In 2012, 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population) had diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic illness that redefines how those diagnosed live. Diabetics make careful decisions about what and when to eat.

A common myth with diabetes is that those diagnosed have to follow a special diet tailored to their needs. This isn’t true, diabetics, like everyone else need healthy balanced diets. And, as recent studies would suggest, eating probiotics can help those with diabetes manage the disease.

Using probiotics to bring balance back to the micro flora in the intestine may help to treat or even prevent diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Also called juvenile diabetes, type 1 is most commonly associated with children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and some unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease.

Having type 1 diabetes means the pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Those with type 1 have to monitor their daily blood glucose levels and administer insulin throughout the day as needed.

A 2011 study from the University of Florida found regular consumption of probiotics prevented on delayed the onset of type 1 diabetes.

The study claimed supporting your gut flora with probiotics could help fight off autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, but more research would need to confirm the claim. For now, we know that probiotics improves digestive health.

Type 2 Diabetes

Also known as hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes is when the blood glucose rises to higher than normal levels. This is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may not require insulin or oral medication at first, but gets worse over time.

Many people assume that poor diet and being overweight causes type 2 diabetes. But this isn’t true. Yes, diet and weight may be lifestyle factors that increase risks, but a variety of environmental and genetic factors cause diabetes.

Of course with type 2 diabetes it is important to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Research proves one of the ways to manage type 2 diabetes is probiotics.

By using probiotics, those with type 2 diabetes bring back balance to gut bacteria positively shifting blood sugar levels. These more balanced bacteria also reduced inflammation in some patients, and blood pressure.

Eating probiotics may help manage diabetes but it is important to keep a few things in mind before starting probiotics as part of your treatment strategy. Look for probiotics or probiotic foods that have ‘live and active cultures’.  Avoid any product that claims to cure a disease. Speak with your doctor about your personal benefits and risks.

Whether you choose a supplement or a food source for probiotics, there are a number of avenues available to help you make this healthy lifestyle change.