Medicine/DrugsTreatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Probiotics Combat Insulin Resistance

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Two studies point to a connection between probiotics and blood sugar control.

In the first study, researchers at Cornell University engineered a probiotic pill that promotes insulin production in mice, according to The pill which contained the common stomach bacteria lactobacillus, was found to stimulate insulin production in the intestines. Researchers found that mice given the probiotic for 90 days experienced a 30% drop in blood glucose levels. The treatment proved equally effective with diabetic and non-diabetic mice.

In an unrelated small study, researchers at Loughborough University found that a probiotic drink helped combat insulin resistance. In the study, 17 people with fully functioning pancreases were divided into two groups; one group was instructed to drink two bottles of probiotic milk every day for a month. Aside from this change, both groups maintained their normal diet for three weeks. All study participants were then put on a high-fat diet for a week. The probiotic drinkers maintained good glycemic control and normal insulin production after the high-fat diet, but insulin sensitivity decreased in the control group by 27%.

Early research into probiotics and glycemic control so far seems to be focused on insulin resistance, making it more likely that the research will lead to possible therapies for Type 2 diabetes. However, researchers may someday also be able to develop probiotic treatments to extend the honeymoon period for those newly diagnosed with Type 1, as well.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.

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