Tempeh for diabetes? Three-month supplementation shows reduction in glycated haemoglobin – study

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is a well-known food in Indonesia. ©Getty Images
Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is a well-known food in Indonesia. ©Getty Images

Related tags Diabetes Soybean Taiwan

The supplementation of tempeh for three months has shown to reduce glycated haemoglobin levels, as well as triglyceride levels in diabetic patients, according to a three-month trial.

Tempeh is a well-known Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans.

Existing studies​ showed that fermented soybean products could help to prevent or slow down the progression of types II diabetes.

A study published this year​ in the European Journal of Nutrition ​also showed that women taking natto – a fermented soybean – and miso soup before and during early pregnancy were associated with a lower risk of gestational diabetes mellitus. 

This study on tempeh supplementation was an open-label trial by researchers from Taiwan’s National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. Thirty-five patients with type II diabetes completed the trial.

These patients have an average glycated haemoglobin level of 6.99 ± 0.14 per cent and a high fasting blood sugar level at 140.09 ± 4.18 mg/dL.

The normal glycated haemoglobin level is below six per cent, while the normal fasting blood sugar level is 99mg/dL and below.

During the trial, all participants took four capsules containing 500mg of tempeh powder each for three months.

The tempeh was made by fermenting the soybeans with the fungi Rhizopus oligosporus for 48 hours.


Writing in Data in Brief, ​the researchers observed that the level of glycated haemoglobin – where glucose and blood haemoglobin are joined together – have decreased in the participants.

After the intervention, glycated haemoglobin level had dropped significantly from 6.99 ± 0.14 per cent to 6.79 ± 0.14 per cent, with a p-value of 0.038.

Triglycerides level also decreased significantly from 152.26 ± 10.77 mg/dL to 131.29 ± 9.08 mg/dL, with a p-value of 0.039.

However, no significant change was seen in the level of fasting blood sugar, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, and glutamate pyruvate transaminase.

“The data presented new information about the use of dietary supplementation in type II diabetes patients. The reported data has the potential to guide future studies evaluating therapies of tempeh in diabetes.

“These data are useful to clinicians and academia for further research,” ​the researchers said.


Based on a regression analysis of the results, the researchers found some correlations between different serum lipids. 

For instance, a lower level of triglycerides in the blood was linked to a higher level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – also known as the “good” cholesterol.

On the other hand, a higher total cholesterol concentration was linked to a higher level of low- density lipoprotein (LDL) – known as the “bad” cholesterol.


Source: Data In Brief

Data on effect of Tempeh Fermentation on patients with type II diabetes

 doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2021.107310

Authors: Mei-Li Wu et al

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