There may be some heart disease risk protection from taking probiotics, say researchers.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to our gut health. Probiotic supplements contain one or more strains of beneficial live bacteria in varying potencies.
Researchers reviewed a multitude of relevant data to find out if there were any positive effects of taking probiotics on blood pressure and cholesterol levels of patients with type 2 diabetes.
Where Did Researchers Search?
In their study abstract, researchers wrote that they looked through PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus, The Cochrane Library, ClinicalTrials.gov, ProQuest Dissertations, and Theses databases until May 2016.
The data they noted of greatest importance was systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Also important to note were biochemical response and adverse effects in patients taking probiotics.
When they could, researchers took data from included studies and pooled in meta-analysis. Pooling results strengthens the power of the statistical analysis.
How Might Probiotics Help People with Type 2 Diabetes?
The researchers found 11 eligible randomized controlled trials involving 641 participants. Pooling data from these trials showed that taking probiotics “significantly” decreased systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes compared with those taking a placebo.
Researchers noted that “The methodological quality varied across trials included in this study.”
They concluded that based on this systematic review of data, probiotics may be helpful to control cholesterol and high blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes.
Study authors also wrote that, “Conducting more trails with large sample size and long follow-up time still is necessary to develop clinical practice guidelines for management of cardiovascular risk factors in patient with type 2 diabetes.”
How Do I Take Probiotics?
You can purchase a probiotic supplement which often comes in capsule to swallow, a powder to dissolve into liquid, or even a gummy to chew. There is a wide range of price points available. You may expect to pay more for higher live bacteria amounts as well as higher quality claims.
You can also buy natural foods that contain fermentation, and thus probiotics. These kinds of foods include yogurt, miso soup, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, kimchi, tempeh, and pickled foods.
Probiotics require prebiotics–nondigestible food ingredients that probiotics need to feed on in your gut. Prebiotics include chicory root (try chicory coffee), artichoke, onions, raw leek, banana, dandelion greens, and raw garlic. Different bars and ice creams nowadays include a prebiotic, too, such as inulin or gum arabic.
Eating some of these healthy prebiotic foods along with naturally probiotic foods would be a safe way to get health benefits of probiotics into your diet.
Probiotics are generally considered safe. The National Institute of Health states that “In people who are generally healthy, probiotics have a good safety record. Side effects, if they occur at all, usually consist only of mild digestive symptoms such as gas.” If you want to take a probiotic supplement you could always ask your healthcare provider for guidance.
Further reading on probiotics:
The Health Benefits of Probiotics for Diabetics
The Gut Microbiome: New Treatments for Diabetes?
How The Microbiome Diet Can Help Type 2 Diabetes
Gut Bacteria: Why This Microbiome May Be Crucial to Diabetes …
Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes: How the Bacteria in Your Gut May Be …
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