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Synbiotics May Help Women With Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and causes high blood sugar levels.  A recent study suggests that a synbiotic that is a combination of three probiotics and a prebiotic inulin might improve markers of insulin metabolism and lipid levels in women with gestational diabetes.

Participants in the study included 70 women with gestational diabetes who were given either a supplement that contained 2 billion colony-forming units per gram each of L. acidophilus, L. casei, and B. bifidum plus 800 mg inulin or placebo daily for six weeks.

At the conclusion of the study, the synbiotics group had significant decreases in insulin levels when compared with the placebo. They also had lower insulin resistance, while the placebo group showed increases in insulin resistance. Finally, the supplement group had improvements in insulin sensitivity, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, while the placebo group showed no similar improvements.

Researchers from the Iran University of of Medical Sciences, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, and Kashan University of Medical Sciences — all in Iran — conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 29, 2016, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Synbiotics are a combination of probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.

While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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