The American Heart Association has presented a study in which two daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood as well as “bad” and total cholesterol, according to Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.
The findings, revealed at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2012, suggest the probiotic formulation can reduce cholesterol esters, molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids, which have been tied to arterial plaque buildup and increase risk of cardiovascular disease.
Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria in the gut, and common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements.
The study results suggest the probiotic broke up bile salts, leading to reduced cholesterol absorption in the gut and less LDL.
The study involved 127 adult patients with high cholesterol. About half the participants took L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 twice a day, while the rest were given placebo capsules. People taking the probiotic had total cholesterol reduced by 9.1 percent.
The probiotic worked at doses of just 200 milligrams a day, lower than other natural products used to reduce cholesterol.