Probiotic L. reuteri May Increase Insulin Secretion


Results of a new study could have implications for people suffering from glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes.

Photo © Marchal

Photo © Marchal

New research out of Germany suggests probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri may modulate insulin metabolism in the gut. The finding, published in Diabetes Care, has potential implications for people suffering from glucose intolerance or type 2 diabetes, say researchers.

Nutraceutix (Redmond, WA) provided the L. reuteri strain used in the study (ATCC strain SD-5865), which came in tablets made with Nutraceuticx’s patented BIO-tract delivery technology. The BIO-tract technology is meant to protect the probiotics from damaging stomach acid on their way to the intestinal tract, according to a press release.

Researchers found that glucose tolerant people who consumed 1010 L. reuteri twice daily showed an increase in insulin secretion, possibly due to an augmented release of incretins-metabolic hormones such as glucagon-like peptides (GLP)-1 and -2.


Study Design

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study followed 21 glucose tolerant people aged 40-65 for a period of 4 weeks. Eleven of the participants were of lean build while 10 were obese, but all participants ingested either 1010 L. reuteri or a placebo twice daily. Anthropometric measurements, oral glucose tolerance tests, clamp studies, liver and muscle fat measurements, and collection of fecal samples were conducted at the beginning and end of the 4-week experimental period.

Researchers found that the probiotic group experienced an increased glucose-stimulated GLP-1 and GLP-2 release by 76% and 43%, respectively, compared to the placebo group. The experimental group also showed an average 49% higher insulin and 55% higher C-peptide secretion than the placebo group.

Researchers had also hypothesized that L. reuteri might increase insulin sensitivity by changing cytokine release, but the study results showed no change to peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity, circulating cytokines, body mass, or ectopic fat content.

The finding that L. reuteri may increase insulin secretion after oral ingestion suggests this probiotic strain may serve as “a novel therapeutic approach to improve glucose-dependent insulin release,” say the researchers.


Read more:

Probiotics: 2015 Ingredients to Watch for Food, Beverage, Supplements

Global Probiotic Trend Update

8 New Functional Food Innovations


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Simon MC et al., “Intake of Lactobacillus reuteri improves incretin and insulin secretion in glucose tolerant humans: a proof of concept.” Diabetes Care. Published online June 17, 2015.

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