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Probiotics modestly reduce cholesterol levels in healthy subjects and may have stronger effects in people with hyperlipidaemia.

A meta-analysis of six studies of a probiotic dairy product containing Enterococcus faecium found that the fermented yoghurt product produced a 4% decrease in total cholesterol and a 5% decrease in LDL-cholesterol (Agerholm-Larsen et al 2000).

© 2007 Elsevier Australia

In another study, 32 subjects with serum total cholesterol ranging from 5.7 to 7.25 mg/dl_ were randomly assigned to two treatments: (1) Intake of a low-fat drinking yoghurt prepared with two ordinary yoghurt starters (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus: placebo group); and (2) Intake of a low-fat drinking yoghurt prepared with the two yoghurt starters plus Bifidobacterium longum strain BL1 (problotlc group). After Intake for 4 weeks at 3 ■ 100 mL/day, reduction of serum total cholesterol was observed In approximately half of the problotlc group subjects; a particularly significant decrease In serum total cholesterol was found among subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia (serum total cholesterol > 6.2 mg/dL). The serum lipid concentrations In the placebo group subjects were almost stable during the experimental periods (Xiao et al 2003).

A crossover study of 29 healthy women, aged 19-56 years, found that the long-term dally consumption of 300 g of two different types of yoghurt over a period of 21 weeks Increased the serum concentration of HDL-cholesterol and led to the desired Improvement of the LDLHDL-cholesterol ratio. The normal yoghurt contained 3.5% fat and starter cultures of 5. thermophilus and L. lactis, whereas the problotlc yoghurt was enriched with L. acidophilus 145, B. longum 913 and 1% ollgofructose. The mean serum concentration of total cholesterol and the LDL-cholesterol was not Influenced by the normal yoghurt (P > 0.05). However, both the normal and the problotlc yoghurt Increased the HDL concentration significantly, by 0.3 mmol/L (P= 0.002) and decreased the LDLHDL ratio from 3.24 to 2.48 (P= 0.001) (Klessllng et al 2002).

A recent controlled, randomised double-blind study of 36 heavy smokers found that 400 miyday of a rose hip drink containing L. plantarum 299v (5 ■ 107 colony-forming unlts/mL) led to a reduction In cardiovascular disease risk factors. Significant decreases In SBP, leptln, and fibrinogen (P < 0.001) were recorded In the experimental group. No such changes were observed In the control group. Decreases In F(2)-Isoprostanes (markers of oxidative stress) (37%) and IL-6 (42%) were also noted In the experimental group In comparison with baseline. Monocytes Isolated from subjects treated with L plantarum showed significantly reduced adhesion (P < 0.001) to endothelial cells (Naruszewlcz et al 2002).

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