Ever wonder what those weeks of heavy holiday eating have done to your health? A few extra kilos on the scale are not unexpected. But a prolonged bout of high-calorie, high-fat indulging may also cause insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance results when cells “resist” or shut the door on workhorse insulin which totes the sugar molecules. High blood sugars may ensue and tip a person into a diabetic state.
Can probiotics improve any of this?
Researcher Carl J. Hulston and colleagues from the United Kingdom recently asked that question. Their work appears in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The study facts:
- 17 healthy people: 8 were in the probiotic group with 9 in the control group
- Probiotic group drank a milk drink fermented with Lactobacillus casei Shirota two times every day for 4 weeks.
- A high-fat, high-calorie diet was introduced in the last week only for both groups
- Weight gain: 0.6 kg in control vs. 0.3 in probiotic group
- Fasting plasma glucose concentrations increased for both
- Fasting serum insulin levels maintained in both
- Insulin sensitivity: Decreased by 27% in control; maintained for probiotic group
The authors point out that not all studies have shown improvement. The difference they suggest may be that healthy volunteers were used for the present study as opposed to a population in a clinic which was used for the other 2103 study appearing in the Journal of Dairy Science. It is possible that probiotics may be most useful in prevention of insulin resistance.
The authors conclude: “These results suggest that probiotic supplementation may be useful in the prevention of diet-induced metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.”
More studies with bigger numbers will be needed but it is a promising outcome nevertheless.