Probiotics improved blood sugar levels in pregnant women, and helped moms lose weight and belly fat after delivery, in two new studies.
In a pregnancy-blood sugar study, doctors wanted to help manage and prevent blood sugar disorders during and after pregnancy. Over 250 healthy women with normal blood sugar levels got nutrition counseling with or without daily doses of the probiotics L. rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. During pregnancy and 12 months after delivery, blood sugar levels improved in both groups, but were lowest in the probiotics/counseling group, which also had lower insulin levels and better insulin sensitivity.
In a related pregnancy-body fat study, over 250 pregnant women got nutritional counseling with or without daily doses of the probiotics L. rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 starting in the first trimester. Six months after delivery, 25 percent of the women in the probiotics/counseling group had central (abdominal) obesity compared to 43 percent of women who did not take probiotics. The probiotics group also had 28 percent body fat versus 29 percent for the non-probiotics group. Based on these two studies, researchers believe that the mother’s diet may influence blood sugar control and weight in children. “Bacteria are passed from mother to child through the birth canal as well as through breast milk and research indicates that early nutrition may influence the risk of obesity later in life,” researchers said. They continued, “There is growing evidence that this approach might open a new angle on the fight against obesity, either through prevention or treatment.”