Can diabetics take probiotics?

There is no evidence to suggest that diabetics should not take probiotics - although research into this subject area is limited, there is nothing that indicates probiotics are unsafe for those with diabetes.

There is no evidence to suggest that diabetics should not take probiotics.

Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that compromises the body's production of insulin. Type one diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) usually occurs in younger individuals and makes up less than 15% of all cases of diabetes. Type two diabetes (insulin-resistant diabetes) is much more common and tends to affect people over the age of 30.

If you, or one of your clients, are diabetic and you are ever in any doubt as to whether any natural food supplement is suitable, we must always advise consulting with their medical team. The health of those with diabetes varies, and the condition often accompanies other, more serious health issues.

However, to date, there has not been any indication that people with diabetes should avoid taking probiotics. Research into probiotics and their effects on patients with diabetes remains relatively sparse, and in particular there is very little research into use of probiotics in those with Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, but so far no results have indicated that probiotics should not be taken by those with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics do need to be aware of any naturally occurring or added sugars which may be present in some probiotic supplements, for example, in some probiotics which also contain prebiotics (known as synbiotics). Learn more about synbiotics by reading: What are synbiotics? on the Probiotics Learning Lab. Prebiotics such as Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are not of significant calorific value and are non-digestible, so do not influence blood sugar levels and therefore would not need to be considered by diabetics. However, in supplements containing larger amounts of prebiotics, fructose is sometimes added to ensure an even distribution of bacteria and prebiotic fibres, and to help the supplement dissolve when added to liquids. Fructose is a sugar, therefore diabetics may need to factor this into their daily intake of carbohydrate, especially if taking multiple supplements each day.

You can read more about diabetes and probiotics here:

Two new studies back probiotics for diabetes

Can synbiotics improve symptoms of gestational diabetes?