Type 2 Diabetes Linked to Gut Bacteria and Lack of Prebiotic Fibers

probiotics and diabetes

Image by A.J. Cann

By Case Adams, Naturopath

Researchers from Rome’s University La Sapienza found that the link between a fiber-rich diet and type 2 diabetes is determined by our gut bacteria and a condition called dysbiosis.

The researchers conducted a 21-day study with type-2 diabetic patients along with four other national research centers – in Italy, China, Ghana and Cuba. These studies showed the macrobiotic diet significantly improved fasting glucose levels, glycemia values and lipid levels.

While the pooled data from the study showed dramatically improved glycemic indices among the four studies, the Italian researchers noticed something else. They found that the macrobiotic diet improved gut bacteria, determined through endotoxin testing, inflammation parameters and glucagon-like peptides.

These factors have been found in other research to consistently be improved through better probiotic colonization in the gut.

This is also consistent with findings from researchers at the Spanish National Research Council, which found metabolic disease and obesity are related to inflammation produced by dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

The macrobiotic diet has been found to improve all of these factors, and researchers now believe those effects are related to the fact that the macrobiotic diet contains a number of prebiotics that feed our intestinal bacteria.

Special macrobiotic diet improves glucose control and lipids

And the research has proven the macrobiotic diet improves type 2 diabetes along with cholesterol-lipids.

In 2009, researchers from Havana’s prestigious Finlay institute followed 16 type-2 diabetic patients for six months before and after giving them a macrobiotic diet prepared by macrobiotic diet experts.

The researchers found that the macrobiotic diet – rich in dietary fiber – significantly improved the lipid and glucose parameters of the patients. Their LDL-cholesterol levels dropped by 23% and their triglyceride levels dropped by 37%. Meanwhile their HDL-cholesterol levels increased by 98%.

Furthermore, all of the patients were able to discontinue their insulin treatment during the six months, and 75% discontinued all diabetes-related treatment (25% remained on glibenclamide only). Their glycemia levels dropped by 64% and their HbA1 levels dropped by 54%.

The special internationally-recognized macrobiotic diet, dubbed the Ma-Pi 2 Diet, is composed of 12% protein, 18% fat and 70% high density, complex plant-based carbohydrates.

It is the complex plant fibers that provided the prebiotic content. The Italian researchers conservatively recognized the link between the anti-diabetes diet with respect to our gut probiotic health from the accumulated research:

“Adding prebiotics to the diet may reduce inflammation, endotoxaemia and cytokine levels as well as improving insulin resistance and glucose tolerance.”

Learn more about prebiotic foods and how to rebuild our gut’s probiotics.


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Porrata-Maury C, Hernández-Triana M, Ruiz-Álvarez V, Díaz-Sánchez ME, Fallucca F, Bin W, Baba-Abubakari B, Pianesi M. Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet and type 2 diabetes mellitus: pooled analysis of short-term intervention studies. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2014 Mar;30(S1):55-66. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2519.

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Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.

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