Using Probiotics for Cholesterol Lowering

probiotics for cholesterol loweringHigh cholesterol levels increase heart disease risk. There are dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to lower cholesterol levels.

A growing number of studies indicate probiotics have the potential to improve cholesterol levels.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that promote overall health, especially for the digestive systems. Many probiotic supplements contain the same or very similar bacteria to what is already located within the body but may be out of balance with “bad” bacteria due to various health conditions.

How do probiotics lower cholesterol?

Here are three ways probiotics work to improve cholesterol levels:

  1. Probiotics attach to cholesterol molecules within the intestine and are then excreted with waste.
  2. Probiotics produce short-chain fatty acids that interfere with the livers production of cholesterol.
  3. Probiotics increase bile acid excretion and probiotics decrease the solubility of cholesterol. This action reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestine.

Which probiotics are best for lowering cholesterol?

Here are some of the probiotics used in research studies:

acidophilus combined w/ B. lactis Bb12
acidophilus combined w/ L. bifidum
VSL #3 (contains eight strains of bifidobacterial, lactobacilli, and streptococci)

While results vary, all types of probiotics have been linked to some type of cholesterol improvement, whether it be lowered total cholesterol/LDL cholesterol or increased HDL cholesterol.

A meta-analysis review published in 2015, reported average reductions in total cholesterol to be 6.6 to 10.4 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol 7.3 to 8.9 mg/dL in connection to probiotics.

Should you use probiotic supplements?

Specific recommendations in regards to which strain of probiotics such be supplemented or consumed via dietary sources is to be determined.

Discuss probiotics with your doctor to determine if supplementation would be appropriate for you.

You may increase your probiotic intake naturally via probiotic rich foods, such as:

Yogurt (with live-cultures)
Miso soup
Dark Chocolate
Apple cider vinegar
Brine-cured olives
Sourdough bread
Cottage cheese (with live cultures)
Soft, aged cheese

For additional steps you can take to promote lower cholesterol naturally, sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
Health Pro for HealthCentral