A recently published meta-analysis indicates that probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels. If the vessels supplying the heart with blood are obstructed, it can lead to heart attack; blocked vessels supplying the brain can lead to stroke.
Approximately 84 million Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, and one out of three deaths result from it. There are several risk factors, one of them being elevated cholesterol levels.
In this meta-analysis, researchers reviewed 15 studies (for a total of 788 subjects). They determined that probiotics had positive effects on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), body mass index, waist circumference and inflammatory markers.
Researchers also noted significant effects on total cholesterol and LDL when the probiotics were consumed as part of fermented milk or yogurt compared to capsule form, the probiotics were consumed for at least eight weeks and multiple strains were ingested (versus just one strain).
In conclusion, the researchers stated that probiotic supplementation is “effective in lowering the lipid level and coexisting factors associated with cardiovascular disease.”
Sun J and Buys N. Ann Med. 2015 Sep 4:1-11.