Glucose- and glycaemic factor-lowering effects of probiotics on diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials

Br J Nutr. 2016 Apr 14;115(7):1167-77. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516000076. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


This meta-analysis examined the effect of probiotics on glucose and glycaemic factors in diabetes and its associated risk factors. All randomised-controlled trials published in English in multiple databases from January 2000 to June 2015 were systematically searched. Only studies that addressed glucose- and glycaemic-related factors as outcome variables were included. The main outcomes of interest in trials were mean changes in glucose, HbA1c, insulin and homoeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale to assess the quality of studies, a total of eleven studies with 614 subjects were included. The pooled mean difference and effect size with a 95% CI were extracted using a random-effect model. It was found that there are statistically significant pooled mean differences between the probiotics and the placebo-controlled groups on the reduction of glucose (-0·52 mmol/l, 95% CI -0·92, -0·11 mmol/l; P=0·01) and HbA1c (-0·32%, 95% CI -0·57, -0·07%; P=0·01). There was no statistically significant pooled mean difference between the probiotics and the placebo-controlled groups on the reduction of insulin (-0·48 µIU/ml, 95% CI -1·34, 0·38 µIU/ml; P=0·27) and HOMA-IR (pooled effect of -0·44, 95% CI -1·57, 0·70; P=0·45). Meta-regression analysis identified that probiotics had significant effects on reduction of glucose, HbA1c, insulin and HOMA-IR in participants with diabetes, but not in participants with other risk factors. The present meta-analysis suggested that probiotics may be used as an important dietary supplement in reducing the glucose metabolic factors associated with diabetes.

Keywords: Glucose; Glycaemic factors; HOMA-IR homoeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fasting
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Placebos
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Placebos