Do you always feel hungry, thirsty, weak, constant urination, blurry sight and injuries hardly heals? This may be as a result of the Diabetes Mellitus. Some recommend probiotics for diabetes, and some even say a pill contains probiotic even can cure diabetes. But Could a Probiotic Pill Cure Diabetes?
That’s what exactly we are going to find out in this article together with many other questions you may have about probiotics and diabetes.
Let’s start by defining diabetes mellitus.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus also simply referred to as diabetes, is a disease that is caused by poor production or ineffective use of insulin by the pancreatic islets.
Insulin is a hormone with the basic function of regulating or controlling the level of sugar in the blood.
In the year 2014, 8.5% of adults ranging from 18 years and above were found to be diabetic. This disease has gained so much popularity within the span of a few years. In 2012, 1.6 million people died in the year 2016 due to diabetic complications, 2.2 million persons were recorded to have died as a result of diabetes broadly.
Diabetes is of two main types, they are:-
1. Type 1 diabetes (dependent on insulin)
This type of diabetes occurs as a result of poor production or deficiency in production of insulin. People with Type 1 requires regular insulin intake.
The symptoms include blurry vision, constant weakness, thirst, regular urination, loss of weight and hunger.
2. Type 2 diabetes
This type of diabetes is the most popular type of diabetes. It results from the body not being able to activate the insulin in order to checkmate the blood sugar level.
Type2 diabetes is often triggered by poor physical exercise and too much body weight.
This type of diabetes shares almost the same symptoms with type 1.
It is not usually discovered at earlier stages. In most cases, it might be diagnosed or discovered some years after the early ‘prediabetes’ stage.
Health Risks of Diabetes
At advanced stages of this ailment, there are high possibilities of certain health complications. They include:
Very common with diabetic patients and depression can reduce the patients chance of recovery.
Eye complications (retinopathies)
If you have diabetes for a very long time, there is every possibility that it can affect the blood vessels on the eye (retina), thereby leading to impending blindness.
Damage to the kidney
There are a lot of small vessels that helps in removing waste products from the bloodstream, breakdown in this filter system can lead to kidney disease or kidney failure.
Damage of the foot
Slow recovery or healing of injury is a symptom of diabetes, so when there is slow circulation of blood to the foot areas, it increases the possibilities of developing foot complications. This is also called diabetic neuropathy or nerve pain.
Heart and brain damage
Diabetes fuels the risk of developing heart diseases and also strokes.
Treatment of Diabetes
The treatment of diabetes is not something the patients can handle alone, it involves steady check-ups, effective medications and healthy diet plans by dietitians, doctors and other medical practitioners. (Further noted in our Diabetic Care Plan)
During the treatment of diabetes, the main interest is proper control of the level of sugar in the blood to a range of normality, not dangerously low or high.
The two types of diabetes have their methods of approach when it comes to treatment,
Type 1: involves the maintaining of healthy type 1 diabetes diets, exercise and insulin.
Type 2: involves diabetic medications which are prescribed by the doctor, it can be taken orally or injected.
- Weight loss, physical workouts and type 2 diabetic diets can also go a long way.
- Insulin may also be used in type 2 diabetes treatment, if the other treatment approach fails.
What are Probiotics?
“Essential or healthy bacteria” I guess may don’t sound right to you, but yes, they do exist.
Growing up, bacteria are known and seen as deadly microorganisms which can threaten and cause toxicity to the health of mankind. However, there are bacteria that are not harmful and toxic, and can fuel the healthy living. Probiotics are among those types of bacteria.
Probiotics are living organisms that provide health benefits to the body system, they are in forms of yeast and live bacteria.
Note: The word probiotic was originally formed from the Greek word “pro”, which means ” to promote” and “biotic” which means “life”.
Types of Probiotics
Probiotics are of many types but, there are two main probiotic bacteria that we normally find around like in stores.
They are: Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus.
Yeast is the building block and main constituent of probiotics. The yeast commonly found in probiotics is: Saccharomyces boulardii.
This is a safe and healthy bacteria group which is considered as probiotics. They harbour in the stomach and intestinal part of the body.
They promote digestion and also counter the activities of harmful bacteria.
Recently a species of Bifidobacteria “Bifidobacterium bifidum (B. bifidum)“, drew the attention of the people for its potential health benefits.
Health Benefits of B. bifidum
Few studies on B. bifidum shows that it has promising positive health effects on the treatment of certain health conditions. Some of these health conditions are:
- Treatment of lung infections
- Some diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Treatment of some intestinal infections
- Ulcerative colitis.
These are of many species. They are healthy bacteria that camp in our genital, urinary and digestive system without causing harm to the body.
They are also found in the fermented supplements and foods like yogurt.
Health Benefits of Lactobacillus
- Lowers cholesterol level
- Prevents infections on the airways
- Reduces the risk of diarrhea
- Prevents diabetes during pregnancy
and also lowers blood sugar in adults.
- Reduces constipation symptoms like stomach ache and bloating.
- Treatment of bacteria overgrowth in the vagina.
Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics
Prebiotics sounds more like probiotics, but the two are different entities, ranging from how they are gotten to where they are stored and what they do in the human body.
Tip: Did you know that Chinen salt is healthier option than table salt for diabetics?
Probiotics as most of us know is a good bacteria found in the digestive tracts of the body, which plays a vital role in healthy living.
Meanwhile, prebiotics are natural fibres found in plants. These prebiotics fuels and support the growth of the essential bacteria in the digestive tract, which are the probiotics.
Prebiotics are undigested fibres of many vegetables
and fruits which also have complex carbohydrate content. These undigested fibres are transported through to the digestive tract and then becomes food for the healthy bacteria (probiotics).
Prebiotics are present in some of our regular foods such as bananas, apples, onions, asparagus, garlic and leeks.
In order to be a good beneficiary of those health benefits, you have to consume these natural prebiotic food sources in large quantities, this is where prebiotic supplements come in.
These supplements are dietary extracts which are targeted at getting a particular or combined nutrients from food or synthetic sources in order to enrich the body system.
Prebiotic supplements are enriched ingredients from the prebiotic food sources which are beneficial to the probiotic bacteria in the gut.
During the birth or delivery of a new baby, bacteria like lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, bacteroides and escherichia coli are transferred from the mother of the baby through the birth canal to the baby. The only time or situation whereby these good bacteria are not transmitted is when Cesarean section also known as C-section is involved, these goes to show the reason why some babies born through C-section tend to have allergies and lower immune systems.
Probiotics – What Do They Do?
With the above explanation on probiotics, it will be wise to ask “what do probiotics really do?” Probiotics protect the body in two major forms which are:
The digestive tract harbour bacteria both the good and bad bacteria, the good bacteria which are the probiotics are responsible for maintaining a healthy balance in the digestive tract which aids proper digestion, filtration and elimination of harmful bacteria, waste products, chemicals and toxins.
Probiotics are also used for maintenance of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ache, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori and ulcerative colitis etc.
Support immune system
The other way the body system is been aided by probiotics is the fact that it stabilizes the immune system.
Germs, harmful substances, infections and abnormal changes which causes sickness to the body system are combated by the immune system. When balance is maintained in the body by the probiotics, it boosts the immune system, thereby keeping the body system safe from ailments.
* Researchers also state that probiotics are strong agents in combating and treatment of diabetes and obesity.
Who Should Not Take Probiotics?
Consumption of probiotics is a very good health remedy, but this may sometimes put patients or consumers at risk. This is either due to bad health conditions which may be excited by the probiotics or difference in the consumer’s reaction to probiotics.
People with immune deficiency are feared to be at risk from the consumption of probiotics. Therefore, they shouldn’t take probiotics unless prescribed by the doctor.
Cancer patients are also warned to minimize the intake of probiotics and should consult a doctor if needed.
Children are also advised to take probiotics at a minimal rate.
Can Probiotics Help Your Diabetes?
With the hype and recommendations about probiotics, I wouldn’t be surprised if a diabetic patient asks such question “can probiotics help my diabetes?”
Well, the studies and research on probiotics found out the health benefits and roles probiotics play in the reduction of the blood sugar level, this is good news for diabetics and also people who have intentions to control their blood sugar level.
Various studies have also shown that probiotics have the ability to lower glucose concentration and insulin level in the human body.
Probiotics like L. Casei, lactobacillus and acidophillus play a vital role in the improvement of hyperglycemia and toleration of glucose.
A period of ninety days (90 days) is all it takes for the probiotic diet to take effect on the blood sugar level.
However, remember, it would be advisable that you see a doctor before consumption of probiotics for health advises and guide.
How Probiotics Effect Diabetes
Probiotic effects on diabetes may vary due to several factors ranging from the difference in metabolism and the consumer’s reaction to probiotics substances. This goes to explain that despite the good health benefits of probiotics, sometimes side effects may occur.
The effects of probiotics on the blood sugar level concentration have been studied and reviewed by randomized controlled trials (RCTs). From trials and studies, probiotics were found to have effects in lowering the blood sugar level and reduce the resistance of insulin, though there are counter reviews. However, the majority of the results from the study of probiotics and their effects on the blood sugar level and the body, in general, have been positive.
Since probiotics have been recognized for there health benefits, side effects may still occur as a result of taking probiotic foods or supplements.
Some of these side effects are:-
- Head aches caused by Amines in probiotic foods.
- May also cause increased infection.
This side effects may diminish after a few weeks.
Most times, starters are advised to take probiotics in minimal quantity then increase as time goes on to reduce risks of the side effects.
What is a Probiotic Pill?
A pill is a solid, oval, small and medicinal substance which are swallowed in order to cure or prevent certain health conditions.
In the same manner, a probiotic pill is a medicinal tablet which contains probiotic excipients extracted or made from probiotic food sources or plants.
Could a Probiotic Pill Cure Diabetes?
Well, the first and most important question should be “is there a cure for diabetes?”, and the answer is “No”.
Even with the advancements made on the cure, treatment and maintenance of diabetes, there has not been any official cure for diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes still remain a threat to human existence because no cure has been discovered to effectively combat this ailment.
With the above exposition on diabetes, it is only wise we understand that both the clinical and traditional remedies applied during the treatment of diabetes are basically for maintenance, balance or reduction on the blood sugar level.
Probiotic pills may help in the maintenance of balance or reduction on the blood sugar level but not on a cure.
Probiotics pills help the maintenance of healthy gut, relaxation of the abdominal region, eviction of bad bacteria and germs. These activities performed can only help in the reduction and maintenance of blood sugar during diabetes treatment.
Best Probiotics for Diabetics
Based on human and animal studies on the use of probiotics for Diabetes treatment, two probiotics have been noted and mentioned severally due to their improved role on hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and tolerance of glucose.
The two probiotics are lactobacillus acidophilus and l. casei.
Best Probiotic Food for Diabetes
Fermentation involves the breakdown of food which is done by the metabolic actions of the microorganisms in order to get the desired change in beverages or food. Fermentation is the main property or characteristic of probiotic foods, but this doesn’t mean that all fermented foods are probiotic. For example, wine and beer are fermented, but they are not probiotic.
Probiotic foods contain microorganisms which are regarded as helpful bacteria, they harbour in the human gut and also play a good role in digestion, fighting harmful bacteria and combating certain ailments like diabetes.
Tip: These are the best coffee creamers for people with diabetes.
There are probiotic foods which help in blood sugar level regulation, these probiotic foods are:
This is a rich source of good bacteria, carbohydrates, fat and protein. Sometimes sweeteners or sugar are been added to yogurt, so it is advisable that diabetic patients should watch the addition or intake of sugary substances.
A good yogurt advisable for diabetes shouldn’t contain more than 10 grams of carbohydrates.
Its origin is from the north Caucasus mountain in Eurasia. It is a close liquid relation of yogurt, its creamy, tangy and thick in nature. Also, contains good yeasts and helpful bacteria, it is a good choice for diabetic patients.
Kimchi has a close relation to sauerkraut, its a highly rated meal in northern and southern Korea. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods whose active function in combating high sugar level in the body cannot be overlooked.
It contains a large amount of fibre and also has the lowest calorie and carbohydrate content.
Like other fermented foods, the probiotic properties of kimchi is very important in maintaining balance in the gastrointestinal tract and digestive tract.
The main essential and helpful bacteria strand in kimchi is the lactobacilli.
This is also known as “sour cabbage” which means fermented cabbage.
Sauerkraut is very popular and treasured probiotic food in many parts of the world. Sauerkraut has low carbohydrate and calorie content but rich in fibre, this makes it one of the best probiotic food for diabetes.
This is a soy-rich meal which contains proteins and combined polysaccharides (Genistein) gotten from fermenting soy.
Tempeh helps in the regulation of high blood sugar, thereby preventing diabetes.
People from Japan are very familiar with this probiotic meal gotten from soybeans. A rich miso paste contains about 160 bacteria strands. It has B vitamins, protective antioxidants.
Miso is also low in calories and carbohydrates.
Tip: Vitamin deficiencies can also cause muscle pains and cramps.
In summary, Probiotics are effective natural healthy remedies for combating diabetes.
However, it is very important to talk to a doctor or pharmacist before taking probiotics for effectiveness, suitability and to avoid unhealthy risks.
Diabetes mellitus also called diabetes, is an ailment which causes excessive production of sugar in the bloodstream as a result of abnormalities in the pancreas. Even though there has not been any official or approved cure for diabetes, there are clinical and traditional remedies that can be applied in order to manage this ailment well.