Microbes Target the Sweet Spot

As obesity and diabetes numbers soar across the globe, public health departments are looking for answers beyond the “fast food, slow lifestyle” cause.
Microbes may be part of the problem. In chronic diseases, a dysbiosis—imbalance of the gut microbial ecosystem—often exists. Whereas the disease itself may lead to a microbial mess, it is also believed that the opposite may be true: dysbiosis may be a cause of diabetes and obesity.
Finnish researchers Mikael Knip and Heli Siljander at Helsinki University Hospital looked at the evidence. Their work appears as Effects of Probiotics on Glycemic Control and Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled Study.

Type 1 diabetes:

Prediabetic children have decreased microbial diversity as well as reduced community stability when matched with children not showing antibodies or biomarkers of the disease.
Antibody-positive children showed:
• More Bacteroidetes
• Fewer butyrate-producing bacteria


• Alterations in gut microbes
• Efficient in harvesting energy
• More Firmicutes
• Decreased Bacteroidetes
• Reduced butyrate-producing bacteria

Type 2 Diabetes:
• Decreased diversity
• Reduced butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut
• Change in inflammatory activity
• Change in insulin resistance

The question: what to do with this information to benefit health.
Diet itself can have a profound impact. High fiber foods or indigestible carbohydrates called prebiotics may reset the microbiome.

Use of probiotics can alter the system and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes. This is ironic because in Finland where supplementation with probiotics is high, the incidence of Type 1 diabetes is the world’s highest.
Reseeding the entire gut with fecal transplants works well with infestation by toxins such as Clostridium difficile and may eventually be effective in diabetics. Initial research shows improved insulin sensitivity. One 2015 study from Brazil showed reduced hemoglobin A1C (average blood sugar over 2-3 months) when a group of Type 2 diabetics were given milk fermented with strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. Inflammatory markers also decreased
Take-away message?
Eat lots of fermented foods: yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and the like. Increase those foods needed to feed them. Prebiotics are available in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Take a supplement.

We need all the help we can get.