The bacteria known as L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 lowers cholesterol in the blood
Probiotics are live microorganisms (e.g., bacteria) that are either the same as or similar to microorganisms found naturally in the human body and may be beneficial to health. Also referred to as "good bacteria" or "helpful bacteria," probiotics are available to consumers in oral products such as dietary supplements and yogurts, as well as other products such as suppositories and creams according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.View slideshow: Proboitc foods
In a new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, two daily doses of probiotics lower key cholesterol bearing molecules in the blood and lower bad and total cholesterol as well.
In previous studies, a formulation of the bacteria, known as Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, has lowered blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Probiotics have received increasing medical attention on their indicated health benefits including natural resistance to infectious diseases in gastrointestinal tract, improved digestion and reduction in serum cholesterol levels.
Researchers examined whether the same probiotic could lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce blood levels of cholesterol esters, molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids, a combination that accounts for most total blood cholesterol and has been tied to cardiovascular disease risk.
Researchers tracked cholesterol esters bound to saturated fat, which have been linked to dangerous arterial plaque buildup and occur at higher levels in coronary artery disease patients.
The study consisted of 127 adult patients with high cholesterol. Around half of the participants took L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 twice a day, the reminder of patients were given a placebo.
The research revealed the patients who had taken the probiotic had lowered their LDL levels by 11.3% in comparison to the patients who had taken the placebo after a period of nine weeks. The probiotics also had lowered cholesterol esters by 6.3% and cholesterol esters saturated fatty acids by 8.8% in comparison to the placebo patients.
Dr. Mitchell L. Jones, MD, PhD, research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, and lead author of study stated “for the first time, research shows that the probiotic formulation can reduce cholesterol esters "and in particular reduce the cholesterol esters associated with 'bad' saturated fatty acids in the blood," according American Heart Association’s new release.
The study suggests the probiotic broke up bile salts, leading to reduced cholesterol absorption in the gut and less LDL.
In the study the probiotic was administered at 200 mg a day, which is way lower than soluble fiber or other natural products that are used to reduce cholesterol.
"Most dietary cholesterol management products require consumption between 2 to 25 grams a day," comments Dr. Jones.
According to Jones, patients appear to tolerate the probiotic well and the probiotic strain L. reuteri has a long history of safe use.
The World Health Organization has predicted by the year 2030, cardiovascular disease will remain the leading cause of death, affecting approximately 23.6 million people world-wide.
High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors leading to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
For more information on cholesterol visit the American Heart Association online.