Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Probiotics for Diabetes Management

Mrs. Sheela Paul , Dietitian
Ms. Vimala , Dietitian
M.V.Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram

Diabetes is an incurable but extremely manageable lifestyle disorder. Management of this disorder requires a flexible and active approach that involves drugs, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and complementary therapies.

If blood glucose levels are uncontrolled, it leads to many secondary complications such as kidney failure, blindness, serious skin and foot infections, heart problems, birth defects, stroke, disability, and death.

People with diabetes are also prone to infections and stomach upsets.

Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in research on probiotics.
Research studies published a year ago imply that probiotics may have a role to play in managing diabetes. One study has found that the bacteria that live in the digestive tract are significantly altered in people with diabetes (1).
Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be useful to the host. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host organism". Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics; but certain yeasts may also be used. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures; such as in yogurt, soy yogurt, or as dietary supplements.

Why are probiotics good for health?

* Probiotics improve gut microflora, boost immunity, promote digestion, increase absorption of nutrients, increase production of biotin in the gut, improve synthesis of vitamins and essential fatty acids, and also prevent some bacterial and yeast infections.

* In recent research, probiotics have proved to be important in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. Probiotic supplementation was found to modify gut micro flora favorably, decrease oxidative stress, inflammation, and reduce intestinal problems.

* Lactobacillus acidophilus was given in the form of a supplement to people suffering from Type 2 diabetes which improved their blood sugar control. It was inferred that this improvement was the result of improved insulin sensitivity due to increased probiotic intake.

* Diabetic neuropathy, a secondary complication of diabetes, affects the functioning of the digestive system, because changes in nerve control of the small intestine cause diarrhoea. Probiotics can help control this condition.

* People with diabetes also tend to suffer from gastrointestinal problems like abdominal bloating and constipation, and infections like urinary tract infections, which can be easily prevented or managed by using probiotics.

* Expectant mothers given probiotics on a regular basis throughout pregnancy had reduced chances of developing gestational diabetes.

* Probiotic foods increase the absorption of calcium and prevent allergies. They also help in treating diarrhoea. If a pregnant woman consumes probiotic food for about a month before her delivery, this will help prevent the new born infant from contracting allergies to some extent. Also, if infants who are six months and older are given probiotic food, it helps to build their immunity.

* Probiotics make the gut environment acidic, which is not very good for the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

* There is a natural balance in the micro-organisms present in the stomach and intestines, which sometimes gets destroyed due to strong antibiotics or drugs, illnesses, excessive consumption of alcohol and even stress. Though antibiotics are prescribed for treating illnesses, their frequent intake can also destroy the good bacteria, which in turn can affect digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body. The long-term use of antibiotics can also prevent the replacement of these useful bacteria. Probiotics play an important role in supplementing the good bacteria in the body.

The Indian diet provides probiotics in the form of a variety of fermented foods. Fermented foods such as ‘idli’, ‘dosa’, ‘dhokla’, ‘curd’ and ‘kadhi’ are some of the lactobacillus fermented cereals and legumes that are commonly consumed in India. They are known to possess health benefits because they enhance the nutritional quality of foodgrains. Fermented foods increase the absorption of vital minerals from the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing mineral deficiencies. Bread, ‘appam’, wine and beer are some of the yeast-based fermented foods and beverages.

A normal healthy person can consume a daily dose of probiotic food containing about two million live organisms.

People suffering from long-term illnesses like cancer or diabetes must consult with their doctors before regularly incorporating probiotics in their diet.

Having too much of anything is bad. Sometimes, excessive intake of probiotics might result in indigestion and bloating. This differs from person to person. While buying specially manufactured probiotic food, check the expiry date, because in outdated products, the live organisms will remain ineffective.

Things to Remember while Using Probiotic Therapy

● Probiotics are not a cure for diabetes, they can only help in the management of the health condition.
● Always consult your doctor before introducing any new probiotic product or supplements in the daily diet.
● Monitor blood glucose levels regularly.

1. Larsen, N., F. K. Vogensen, et al. (2010). "Gut microbiota in human adults with type 2 diabetes differs from non-diabetic adults." PLoS One 5(2): e9085.


  1. This is a good blog on health and diet. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The good bacteria inhabiting the colon play an important role when it comes to combating pathogens that enter the body.

    In the absence of these beneficial bacteria, harmful microorganisms will start to grow and multiply. Needless to say, this growth will have a profound negative impact on health. thorough bowtrol review


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