Diabetes is a metabolic condition. The composition of the gut microbiota is altered in diabetes with reduced levels of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) producers, notably butyrate. Butyrate is associated with a number of beneficial effects including promoting the integrity of the gastrointestinal barrier. Diabetes may lead to an increase in the permeability of the gut barrier, which is thought to contribute to systemic inflammation and worsen the microvascular complications of diabetes. Prebiotics, non-digestible carbohydrates, are fermented by the colonic microbiota leading to the production of a range of metabolites including SCFAs. Thus, prebiotics represent a dietary approach to increase levels of microbially produced SCFAs and improve intestinal permeability in diabetes. Whether prebiotics can lead to a reduction in the risk of developing diabetes complications in individuals with type 2 diabetes needs to be explored.
Matthew Snelson, Cassandra de Pasquale, Elif I. Ekinci, Melinda T. Coughlan, Gut microbiome, prebiotics, intestinal permeability and diabetes complications, Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2021, 101507