Exploratory study shows LGG may help glycemic control in healthy people

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / AndreyPopov
© Getty Images / AndreyPopov

Related tags Probiotics LGG Lactobacillus glycemic control

Supplementation with L. rhamnosus GG may help maintain and control HbA1c levels in healthy middle-aged and older adults, says a new study that is reputed to be the first of its kind.

Data from a 90-day placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial indicated that while HbA1c levels increased in the placebo group, levels remained stable in the group receiving Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus​ GG (known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus​ GG until the recent reclassification of the genus Lactobacillus​).

“These findings raise the possibility that the glucoregulatory benefits of probiotic supplementation in patient samples may extend to healthy individuals and help delay age-related increases in HbA1c,” ​wrote scientists from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Kent State University.

HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) is a marker of long-term presence of excess glucose in the blood.

The researchers added: “… as metabolic dysfunction is associated with aging, chronic illness, and cognitive decline, these findings may have important implications for promoting healthy aging.”

Study details

Led by Kent State’s Victoria Sanborn, the researchers used Culturelle Vegetarian Capsules containing LGG (by iHealth, Inc., which is owned by DSM). The overall trial included 200 hundred middle-age and older adults and was intended to examine the effects of LGG on cognitive and mood benefits.

For the present study, Sanborn and her co-workers analyzed data from 93 participants (51 from the probiotic group and 42 from the placebo group).

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate probiotic supplementation and glycemic control in a healthy sample,” ​they stated.

Results showed that HbA1c levels increased modestly but statistically significantly in the placebo group, from 38.86 mmol/mol to 39.12 mmol/mol. On the other hand, levels remained stable in the LGG group, being 38.45 mmol/mol at the start of the study and 38.12 mmol/mol after 90 days of supplementation.

“Despite these promising findings, additional work in four key areas is needed to clarify the possible benefits of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in healthy individuals,” ​wrote the researchers. “First, confirmation requires larger and more diverse cohorts followed for a much longer duration (i.e., years rather than months). Similarly, studies are needed to clarify benefits in HbA1c values but not FBG; past work suggests these indices can differ due to demographic, psychometric, and physiological factors (e.g., sex, ethnicity, measurement error, impact of glucose excursion, etc.).

“The most beneficial dose and combination of probiotics should also be determined. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is known to improve glycemic control [data from mouse studies] and is well-tolerated, though understanding the relative benefits of other probiotic supplements in isolation and combination is needed.

“Finally, the possible interaction of probiotic supplementation with other methods for treating T2DM (e.g., diet, exercise, metformin) is needed, as they are also known to independently impact the composition of the gut microbiome.”

Source: Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews
Volume 14, Issue 5, Pages 907-909, doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.05.034
“Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and HbA1c in middle age and older adults without type 2 diabetes mellitus: A preliminary randomized study”
Authors. V.E.Sanborn et al.

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