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|Scott Greenberg, NatureCity author & contributor|
Probiotics are well known for improving gastrointestinal and immune health, now it appears heart health can be added to the list. A new study from Jiangnan University in China suggests that probiotics may lower total cholesterol, largely by lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The article was published in Nutrition and Metabolic Cardiovascular Diseases online ahead of print on September 17, 2011.
The study examined data from 13 trials, each of which was testing the efficacy of probiotic supplements, The 485 participants had a wide range of cholesterol levels, ranging from normal to high.
Compared to the placebo or control group, the researchers found that those taking probiotics experienced a 6.4 mg/dl decrease in total cholesterol, on average.
This included a 4.9 mg/dl drop in LDL cholesterol and a 3.95 mg/dl decrease in triglycerides, on average.
It is also noteworthy that the average “good” or HDL cholesterol level remained virtually unchanged, declining just 0.1 mg/dl.
From this data, the researchers concluded a diet rich in probiotics can decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in people with normal, borderline high or high cholesterol.
Probiotics have been linked with other health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.
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