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Probiotics Linked With Lower Cholesterol, Improved Heart Health

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essential for good heart health, but most people don’t think about the bacteria in their guts when they’re considering how to control cholesterol. A recent study may change that, however, as it found that altering the microbiota of your gut by taking certain probiotics may be linked to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

The researchers in this study examined 26 clinical trials and two meta-analyses. They found that the probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 was associated with lowering LDL cholesterol between 8.9% and 11.6% when compared to placebo. Additionally, consumption of this probiotic was linked with lower total cholesterol and improved other risk factors of CHD.

The researchers also found that the probiotic E. faecium was associated with a 5% decrease in LDL cholesterol.

Researchers from Quadrant Nutrition, LLC, conducted the study. It was published in the January 2014 issue of Nutrition Reviews.

While probiotics are most commonly associated with improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including strengthening the immune system and reducing the 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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