iranian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011;13(1):1–8.

  38. 38.

    Asemi Z, Zare Z, Shakeri H, Sabihi S-S, Esmaillzadeh A. Effect of multispecies probiotic supplements on metabolic profiles, hs-CRP, and oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes. Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;63(1–2):1–9.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  39. 39.

    Yadav H, Jain S, Sinha P. Antidiabetic effect of probiotic dahi containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei in high fructose fed rats. Nutrition. 2007;23(1):62–8.

  40. 40.

    Moroti C, Magri LFS, de Rezende Costa M, Cavallini DC, Sivieri K. Effect of the consumption of a new symbiotic shake on glycemia and cholesterol levels in elderly people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lipids Health Dis. 2012;11(1):29.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  41. 41.

    Lin C-H, Lin C-C, Shibu MA, Liu C-S, Kuo C-H, Tsai F-J, et al. Oral Lactobacillus reuteri GMN-32 treatment reduces blood glucose concentrations and promotes cardiac function in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus. Br J Nutr. 2014;111(4):598–605.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  42. 42.

    Ejtahed HS, Mohtadi-Nia J, Homayouni-Rad A, Niafar M, Asghari-Jafarabadi M, Mofid V. Probiotic yogurt improves antioxidant status in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutrition. 2012;28(5):539–43.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  43. 43.

    Yao K, Zeng L, He Q, Wang W, Lei J, Zou X. Effect of probiotics on glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials. Med Sci Monit Int Med J Exp Clin Res. 2017;23:3044.

  44. 44.

    Kobyliak N, Falalyeyeva T, Mykhalchyshyn G, Kyriienko D, Komissarenko I. Effect of alive probiotic on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes patients: randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Metab. Syndr. 2018;12:617–24.


Probiotics improve glucose and lipid metabolism in pregnant women: a meta-analysis

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

The pregnancy is characterized by a series of physiologic, metabolic and intestinal microbial changes (1,2). A prospective study conducted by Koren et al. (2) on 91 pregnant women showed that the composition and structure of gut microbiota dramatically change during pregnancy and these changes continue to occur from the first trimester to the third trimester.

They concluded that the impact of intestinal microbiota during pregnancy is similar to metabolic syndrome. However, similar results were not observed in all studies. During pregnancy, an imbalance in the intestinal flora resembles metabolic dysfunction with increase in the inflammation, energy content, and decreased insulin sensitivity (3).

Increased insulin resistance can raise glucose and free fatty acid (FAA) concentrations, and can also affect fat oxidation in the late gestation. In obese pregnant women, the dysbiosis of gut microbiota can lead to the development of metabolic disorders and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) (4).

Thus, the prevention and possibly treatment of dysbiosis are essential to decrease the risk of morbidity and mortality in the mother and newborn (5).

In the past decade, the use of probiotics has emerged as a principal approach to maintain the balance of the human gut microbiota (6). Some reports have shown that the probiotic supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity and cholesterol metabolism in the hosts (7,8).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have defined probiotics as live microorganisms, which confer a health benefit on the host under sufficient amounts (9).

Probiotics are widely being studied for their beneficial effects on the treatment of various diseases, such as the obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (10).

Furthermore, probiotics that alter the bacterial flora in the gut may help infants to thrive or even prevent the development of diseases asthma and diabetes (11).

Thus far, several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have reported that the probiotics have a beneficial effect on the prevention and treatment of maternal metabolic outcomes (12-16). Therefore, we systematically analyzed the medical literature for all published RCTs to assess the role of probiotics in affecting the metabolic profiles in the pregnant women.

An electronic literature search was conducted on PubMed-MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and Web of Science for relevant RCTs since inception up to October 2017.

The search terms included pregnancy-related terms (that is “pregnan*” or “gestation*” or “matern*” or “gestational diabetes mellitus,” or “gestational diabetes”), plus probiotic-related term (that is “probiotics” or “culturelle” or “bacteria*” or “Bifidobacteria” or “Lactobailli” or “Acidophilus” or “yogurt”), plus metabolism-related terms (that is “glucose” or “insulin” or “HOMA*” or “metabol*” or “intervention”). We also searched their references lists without any language restrictions. Primary outcomes of selected studies were GDM and maternal metabolic changes during pregnancy. Secondary outcomes included maternal pregnancy and offspring birth outcomes. This meta-analysis was prospectively registered in PROSPERO as CRD 42017079900. We undertook the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) (17).

Selection criteria

Inclusion criteria were defined as follows: (I) completed RCTs reported by the original research articles; (II) pregnant women >18 years-of-age with or without GDM; (III) studies comparing the effects of probiotics with placebo/control, and (IV) articles on fasting plasma glucose or insulin or homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) or lipid metabolism or GDM. Exclusion criteria were determined as follows: (I) duplicate publications, editorials, literature reviews, and meta-analyses; (II) nonrandomized trials; (III) studies presented only as abstracts with no subsequent full report of study results or primary data; and (IV) insufficient information for data extraction.

Data extraction and qualitative analysis

Two reviewers independently determined eligible studies, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of included studies.

The following details were extracted and tabulated: study (authors/year), study design, sample size (intervention/control), the period of intervention (category, dose, intervention time point, duration of probiotics), and outcome indicators.

The included studies were evaluated for bias by using the Cochrane risk-of-bias (RoB) tool (version 5.0) (18).

Each included study was evaluated for the following biases: random sequence generation (selection bias), allocation concealment (selection bias), blinding of participant and personnel (performance bias), blinding of outcome assessment (detection bias), incomplete outcome data (attrition bias), selective reporting (reporting bias) and other bias. The reviewers’ judgment was categorized as “Low risk,” “High risk” or “Unclear risk” of bias. The discrepancies were resolved after consultation and discussion with a third investigator.

Statistical analysis

The meta-analysis and statistical analysis were undertaken by using the Stata Software (version 11) and Review Manager (RevMan version 5.3). We summarized dichotomous data as relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for GDM in the included study.

The metabolic indices of selected studies were maternal fasting blood glucose (G), insulin, HOMA-IR, quantitative insulin-sensitivity check index (QUICKI), maternal weight change, and morbidity of GDM and lipid metabolism.

Secondary outcomes included maternal outcomes (gestation weeks and gestational weight gain), infant birth outcomes (birth weight, birth length, and head circumference) and rate of adverse pregnancy outcome (cesarean delivery, premature baby and macrosomia). The mean difference (MD) was used for the continuous data outcome indicators which measured with the same methods.

Otherwise, the standardized mean difference (SMD) was used to combine the trials. We extracted the means and standard deviations (SDs) for post-intervention values or change scores. When the heterogeneity existed, the random-effects model was applied; otherwise, the fixed-effects model was chosen.

Heterogeneity was assessed in each meta-analysis using the T2, I2 and χ2 statistics, with the value >50% indicative of statistical heterogeneity or there was a low P value (P


Probiotics could help treat metabolic disease patients

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

Obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD, which is excessive fat accumulation in the liver) are a growing global health problem. Researchers believe that lifestyle, especially a poor diet, contributes to the rapid progression of these diseases.

Studies show that patients with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and NAFLD also have dysbiosis, which is an imbalanced gut microbiota. Dysbiosis is characterized by decreased levels of beneficial bacteria.

 Metformin, a common drug given to type 2 diabetes patients to regulate blood sugar levels, modulates the gut microbiota in a way that leads to improved blood glucose levels.

According to the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), probiotics are “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amount, confer a health benefit on the host”. Although evidence supports probiotic intake for obesity management, few studies have analyzed the role probiotics play on other metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and NAFLD.

Despite scientific evidence supporting probiotic intake for managing obesity, few studies have analyzed the role probiotics play in other metabolic diseases

A recent literature review of 105 studies performed on overweight but not obese patients revealed that probiotics improve weight loss. Specifically, consuming a probiotic that contained three or more strains during eight weeks improved markers of metabolic health such as a slight decrease in weight loss, body fat mass and waist circumference in overweight individuals.

Consuming a probiotic that contained three or more strains over an 8-week period improved markers of metabolic health, one of them being a slight decrease in weight

In individuals with type 2 diabetes, regular probiotic consumption improved blood sugar levels and resulted in decreased body weight and inflammation that are often seen in patients with metabolic disease.

Interestingly, probiotics did not improve insulin resistance in patients with fatty liver disease but did ameliorate other markers of metabolic health such as reduced body weight, waist circumference and liver enzyme production.

The authors conclude that different strains of probiotics may work synergistically to cause diverse effects on host metabolism such as fat absorption, sugar digestion, inflammation as well as the production of the beneficial metabolites short chain fatty acids.

However, the exact mechanisms behind the action of probiotics remain to be discovered; therefore, more studies are needed.

Nevertheless, this article sheds light on the potential for multistrain probiotics to compliment traditional treatments in patients with a metabolic disease, such as changes in diet and increasing physical activity.


Koutnikova H, Genser B, Monteiro-Sepulveda M, et al. Impact of bacterial probiotics on obesity, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease related variables: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 2019. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017- 017995

12 Mar 2020

by Cristina Sáez

5 Mar 2020

by GMFH Editing Team

28 Feb 2020

by GMFH Editing Team


Probiotics Affect Metabolism, Says Study. Find Out How

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

Recent research has shown that (un many other supplements making fantastic metabolic claims) probiotics affect metabolism function.  In fact, some researchers now suspect that probiotics may actually be among your most effective options for manipulating your metabolism!

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics describe a number of unique foods and supplements that are full to the brim with living microorganisms.  Now you probably wondering why in the world you would want to deliberately consume living microorganisms.

There is one great reason!  Something called your “microbiota”.

Your microbiota is the unique combination of bacteria, fungi, and viruses found within your body.

For a long time, scientists thought that these microorganisms were merely hanging out on humans.  But this stance has since been reconsidered.  

In fact, recent research has shown that the state of your microbiota can significantly impact your body in a myriad of different ways, including regulating digestive health, influencing immune system function, changing cognitive health, and evenhelp determine your body weight.

New evidence suggests that the health of your microbiota influences the health of your metabolism, as well.  Healthy gut bacteria may be able to protect you from conditions :

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes

Read: What are Probiotics? Benefits, Dangers, and Sources

How Do Probiotics Affect Metabolism?

Probiotics improve metabolic health by boosting the health of your microbiota.

See, probiotics enrich the number of healthy microorganisms within your digestive system, helping correct any imbalances that are keeping your microbiota from protecting your metabolism the way it’s supposed to. 

Once restored to a healthy balance, your gut microbiota can do their jobs normally and reduce your risk of metabolic disease by:

The combination of these three key mechanisms (which are explored in greater detail below), can have an extremely positive impact on your metabolic health and function.  

Let’s look at how a healthy gut microbiota leads to these metabolic boosting effects!

How Do Probiotics Reduce Inflammation Within the Gut?

Each and every day we consume both food and, unintentionally, the microorganisms that they contain.  

While both of these are completely unavoidable parts of life, they can sometimes have some seriously negative consequences for your digestive health that result in gut inflammation.

Large food molecules that are hard to break down can sometimes build up in your gut.  This can happen if, for example, you consume them in large amounts or if your digestion is poor.  

At high concentrations, these molecules physically damage the walls of your digestive tract.  This damage triggers inflammation.  

Consuming microorganisms is similarly risky for developing gut inflammation.  

Most of the time, there is no effect, but if you consume harmful, infectious bacteria, they can sometimes set up camp in your gut.  This triggers an inflammatory response as your immune system tries to kill them and get them your body.

Now, although short-term inflammatory responses are a good thing (they heal your gut or get rid of your infection), if it lasts too long, gut-inflammation can lead to dysfunction throughout your entire immune system, and this really messes with your metabolism.

See, some small percentage of the inflammatory chemicals your immune system releases into your gut wall sneak into your bloodstream.  

Over time, this can activate immune cells in other parts of the body, causing them to start releasing inflammatory chemicals into your bloodstream, as well.

TNF-alpha and Your Immune System

One of these key inflammatory chemicals, known as TNF-alpha, is seriously damaging to your metabolic health. 

TNF-alpha has been shown to break down fat cells in your body.  Since fat cells are responsible for storing fat and sugar, losing them leaves fats and sugars in your blood.

Having too much fat and sugar in your blood makes it difficult for other cells of your body to respond to the energy storage hormone, insulin.  Since insulin’s primary job is to shuttle glucose from blood into tissues, insulin resistance can drive blood sugars even higher. 

This, of course, creates the beginnings of an unfortunate, vicious cycle, where insulin resistance drives up blood sugar, causing greater insulin resistance, leading, ultimately, to serious decreases in your metabolic health.

In addition to this indirect mechanism of triggering insulin resistance, TNF-alpha also directly promotes insulin resistance throughout your body.  TNF-alpha can actually physically attach itself to the insulin receptors found on many of your body’s cells, blocking insulin’s ability to bind at all.  

Luckily, you can nip this whole process in the bud by taking a probiotic.  See, the microorganisms found within probiotics literally digest complex food molecules for you.  This keeps levels of complex molecules in your gut low, so they cannot damage your gut wall.  

They also protect your gut from infections by harmful bacteria, ensuring your immune system doesn’t have to mount an inflammatory response to fight the infection.  

By preventing inflammation from starting in your gut, probiotics make sure that no inflammatory chemicals get into your bloodstream.

How Do Probiotics Reduce Whole Body Inflammation?

In addition to preventing whole-body inflammation, probiotics can directly reduce inflammation after it’s started.

This effect stems from good gut bacteria’s capacity to ferment and breakdown normally indigestible carbohydrate molecules known as “fibers”.  This process creates specific byproducts known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Similarly to inflammatory chemicals or nutrients, SCFAs made in your gut are absorbed into the bloodstream.  Once there, they interact with immune cells in your blood (or anywhere your blood takes them) and tells these cells to stop making new inflammatory chemicals, TNF-alpha.  Less TNF-alpha, of course, helps protect your metabolism from insulin resistance.

By boosting the numbers of SCFA-producing bacteria in your gut, probiotic supplements can raise SCFA levels in your blood. This helps keep your TNF-alpha levels low and your metabolism humming away.

How Do Probiotics Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels?

Research suggests that, in addition to the reductions in metabolically-damaging inflammation, the consumption of probiotics can cause also cause a direct, rapid decline in the levels of cholesterol, particularly “bad” cholesterol (LDL), in the blood.  Researchers think there are two ways probiotics are able to do this.

First, good bacteria found within the digestive system appear to be able to reduce the absorption of unwanted cholesterol molecules from your food, limiting their ability to end up in your blood.

Second, the SCFAs produced by a healthy microbiota may reduce how much bad cholesterol your liver releases into your blood.  They also increase your cells’ ability to use “bad” cholesterol for energy, so they draw more of it your blood, driving levels down further.

Why is lowering the “bad” cholesterol in your blood good for your metabolism?

Well, LDL is considered “bad” blood cholesterol because it carries cholesterol around the body and away from the liver.  This greatly increases its lihood of becoming stuck to the walls of your arteries (a disease known as atherosclerosis),

Atherosclerosis greatly increases the stress placed on the body’s cardiovascular system, significantly increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

By reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, probiotics can help protect you from these dangerous metabolic conditions.

Best Probiotics for Metabolism

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.  Click here for details.

Liking the idea of adding a probiotic to your routine to help improve your metabolic health?  Here are 5 great options that you could consider!

Each of these probiotic supplements includes key bacterial strains that have been specifically shown to improve your metabolic health.

Vitamin Bounty Pro 50 Probiotic

This excellent probiotic supplement by Vitamin Bounty contains 13 strains of bacteria, many of which are serious metabolic powerhouses.  These include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Of the massive 1,679 people who have reviewed this product on Amazon, an absurd 96% rated it 4 or 5 stars.  The vast majority reported seeing improvements in health, well-being, immune system function and digestive comfort.

NatureMyst Controlled Release Probiotic

This popular probiotic by NatureMyst contains the key bacterial strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum, all of which have shown strong associations with improved metabolic health.

This product has been extremely well-received by consumers, with 93% of people giving it 4 or more stars on Amazon.  The vast majority of these individuals report huge improvements in health and digestive function when they took the product regularly.

Health Labs Advanced Extra Strength Probiotic

This extra strength probiotic supplement by Health Labs is built around the key metabolic-boosting bacterial strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium breve.

With 89% of Amazon customers giving it 4 or 5 stars, you can consider this product top of its class.  Most people who have taken Health Labs Advanced Extra Strength Probiotic reported seeing improvements in general health and well-being, often in as little as a week.

Renew Life Ultimate Extra Care Probiotic

Renew Life specifically designed this product to boost metabolic health.  It contains multiple potent bacterial strains known to boost the metabolism, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Over 80% of the 1,200 people who have reviewed this product on Amazon gave it either 4 or 5 stars.  They nearly all cited almost immediate improvement in digestive health as the product’s best effect.

Pure Encapsulation Probiotic 50B

Rounding out our list is the Probiotic 50B by Pure Encapsulation.  It includes 5 bacterial strains proven to boost metabolic health: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium lactis.

A huge 82% of consumers who reviewed this product on Amazon gave it 4 or more stars.  Many of them swore it provided them with remarkable improvements in digestive health, immune function, and overall health and well-being.

Take Home Message

It’s hard to believe that supplementing your diet with microorganisms can improve health – but that’s exactly what it does.  Probiotics are a unique supplement that can improve your digestive and metabolic health, greatly reducing your risk of disease.

By reducing both digestive and systemic inflammation, improving insulin resistance, and lowering blood cholesterol levels, probiotics can seriously improve your metabolic health, making them an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle.


Probiotic supplements may enhance weight loss in obese children

Can Probiotics Improve Weight, Blood Sugar & Metabolic Health?

by European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology

Probiotic supplements may enhance weight loss and improve the metabolic health of obese children folowing a diet and exercise plan, according to research presented today at the 58th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting. The findings of this small trial suggest that probiotic supplements may help obese children lose body weight and also reduce their risk of future metabolic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Obesity in childhood and adolescence represents a major, growing, health problem worldwide, which can lead to the development of expensive, serious and debilitating complications, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to have health benefits through improving or restoring the diversity of our gut bacteria, also known as the microbiome.

Although some studies have reported benefits of probiotic consumption for health and weight loss in adults, its effectiveness has not been fully investigated in obese children.

In this study, Professor Rui-Min Chen and colleagues at Fuzhou Children's Hospital of Fujian, China, conducted a randomised, double-blind trial of probiotic effects on the health of obese children, aged 6-14 years old. All 54 study participants were following a reduced-calorie diet combined with an exercise regime.

Their body weight and markers of metabolic health (blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, insulin levels and inflammatory markers) were measured before and at the end of the 12 week study.

Children treated with probiotic supplements lost significantly more weight and had lower levels of markers that indicate poor metabolic health.

Prof Chen states, “Our findings suggest that probiotic supplementation may help with weight loss and improve metabolic health in obese children, and that this may be an effective strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity in the future.”

Although Prof Chen, cautions, “More work is needed to confirm these findings, our number of participants was small and limited to the Fuijan area. Other studies have also reported no benefits from probiotic treatment in obese children but these were much shorter in duration. So, further investigation is needed before any medical recommendations can be made.”

The team now plan to conduct larger trials examining the effect of probiotics on the metabolic health of obese children, and to extend their investigations to analyse how they alter the gut, with the aim of better understanding the link between gut bacteria and obesity risk.

Prof Chen comments, “Childhood obesity is a growing problem that needs early intervention to prevent long-term health problems; microbiome-based treatments could be a new and more effective strategy for tackling this serious epidemic.

More information: The study “Effect of Probiotics intake on obese children” will be presented by Prof Rui-Min Chen on Friday 20 September (abstract P1-191), at the 58th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting in Vienna, Austria. www.eurospe.

org/meetings/2019/espe2019/programme/ Provided by European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Citation: Probiotic supplements may enhance weight loss in obese children (2019, September 20) retrieved 15 March 2020 from

html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.