Meta-analysis of the effects of probiotic supplementation on glycemia, lipidic profiles, weight loss and C-reactive protein in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome

Minerva Med. 2018 Dec;109(6):479-487. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.18.05728-2. Epub 2018 Sep 24.


Introduction: Several studies have been designed to investigate the beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation on metabolic parameters and inflammation status in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), but results have been inconsistent. Herein, we perform a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effects of probiotic supplementation on glycemia control, lipidic profiles, weight loss and C-reactive protein (CRP) in women with PCOS.

Evidence acquisition: MELINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library were searched for RCTs that investigated the effects of probiotic in women with PCOS. Two investigators independently performed the screening, data extraction, and methodological quality assessment. Data were pooled as mean differences (MDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The statistical heterogeneity was assessed with the I2 test. Sensitivity analyses were performed by the leave-one-out approach.

Evidence synthesis: From the literature search, 26 publications were screened and 6 RCTs involving 406 PCOS participants (aged 25-28.5 years) with follow-up period between 8-12 weeks were included. The pooled results showed that probiotic supplement significantly affected the levels of fasting blood insulin (FBI), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), triglycerides (TG), and very low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (VLDL-C). However, no significant changes were found in other markers, including fasting plasma glucose, homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, body weight, CRP, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels. The pooled result was robust after the sensitivity analysis.

Conclusions: Our finding provides evidence that daily probiotic consumption has beneficial effects on decreasing FBI, TG, and VLDL-C, and increasing the QUICKI score in PCOS patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / therapy*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Weight Loss*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cholesterol