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Should Diabetics take Probiotics?

National Diabetes Month: Medical science is starting to discover the incredible health benefits of probiotics.

Each and every one of us in a living ecosystem -- the average human gut is home to more than 5000 species of bacteria, totalling 100 trillion individual organisms. Amazingly, our bodies contain more bacteria that human cells!

Probiotics (literally means “for life”) are living microscopic organisms grant health benefits to the host when present in sufficient amounts. Probiotics are sometimes called “good bacteria” because having them in your body makes you healthy.

What Do Gut Probiotics Do?

Of all the body parts, the large intestine has the most bacteria. These bacteria break down nutrients that the human digestive enzymes cannot, and contribute to good health.

Some benefits of Probiotics

  • Support the immune system
  • Help digest foods like carbohydrates and dairy
  • Help absorb nutrients
  • Produce B vitamins
  • “Crowd out” bad bacteria
  • Prevent fungal, bacterial and viral infections
  • Reduce inflammation
Certain foods, especially unpasteurized fermented ones, contain probiotics and many supplements are available.

Foods that contain Probiotics

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles (fermented, not marinated)
  • Other fermented, raw and unpasteurized foods
For years, various health practitioners have advocaed for probiotics.

The more health-giving good bacteria you have, the less disease-causing bad bacteria you have!

What Happens if there's Not Enough Good Bacteria?

People who eat a lot of sugar and processed foods, or who have taken antibiotics are very likely to have disrupted populations of good bacteria and need to replenish them for good health.

An unhealthy gut bacteria ecosystem is implicated as a factor in with conditions like:

  • Allergies
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin conditions like Eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Frequent infections (due to compromised immune system)
  • Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
  • Obesity

Medical Science Starting to Catch Up

Western medicine has largely remained unaware of probiotics, their benefits and mechanisms of action, but new evidence is starting to scientifically validate what health champions have known for centuries: probiotics are good, and you should take them! Several studies and reviews have linked diabetes, obesity and probiotics. Here is a sampling:

“Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Diabetes.” – Nutrition Journal We have shown in this review that a large body of evidence suggests probiotics reduce the inflammatory response and oxidative stress, as well as [reducing gut leakage]. Such effects increase insulin sensitivity and reduce autoimmune response. Source

“Certain Probiotics Could Help Women Lose Weight” – British Journal of Nutrition A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that weight loss health seems to be available in the form of beneficial bacteria. According to Professor Angelo Tremblay [of Université Laval], who headed the study, use of probiotics may help prevent inflammation-causing molecules from entering the bloodstream, which in turn can help prevent the process that results in type 2 diabetes. Source Source
Probiotic use in infancy and islet autoimmunity in the environmental determinants of diabetes in the young” – TEDDY - The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (ongoing international study in over 7000 children) Infants who are at genetic risk of developing type 1 Diabetes and who were given probiotics before 3 months of age had a 33% reduction in the risk of pancreatic beta-cell islet autoimmunity. Source Source
“Beneficial metabolic effects of a probiotic via butyrate induced GLP-1 secretion” – Journal of Biological Chemistry A daily dose of probiotics may prevent weight gain and insulin resistance in mice, says a new study from scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) with implications for obesity and diabetes. Daily consumption [probiotics] led to an increase in levels of the short chain fatty acid butyrate, which in turn stimulated the release of the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1 and reduced food intake and improved glucose tolerance in lab mice. Source

Should Diabetics Take Probiotics?

Whether you are diabetic or not, taking probiotics is a great idea. Those friendly little critters provide benefits to the entire body and more and more research is showing that they can help you reduce inflammation, restore insulin sensitivity and improve digestion. Most of all, probiotics strengthen the human immune system, which can help prevent and correct autoimmune diseases such as diabetes. If you haven’t already, begin incorporating raw, unpasteurized vegan foods like sauerkraut, and find a high-quality probiotic supplement to take every day.

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