Research / Precision medicine and personalised prevention

He Oranga Kai Food4Health

Investigating whether probiotics and prebiotics can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes

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Project Status: Completed Funding: $1,799,289 Timeframe: March 2017 – October 2020


What we investigated

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Take | Issue

Approximately 26% of all New Zealand adults have prediabetes which, if left untreated, may develop into type 2 diabetes and lead to significant health problems.

Research shows that the microbes in our gut affect our health in many ways, including how our bodies process foods and sugars. We can modify our gut microbes by taking supplements of probiotics (which contain live bacteria that give health benefits) and prebiotics (substances from foods which support the gut microbes).

Whāinga | Aim

This study is investigating whether taking a probiotic supplement can improve the levels of glucose and fat in the blood of adults with prediabetes, and ultimately prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Huarahi I Whāia | Approach

Study participants are randomly assigned to receive either a probiotic or a placebo, and one of two different cereals, in a blind randomised placebo-controlled trial.

Cereals are included in the study because of their potential to act as a prebiotic with the potential to boost the effect of the probiotic.

If effective, this project will evaluate the cost effectiveness of the interventions, and how to translate the study findings into practice.


This project was funded by:

The Ministry of Health, Health Research Council of New Zealand, and Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, as part of the Long-Term Conditions Partnership.

View the website for this project

Project Team

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