Prebiotic Fibre Supplement Significantly Reduces Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes, UK Study Finds

May 16, 2024


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London, UK, May 16, 2024 - In a study just published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that the consumption of a daily prebiotic fibre supplement helped to improve insulin sensitivity and other important health markers in patients with pre-diabetes. 

Pre-diabetes affects over 7 million people in the UK. The study results point to prebiotic fibre as a promising new treatment for the condition that could significantly reduce the likelihood of progression to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes and its complications currently cost the NHS £14bn per year. 

First research to prove the beneficial impact of a diverse prebiotic blend

66 prediabetic patients took part in the 24-week study, which was run by scientists from myota and CRO Lindus Health, a company that runs radically faster, more reliable clinical trials for life science pioneers. Half the group took 20g of the myota ‘metabolic booster’ prebiotic fibre supplement daily, whilst the other half were given a placebo. 

Within the whole study cohort, results showed significant improvements in HbA1c levels, insulin sensitivity, fasting plasma insulin and C-reactive protein in the treatment group compared with the placebo. 

Notably, these improvements were achieved without significant lifestyle or dietary changes on behalf of the trial participants. 

An innovative trial design

Working closely with Lindus Health, myota designed an innovative clinical trial. Potential participants within a narrow HbA1c range were identified using Lindus Health’s primary care network, screening potential participants using their electronic health records. Data needed to be collected from patients on a daily basis, with adherence and retention crucial, a patient-friendly ePRO design resulted in 83 adherence on daily ePRO surveys. These factors helped to deliver a rapid and robust trial.

An important breakthrough for millions of pre-diabetes patients 

Pre-diabetes increases risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. 

10-15% of pre-diabetics will progress to type 2 diabetes annually, and it’s estimated that the total NHS cost of treating diabetes and its complications is £14 billion a year - almost 10% of the entire annual budget.

Typically, pre-diabetes patients are provided with diet and exercise advice but until now no clinically proven treatments options have been available to them. However, the results of this new study suggests that starting treatment with a low-cost prebiotic fibre supplement early for pre-diabetes patients may result in faster and more sustained health improvements, reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the associated health complications. 

The power of prebiotic fibre 

Previous research has suggested that the consumption of prebiotic fibre can improve metabolic health and reduce inflammation in the body. This is thought to be a result of the fibres being broken down by gut bacteria (the gut microbiome) to produce powerful molecules called short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). 

SCFAs are important for keeping the gut lining healthy, reducing gut inflammation, and influencing the body's immune response. This could be especially beneficial for people with pre-diabetes, as controlling inflammation might help prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

The first clinically effective prebiotic supplement 

The significant variation in the composition of each person’s gut microbiome has historically limited the production of a clinically effective prebiotic fibre supplement. However, following a decade of research into the gut microbiome and fibre fermentation, the myota scientific team developed a natural prebiotic supplement that optimises SCFA production across every microbiome. 

The myota metabolic booster blend, which was used in the study, contains a patented mix of diverse prebiotic fibres, which makes it the first prebiotic supplement to account for microbiome variability. 

The NHS are now using the blend to further investigate the impact of prebiotic fibre on both pre-diabetic patients and those with type 2 diabetes.

Dr Thomas Gurry, co-founder & CEO at myota and co-author of the research paper, comments: 
“Our findings have shown that prebiotic fibre represents a promising and efficacious fast-acting treatment to manage pre-diabetes. However, over 90% of UK adults do not consume the recommended daily quantity of prebiotic fibre. 

“The results of our study suggest that this natural diverse prebiotic fibre supplement could be taken to reverse pre-diabetes and to prevent or slow the onset of type 2 diabetes.

“Providing evidence-backed, low-cost and convenient treatments to pre-diabetics across the UK could significantly reduce the financial and resource pressures faced by the NHS”.

Dr Caitlin Hall, Head of Research at myota and co-author of the research paper, said: 

“Pre-diabetes and diabetes are conditions that reduce both quality of life and lifespans for millions of people.

“While lifestyle factors should be addressed, diet and exercise interventions that target pre-diabetes are currently resource-intensive, challenging to maintain over time, and fail to address significant barriers to behaviour change experienced by those with pre-diabetes. 

“There is therefore a pressing need to develop novel, scalable, cost-effective, and targeted interventions; precision-engineered prebiotic fibre supplementation could improve millions of lives and save millions of pounds for healthcare providers.”

Dr Luke Twelves, Medical Director at Lindus Health and co-author of the research paper, said: 

“Repeated studies have shown with existing interventions typically between 5% and 10% of pre-diabetics will progress to diabetes each year. This brings with it significant health and wellbeing consequences for patients, as well as having negative impacts on health economic costs.

“Clinicians currently have limited options to treat pre-diabetes, and treatment is focussed on lifestyle interventions which have variable impact. This research is therefore exciting in that it points to a simple, cost-effective treatment that could work alongside existing interventions and could significantly change the course of the disease.  

“The potential to slow or prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes would obviously have a significant benefit for the individual patient but would also bring substantial benefits across the wider health service, by reducing the pressure on health services”.

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