We know that changes in gut microbiota consistently go together with obesity and diabetes. But as discussed last week, correlation doesn’t mean causation. So I looked at landmark studies in mice which seem to confirm that altered gut bacteria cause obesity or prevent it if altered in a positive way. What about humans? While human studies aren’t as tidy as those with rodents, there are a surprising number of excellent studies that show probiotics both helping to prevent diabetes in those at risk and reducing blood sugar and inflammation in established diabetics. Gomes and colleagues published last year in Nutrition Journal a thorough review article “Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Diabetes“. They cite a double blind placebo controlled study in which diabetics lowered their fasting glucose and HgA1C after eating one yogurt with Lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 6 weeks. (“Double blind placebo controlled” is the highest level of clinical study.) They go over many other studies which show benefits such as reduced inflammation, oxidative stress and intestinal permeability. “Leaky gut” is slang for intestinal permeability and is getting increasing attention from solid scientific sources especially as the gut microbiome is being so thoroughly studied.
Next time will consider the findings of a Chinese scientist who is getting some intriguing clinical results.