20 Apr 2017 --- A new study has shown how a certain probiotic may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes by nearly 70 percent. Researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and the University of Auckland, looked at how a ‘home-grown’ naturally occurring probiotic reduces the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy and lowers fasting blood sugar.
Researchers looked at the probiotic known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, which is produced by Fonterra, and used to make fermented milk products such as yoghurt. It was given in capsule form to 194 women from early pregnancy, while 200 women received a placebo.
Gestational diabetes was then assessed at 24-30 weeks gestation.
“Using the current New Zealand definition for gestational diabetes, 6.5 percent of the women had diabetes in the placebo group, versus 2.1 percent in the probiotic group, said the study leader Professor Julian Crane from the University of Otago, Wellington.
“This is a 68 percent reduction,” he stated.
Crane continued, “We found that the protective effects were stronger amongst older women and were stronger amongst women who had previously had gestational diabetes.”
The results also showed how fasting blood glucose was also significantly lower amongst women taking the probiotic compared to placebo.
“This is an exciting result suggesting that this probiotic may be interacting with the normal gut bacteria in some way to reduce glucose levels in pregnancy,” Crane adds.
This is not the only positive result for the bacteria. The researchers have previously shown that this same probiotic has effects on the immune system and reduces eczema by 50 percent in infancy.
Professor Crane says that the next steps will be to investigate whether this probiotic can reduce the now increasingly common risk of developing diabetes in the population generally.
“We have recently received funding from a partnership fund from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Health and the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge to explore the use of this probiotic combined with a prebiotic to see if we can prevent the progression of pre-diabetes amongst adults at risk.”
Source: Nutrition Horizon