Effect of probiotics on glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Medicina (Kaunas). 2016;52(1):28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.medici.2015.11.008. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


Objective: Our aim was to investigate the effects of probiotics on glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.

Materials and methods: Online databases Embase, Web of Science, and PubMed were searched until August 2014 to identify eligible articles. Finally, 7 trials were included.

Results: Probiotic consumption significantly changed fasting plasma glucose (FPG) by -15.92mg/dL (95% confidence interval [CI], -29.75 to -2.09) and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) by -0.54% (95% CI, -0.82 to -0.25) compared with control groups. Subgroup analysis was conducted to trials with non-yogurts control. Meta-analysis of trials with multiple species of probiotics found a significant reduction in FPG (weighted mean difference [WMD]: -35.41mg/dL, 95% CI: -51.98 to -18.89). The duration of intervention for ≥8 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in FPG (WMD: -20.34mg/dL, 95% CI: -35.92 to -4.76). Subgroup analysis of trials with species of probiotics did not result in a significant meta-analysis effect. Furthermore, the duration of intervention <8 weeks did not result in a significant reduction in FPG. The results also showed that probiotic therapy significantly decreased homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and insulin concentration (WMD: -1.08, 95% CI: -1.88 to -0.28; and WMD: -1.35mIU/L, 95% CI: -2.38 to -0.31, respectively).

Conclusions: The present meta-analysis suggests that consuming probiotics may improve glucose metabolism by a modest degree, with a potentially greater effect when the duration of intervention is ≥8 weeks, or multiple species of probiotics are consumed.

Keywords: Diabetes; Glucose; Meta-analysis; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A