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.