Probiotics may help shield moms-to-be from gestational diabetes, according to recent research. In a study of 256 pregnant women, scientists found that those given probiotic supplements and assigned to nutrition counseling were less likely to develop the disease (compared to those who received nutrition counseling only or no treatment at all).
A condition known to cause serious complications (such as increased risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy), gestational diabetes may be more common among women with high levels of inflammation. Although it’s not known how probiotics might help fight gestational diabetes, the study’s authors suggest that the supplements’ anti-inflammatory effects may play a significant role.
Often referred to as “beneficial bacteria,” probiotics are live microbial organisms naturally present in the body and found in certain foods (such as yogurt). When taken in supplement form, probiotics may also help relieve certain gastrointestinal troubles (including diarrhea and side effects associated with the use of antibiotics).