Synbiotics Improve Biomarkers in Prediabetes

Guest BloggerMicrobiome Environment

Type 2 diabetes doesn’t start overnight.

Over time measured in months or years, blood sugars creep higher as resistance to insulin swells. Gut microbes may be involved in this scenario—for better or worse– as insulin resistance progresses to full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

Animal studies already support such interplay and clinical studies with humans are coming forth.

A 2018 article in Nutrition Research Reviews journal provided a concise explanation of the intricate mechanisms, as follows:

Synbiotics (prebiotics and probiotics together) may improve insulin sensitivity in these general ways:

  • Changing the gut microbe community
  • Reducing pathogens
  • Shrinking energy harvest

Because microbes are multitaskers in function, explicit mechanisms of anti-diabetic effects can be various and numerous:

  • Reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines
  • Fortifying gut walls (less leaky gut)
  • Decreasing oxidative stress
  • Producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), crucial allies in steadying blood sugars–the SCFA skillset is impressive and this is just in finessing blood sugars: increased insulin, decreased glucagon, decreased appetite, decrease intestinal permeability and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.

One recent double-blind randomized clinical trial looked at the effects of probiotics and synbiotic supplementation on glucose and insulin metabolism in adults with prediabetes.

The researchers in Iran randomly allocated 120 prediabetic adults to receive either probiotics or synbiotic or placebo supplements for 24 weeks.

Anthropometric measurements, food record, physical activity and glycemic biomarkers were monitored at baseline and repeated at 12 and 24 weeks.

Compared with the placebo, synbiotic supplementation showed the following results:


  • glycated hemoglobin HbA1C
  • fasting plasma glucose
  • fasting insulin levels
  • homoeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance


  • quantitative insulin sensitivity check index

Thus, glycemic improvement by probiotics and particularly synbiotic supplements in prediabetic individuals has been supported in this study which appeared in Acta Diabetologica.