Synbiotics may offer blood sugar management potential, protect gut integrity: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Dr_Microbe / Getty Images
© Dr_Microbe / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotics Prebiotics synbiotics Gut microbiome Blood sugar management Diabetes Yogurt

A combination of human-origin probiotics and plant-based prebiotics may help manage blood sugar levels via the Microbiome–Intestine–Pancreas Axis, suggests a study with mice.

Data published in the International Journal of Molecular Science​ indicated that the combination of L. plantarum​ D13-4, L. rhamnosus​ D7-5, L. paracasei​ D3-5, L. plantarum​ D6-2, and L. rhamnosus​ D4-4 plus Sago prebiotic fibers could reduce hyperglycemia in lab mice, compared to a milk-fed control group.

“These results indicate that our novel synbiotic yogurt reduced the progression of T2D [type 2 diabetes mellitus] upon HFD [high fat diet] and STZ [streptozotocin – a compound that damages cells in the pancreas and induces diabetes] administration, while the control yogurt exacerbated it,” ​wrote scientists from Wake Forest Medical Center in North Carolina.

Commercial potential

The study was led by Dr Hariom Yadav, Group Leader, Gut Microbiome and Metabolic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine (Molecular Medicine), and Microbiology & Immunology at Wake Forest Medical Center.

Dr Yadav told NutraIngredients-USA that his group is actively looking to conduct clinical studies with the synbiotic combination. “In fact, that was the whole purpose to make this synbiotic yogurt to deliver our functional formula in food form,”​ he added.

The synbiotic combination and/or their combinations should also work in capsule/sachet format, he said. “They also work efficiently in separate formulations to reduce leaky gut and inflammation,” he noted, citing two studies that show efficacy of the probiotics​ alone and the Sago prebiotics​. 

“We are looking for commercial partners to license these technologies for market platform, while we will also conduct clinical studies in their collaboration to develop evidences and claims for medical food categories,” ​said Dr Yadav. “We have few parties interested and would love to talk with new partners for different sections/ sub channels with exclusive licensing.”

Study details

Dr Yadav and his co-workers studied the impact of the synbiotic yogurt on diet- and streptozotocin-induced T2D in mice.

Lab animals were fed a high-fat diet and divided into three groups: One group received the synbiotic yogurt; one group received boiled 2% milk (control group one); and the third group received a commercially available yogurt (control group two).

After five weeks of intervention, the results showed that, in addition to reducing the development of hyperglycemia (diabetes) in response to high-fat diet feeding and streptozotocin, the synbiotic yogurt was also associated with beneficial modulations of the gut microbiota composition compared to milk. In addition, the control yogurt negatively shifted the gut microbiota by boosting the abundance of detrimental bacteria such as Proteobacteria​ and Enterobacteriaceae​, said the researchers.

Analysis of pancreatic cells indicate that the control yogurt was associated with increases in the number of inflamed islets of Langerhans, mice consuming the synbiotic yogurt had less inflammation.

“The synbiotic yogurt also preserved healthy villus structures in the intestine, compared to the control yogurt,” ​they wrote. “Our findings suggest that the synbiotic yogurt may have protected the villi from damage, which is important for maintaining gut integrity and reducing inflammation.”

“These results suggest that our newly developed synbiotic yogurt protects against diabetes in mice and can be used as a therapeutic to prevent diabetes progression,” ​concluded the researchers.

Source: International Journal of Molecular Science
2021, 22​(4), 1647; doi:
“A Newly Developed Synbiotic Yogurt Prevents Diabetes by Improving the Microbiome–Intestine–Pancreas Axis”
Authors: B. Miller et al.

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