Supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum reduces cholesterol in individuals with elevated cholesterol levels, researchers reported in a study published in March 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 73.5 million adults in the U.S., approximately 31.7%, have elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Researchers randomly assigned 70 subjects with hypercholesterolemia to receive a placebo or a probiotic supplement of L. acidophilus plus B. bifidum three times daily for six weeks. The investigators measured total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels at the beginning of the study and again after the supplementation period. In the beginning of the study there was no difference between the two groups.

The probiotic group had significantly lower total cholesterol, decreasing from an average of 237.2 to 212.7 mg/dL. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol significantly decreased in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group. Additionally, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol increased in the placebo group compared to the beginning of the study. There were no reductions in fasting triglyceride or blood sugar levels.

The study authors concluded, “A combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum decreased serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic patients over a six week period. There was no effect on serum triglyceride or fasting blood glucose levels.”

Reference: Rerksuppaphol S, et al. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9:KC01-4.

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