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.

Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that compromises the body's production of insulin. Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) usually occurs in younger individuals and makes up less than 15% of all cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes (insulin-resistant diabetes) is much more common and tends to affect people over the age of 30.

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). 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