Study: Bacteria-Containing Supplement May Help Prevent Diabetes and Hypertension

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. abundance / əˈbʌn dəns / (n) – the condition of having a huge amount of something

    Food poisoning is caused by an abundance of harmful bacteria in food.

  2. administer / ædˈmɪn ə stər / (v) – to apply or give something, such as a medical treatment, to someone

    The doctor administered some pain killers to lessen the patient’s discomfort.

  3. live / laɪv / (adj) – living or alive

    The drink is beneficial because it contains live good bacteria.

  4. top-notch / ˈtɒpˈnɒtʃ / (adj) – of very good quality

    This hospital is top-notch; it has the most advanced medical technology.

  5. adjustment / əˈdʒʌst mənt / (n) – a change to improve something

    She recovered a lot faster after the doctor made some adjustments to her medication.


Read the text below.

A recent study has found that a certain bacterium can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart illnesses.

The study was led by Professor Patrice Cani of the Catholic University of Louvain [loo-VAN] in Belgium. It aimed to examine the feasibility and safety of taking a bacterium called A. muciniphila [EHY MYOO-suh-nuhFILuh] as a supplement. Previous studies have already attributed the abundance of this bacterium in the human intestines to lower risks of obesity and hypertension.

The study, which is the first to investigate the effects of administering A. muciniphila to humans, involved 32 overweight volunteers. Prior to the trial, the participants were found to be resistant to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

The participants were grouped into three. The first group took a supplement with live bacteria. The second group took a placebo, or a version of the supplement that does not have any effect. The third group took a supplement that had undergone pasteurization, which is the process of heating food to make it safe for consumption for a long time. The participants were instructed to take the supplement for three months and keep their diet and physical activities the same as usual.

Results showed that those who took the pasteurized supplements lost five pounds. Additionally, their body’s response to insulin improved, and their cholesterol level decreased.

The study’s positive results gained praise from some experts. An endocrinologist at the University of Illinois called the research top-notch. She said that its findings on weight loss without diet adjustments are important because many people struggle to find effective ways to reach their ideal weight.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Cani and his team should immediately sell A. muciniphila supplements after their study’s findings? Why or why not? Discuss.
• Who do you think can benefit the most from the supplement? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think supplements are better than natural methods (e.g. maintaining a balanced diet, exercising) in preventing diseases? Why or why not? Explain.
• If you were to develop your own supplement, what would it be and why? Discuss.