Benefits Of Probiotics And Prebiotics For Weight Loss And Type 2 Diabetes

It’s only been recently that doctors, including endocrinologists, have realized the starring role gut microbes play in our health. The unique blend of intestinal bacteria that each of us carries is responsible for a variety of systemic functions. For example, it supports the immune system, regulates intestinal hormone secretions, and helps manufacture vitamin K, and some B vitamins.

Research suggests that our gut microbes, or microbiome is also involved in the development of type 2 diabetes. It appears that some microbes entering our system form inflammatory toxins that can affect the liver and fat cells. This may alter a person’s overall metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Each person’s unique blend of gut bacteria is based primarily on four factors:

  • Genetic inheritance
  • Age
  • Our diet
  • Exposure to antibiotics

While we can limit our exposure to antibiotics, it’s through the daily dietary choices that we exercise the most influence over the health of our microbiome. We can, for instance, make an effort to consume an adequate amount of probiotics, and prebiotics:

  • Probiotics are the live microbes that dwell inside our gastrointestinal tract. They aid primarily by keeping our digestive pipes clean. We can replenish these microbes by eating fermented foods that contain live microorganisms, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements.
  • However, the probiotics we consume only give us a small portion of the live microbes our gut requires. It’s also necessary to provide our microbiome with the food it needs to thrive and multiply.
  • Prebiotics are un-digestible plant fibers that pass through the small intestine to the large intestine—where our microbes can feed on them. Prebiotics serve as a rich fertilizer that allows good gut bacteria to flourish and reproduce. All high fiber plant foods, such as leafy greens, berries, and celery are prebiotics, but the most nutrient-rich prebiotic foods are:
    • Bran (e.g., oat, wheat, rice).
    • Asparagus, cabbage, and artichokes.
    • Bananas, and apples.
    • Garlic, onions, and leeks.
    • Beans, and legumes.
    • Root veggies (e.g., sweet potatoes, squash, beets, carrots, parsnips).

    Eating plenty of prebiotic produce not only reduces the inflammation associated with type 2 diabetes, but it also helps the immune system ward off infections, leaves us feeling full and satisfied longer after meals, and facilitates weight loss.

    Prebiotics: Preventing Obesity and Type 2

    The importance of prebiotics for diabetes prevention and weight management was revealed in a study involving 42 children, aged 7 to 12 who were diagnosed as overweight or obese. The children were randomly assigned to either receive a once-daily prebiotic supplement (powdered fiber mixed with water), or a once-daily placebo. No other lifestyle changes were required.

    After four months, those on the fiber supplement showed specific shifts in their gut bacteria, and trial data revealed their annual projected body weight increase would be in the normal range, about 6.6 pounds. The projected annual body weight increase for the placebo group was almost three times greater.

    This study highlights the restorative effects of getting adequate dietary plant fiber and reminds us that eating too many fiber-deficient processed foods puts our children’s, and our own health at risk. Even when kids are picky eaters, and wrinkle their noses at many prebiotic foods, they are still influenced by lifestyle choices the adults around them make each day.

    Sources: Cleveland Clinic, One Green Planet, Prebiotin, Science Daily
    Photo: Pexels

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Treatment of Diabetes Depends on if it Is Type 1 or Type 2

The treatment of Diabetes depends upon which type of Diabetes a person has....

Having elevated blood sugar can damage our body’s nerves over time.

Diabetic neuropathy is the generic term for all...

Modern fitness culture has popularized a wide range of high-intensity activities, from Crossfit and spin-class to marathon running and exercise...

Depression is a mood disorder that causes you to feel sadness and lose interest in activities that you once enjoyed. The symptoms of depression...

There have been numerous studies that have demonstrated the link between gut health and autoimmune diseases, immune system, mental health, mood,...

More Articles

Nerve damage affects about 50 percent of people with diabetes, according to the American Physiological Society. Numbness, tingling and pain in the...

Diabetes has no known cure, but there are many ways to control the disease and prevent the symptoms from interfering with daily life. One major...

There are a host of complications that come along with diabetes of either type. Among them are increased risks for amputation, cardiovascular...

There is no question that people with diabetes need a diabetes diet plans and...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your blood glucose. For instance, a half cup of raspberries...

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that...

Well-controlled diabetes may depend on medication, but nutrition is perhaps the most important factor. There are many foods that can be added to...

Sleep apnea — a condition that causes shallow or obstructive breathing patterns — is an unpleasant disorder that often goes hand in hand with...

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes difficulty breathing, wheezing, cough, and mucus...

Certain dietary supplements may play a beneficial supporting role in the prevention and management of diabetic neuropathy. Frequently...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose levels and blocked AGE glycation...

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat...

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list. The ebb...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...