Probiotics to reduce blood sugar levels and diabetes

Published:  12:27 AM, 14 January 2020

The emerging epidemic in Bangladesh

The emerging epidemic in Bangladesh

Universally, Diabetes is one of the fastest growing and deadliest diseases. Globally, one in every 10 adults has diabetes and whopping 12% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes. Bangladesh has a disproportionately high diabetes population with more than 7.1 million, 8.4% or 10 million according to research published in WHO bulletin in 2013, of the adult population affected by the disease. The number will be 13.6 million in 2040, if not taken care of. In Bangladesh, 51.2%, don't know that they have diabetes and don't receive any treatment.

IDF says around 7 million people are suffering from diabetes & the number expected to rise to 1.3 million by 2030. Bangladesh is home to about 168 million population, according to the Bangladesh Population Clock (up to 06-1-2020). During 90s, the country has a relatively low diabetes affected population. In 1995 it was only 4% which grew to 5% in 2000 and 9% in 2006 to 2010. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the prevalence will be 13% by 2030.

According to a report published in WHO Bulletin in November 2013, there is a quite significant correlation between age and diabetes. Older people were more likely to have diabetes. A greater number of affected population were educated and working and more likely to come from affluent family with 40.7% came from the richest quintile, whereas 12.7% came from the poorest quintile.

The most alarming news is that a growing number of children and young people are developing diabetes which a matter grave concern for any country. Part of the reason is insufficient attention from the different stakeholders during its early days that paved the path for the disease to spread quickly. Despite the growing number of diabetes patients, awareness about the disease and treatment for those who are affected both are not satisfactory.

Half of the affected people don't even know they have diabetes and a very small percentage of them get treated. It is important for us to combat diabetes in Bangladesh. Therefore, we have to follow many ways in order to tackle this deadly health challenge. In Bangladesh, many probiotics food are available. These foods may be a way to reduce blood sugar level which is discussed below.

The trillions of bacteria and yeast found in the intestinal tract are one of the hottest topics in medicine. So it's no surprise that probiotics, and foods or supplements containing live organisms that can help maintain a normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, have also gained more attention to reduce blood sugar levels. The microbes that live in gut may play a surprising role in human blood sugar levels, a small new study from Canada finds. "People who followed a healthy diet and ate yogurt with probiotics lowered their blood sugar levels by 11 percent".

The study involved people who were following the DASH diet (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is one of the most effective non-drug-related methods for improving certain aspects of heart health, including lowering blood pressure), which is recommended for people with high blood pressure.

The people on this diet who also consumed probiotics, which are considered "good" bacteria, had a decrease in several measures of blood sugar levels over a three-month period, according to the findings. People with consistently high blood sugar levels may or may not go on to be diagnosed with diabetes; a diagnosis can depend on the results of several tests.
What is Probiotics?

Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. The term probiotic is currently used to name ingested microorganisms associated with benefits for humans and animals.Prebiotics vs. Probiotics While probiotic-foods contain live bacteria, prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria already living in our digestive system.

We can find prebiotics in foods such as asparagus (now it is grown in Bangladesh), bananas, oatmeal (available in chain stores), honey, maple syrup, and legumes. Consider eating prebiotic foods on their own or with probiotic foods to perhaps give the probiotics a boost.Probiotic foods are as follows:

Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the most familiar sources of probiotics - "good" bacteria that keep a healthy balance in our gut. Studies suggest that probiotics can help ease lactose intolerance. They also may help tame gas, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. We can pay extra for special digestive yogurt brands, but any with "live and active cultures" listed may help.

Soft Cheeses: While they might be good for our digestion, not all probiotics can survive the journey through your stomach and intestines. But research finds that certain strains in some fermented soft cheeses, like Gouda, are hardy enough to make it. Cheese also may act as a carrier for probiotics, which may boost the immune system.

Sour Pickles: When looking to pickles for probiotics, choose naturally fermented kinds, where vinegar wasn't used in the pickling process. A sea salt and water solution feeds the growth of good bacteria and may give sour pickles some digestive benefits.

Miso Soup: A popular breakfast food in Japan (now available in chain stores in Dhaka), this fermented soybean paste can get your digestive system moving. Probiotic-filled miso is often used to make a salty soup that's low in calories and high in B vitamins and protective antioxidants.

Milk with Probiotics: One of the easiest ways to get probiotics into our diet is by adding acidophilus milk. It's milk that's been fermented with bacteria. Sometimes it's labeled sweet acidophilus milk. Buttermilk - usually milk that's cultured with lactic acid bacteria - is also rich in probiotics.

Tempeh: Made from a base of fermented soybeans, this Indonesian patty makes a type of natural antibiotic that fights certain bacteria. Tempeh is also high in protein. People often describe its flavor as smoky, nutty, and similar to a mushroom. We can marinate tempeh and use it in meals in place of meat.

Cinnamon: Some studies suggest sprinkling our food with cinnamon may lower blood sugar in individuals with type II diabetes. Study investigators suggest cinnamon can add flavor without adding salt, carbohydrates, or calories. Moreover, cinnamon may improve the body's ability to use insulin. People with diabetes should discuss use of cinnamon with their health care professional before making any dietary changes.

More about Diabetes: DIABETES is a chronic* disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or alternatively, when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves, blood vessels and the kidney. (*The World Health Organization defines chronic diseases as those having long duration and generally slow progression).

Recent studies indicate that the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer is increasing significantly in Bangladesh. This increase is observed not only in the urban areas but also in the rural population. For instance, high levels of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance and hypertension have been found. Diabetes has also started to be documented in the tribal population in Bangladesh.

ICDDRB assessed younger adults, aged 27-50 years, in rural field site in a sample district in Bangladesh for selected health outcomes, including glucose abnormality, high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities. Significantly, study found that although about 5% of the population was affected by diabetes, less than 2% of the people were aware of it.

This implies that two-thirds of diabetic people in the community are unaware of their condition, and this lack of awareness can often lead to complications and end organ damage such as kidney failure and blindness and also may precipitate cardiovascular disease.

Globally, men and women up to 70 years are equally susceptible to diabetes; however women in Bangladesh seem to have more diabetes and pre-diabetes. The major risk factors for these conditions are obesity and particularly abdominal obesity. In the study area, one in four women have abdominal obesity, signaling them at-risk for pre-diabetes, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Primary prevention is the only method of prevention: being more active and enjoying a healthier diet. Increasing age is a risk factor for diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Progress being made towards achieving child and maternal-mortality related development goals will contribute to further growth of the adult population in Bangladesh. Local health system strengthening needs to take into account the growing adult population and its associated health problems.

As a developing country, can Bangladesh afford to sustain the huge loss of productive life years associated with diabetic complications, such as blindness and renal failure?The prevention of chronic disease requires an approach that involves all levels and sectors of government, and other stakeholders including industry, young people, development agencies and civil society organizations.

Future patterns of health will be fundamentally determined by the way in which society develops-how individuals and communities share opportunities, interact with the natural environment, and design cities, transport systems, food systems, workplaces and housing.

References: Who Bulletin, November 2013, Online publications, ICDDRB, International Diabetes Federation, American Diabetes Association, Live Science, https://populationstat.com/bangladesh/.


Dr. A K M Shameem Alam is Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Extention.
Email: [email protected]

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