Probiotics improve glucose and lipid metabolism in pregnant women: a meta-analysis

Ann Transl Med. 2019 Mar;7(5):99. doi: 10.21037/atm.2019.01.61.


Background: This study aims to assess the effects of probiotic supplementation on the maternal metabolism and the risk of development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the pregnant women by a meta-analysis of relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods: The medical literature was searched from PubMed, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library since inception to October 2017. Two investigators independently performed the data extraction and quality assessment. The mean differences (MD) or standardized mean differences (SMD) or relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with the random-effects model.

Results: From 648 citations, a total of ten RCTs published in 13 articles with 1,139 participants met the inclusion criteria. The meta-analysis showed that probiotics supplementation effectively reduced the fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels (MD -0.11 mmol/L, P=0.0003), serum insulin levels (MD -2.06 µU/mL, P<0.00001), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (MD -0.38, P<0.00001). The study found a significant effect of probiotics on decreasing the risk of GDM [risk ratio (RR) 0.52, P=0.003) in early pregnancy. Additionally, there were statistically significant reductions in the total cholesterol and triglycerides levels after probiotic interventions (SMD -0.56, P=0.03; SMD -0.66, P=0.04), respectively.

Conclusions: Our study shows that the probiotic use was associated with improved glucose and lipid metabolism in the pregnant women, and might also contribute to the reduced risk of GDM.

Keywords: Pregnancy; gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM); glycometabolism; gut microbiota; lipid profile; probiotics.