Background/objectives: Owing to excess body weight and increased secretion of inflammatory cytokines primarily during the third trimester, pregnancy is associated with elevated insulin resistance. To our knowledge, no report is available indicating the effects of probiotic yoghurt consumption on serum insulin levels in pregnant women. This study was designed to determine the effects of daily consumption of probiotic yoghurt on insulin resistance and serum insulin levels of Iranian pregnant women.
Subjects/methods: In this randomized controlled clinical trial, 70 primigravida pregnant women with singleton pregnancy at their third trimester were participated. We randomly assigned participants to consume 200 g per day of conventional (n=33) or the probiotic group (n=37) for 9 weeks. The probiotic yoghurt was a commercially available product prepared with the starter cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, enriched with probiotic culture of two strains of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5) and bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium animalis BB12) with a total of min 1 × 10⁷ colony-forming units. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and after 9-week intervention to measure fasting plasma glucose and serum insulin levels. Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was used to calculate insulin resistance score.
Results: Although consumption of probiotic yogurt for 9 weeks did not affect serum insulin levels and HOMA-IR score, significant differences were found comparing changes in these variables between probiotic and conventional yogurts (changes from baseline in serum insulin levels: +1.2±1.2 vs +5.0±1.1 μIU/ml, respectively, P=0.02; and in HOMA-IR score: -0.2±0.3 vs 0.7±0.2, respectively, P=0.01).
Conclusions: It is concluded that in contrast to conventional yogurt, daily consumption of probiotic yogurt for 9 weeks maintains serum insulin levels and might help pregnant women prevent developing insulin resistance.