Probiotics have long been touted as godsends for men and women experience digestive trouble. A probiotic, if taken regularly, has a demonstrably positive effect on individuals suffering from all types of conditions originating in the gut. Increasing bodies of research are showing, however, that probiotics are not merely for the gluten-intolerant—they can do wonders for people diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Here’s the rundown.
Probiotics, the Gut, and Diabetes
Probiotics are found in many foods, the most common of which is yogurt. Probiotics are good bacteria found in fermented lacto-fermented foods (think yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.), as well as the intestinal tract of the human body. A healthy gut will reveal a proliferation of good bacteria, while an unhealthy gut will present with (among other things) a significant depletion of good bacteria, leading to chronic conditions such as leaky gut.
Why is this important for individuals with diabetes? First, the reintroduction of an abundance of healthy bacteria will drastically reduce inflammation in the body, as the immune system will be bolstered. This means fighting off viruses and bacteria more effectively, and maintaining a stronger, more robust immune response. A powerful immune response is essential in warding off complications of diabetes brought on by illness and inflammation.
How Probiotics Help Diabetes
Probiotics can be introduced via food, a probiotic supplement, or (even better) both. One study found that taking probiotics consistently for 8 or more weeks produced the best results, so don’t be discouraged if, after starting a probiotic regimen, you don’t see immediate results.
Beneficial bacteria assisted individuals with diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and improving the efficacy of one’s metabolism. While probiotics did not demonstrate the ability to alter to positively interact with the pancreas, a more effective breakdown of food resulted in steadier blood sugar readings, less inflammation, and even a reduction in high blood pressure.
A Word of Caution
Be aware that the food you consume matters as well; a probiotic supplement cannot replace the power of a healthy diet, and paying close attention to the content of your food is a must. Probiotics should not take the place of any supplements or medications prescribed by your doctor but should be considered an excellent aid for your existing medication and routines.
Go Forth…and Feed Your Gut
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are complicated and affect each individual in unique ways. Fortunately, findings are consistent: probiotics can help reduce the symptoms of diabetes, as well as providing assistance to your digestive system, resulting in a better breakdown of foods, more evenly-distributed nutrients, and overall better health and wellness.