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Probiotic May Help Lower Cholesterol, Reduce Inflammation in People with Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other diseases. These risk factors include central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. A recent study suggests that supplements containing the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 may help lower body weight and cholesterol levels in people with metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study included 51 people with metabolic syndrome who were given milk with 27.2 billion colony-forming units per 80 mL serving of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 or a placebo daily for 45 days.

At the conclusion of the study, the probiotic milk group had reductions in body mass of 1.3 kg/m2 but the placebo group had no changes. The researchers also noted a 7.2% and 13.6% reduction in total and LDL cholesterol, respectively, when compared with baseline in the probiotic milk group. In comparison, the placebo group had increases in total cholesterol levels and no change in LDL levels.

The probiotic milk group also had significant reductions in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), two markers of inflammation.

Researchers from the University of North Parana-Unopar and the University of Londrina in Brazil conducted the study. It was published in the June 2016 issue of Nutrition.

Probiotics are most commonly known for improving digestion and gut health, but they have also been linked to other health benefits including weight loss, a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease. Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 is a specific strain of probiotic that previous studies have linked with improved digestive health.

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