An abnormal blood lipid profile is one crucial target in the risk-reduction, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death worldwide. Hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, increased low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and reductions in the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) may respond well to medications, exercise and diet. Functional foods enriched with bioactive components such as fish oils, fibers, phytosterols are also effective risk-reduction interventions. Now researchers are looking more closely at a role for probiotics.
- Supplementation with specific probiotic strains significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL-c, and triglycerides and increased HDL-c.
- Most often given strains were belonging to Lactobacillus (11 studies) and Bifidobacterium genera (six studies.) Other strains of probiotics used belonged to Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, and
Enterococcus genera (1study each.) Note that about half of these studies used probiotic combinations of various species and strains.
- The estimated time needed to observe more definite results using probiotics in isolation appears to be 6 weeks.
- Reported dosages varied from 109 to 112 × 109 CFU/day. After 6 weeks, the largest dose demonstrated several beneficial effects and no adverse clinical effects, which may suggest that larger
doses are safe.
- The effects of probiotics show that they are strain-dependent.