In recent years, research into the benefits of healthy gut bacteria has exploded. Scientists across the globe now believe the composition of these microbes is an important factor in understanding disease in humans.

Now, a new study suggests balancing gut microbiota with a probiotic drink could help control insulin resistance. This is a metabolic disorder that’s associated with type 2 diabetes.

For the study, seventeen healthy individuals were split into two groups. Both maintained their regular food intake for the first three weeks of the study. However, one group drank two bottles of a probiotic fermented milk drink each day. The other group, which acted as the control group, did not get the drink.

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In the fourth week, researchers switched both groups to a high-fat and high-energy diet. The test group continued drinking their probiotic formula during this time.

After a week of high-fat overfeeding, insulin sensitivity decreased by about 27 percent in the control group. But the group that drank the probiotic drink was able to maintain insulin action. This, in turn, preserved glycemic control.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Carl Hulston said:

“We are already aware that excessive consumption of high-fat foods, even for a short period, can lead to the development of metabolic diseases such as type II diabetes.

“Therefore the demonstration by this study that a probiotic has the potential to prevent insulin resistance in humans is a significant breakthrough. This warrants further investigation on a larger scale to support our initial findings.”

SOURCE: Loughborough study demonstrates link between gut bacteria, probiotics and insulin sensitivity. News Release. Loughborough University. Feb 2015.

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