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Heart health through gut health

A new study, "Effect of probiotics on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease: implications for heart-healthy diets," published in the January issue of Nutrition Reviews, examined 26 clinical studies and two meta-analyses to assess the potential of probiotics in reducing LDL-cholesterol.

Of the probiotics examined, L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 (Cardioviva) was found to best meet therapeutic lifestyle change (TLC) dietary requirements by:

  • Significantly reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol, with robustness similar to that of existing TLC dietary options,

  • Improving other coronary heart disease risk factors, such as inflammatory biomarkers, and

  • Having "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and elevated LDL-cholesterol is a major risk factor. Most adults (91 percent) say they care about maintaining a healthy cholesterol level for heart health, but less than half (37 percent) routinely get their cholesterol tested(1).

"People know probiotics for digestive health. They don't associate them with heart health," said Doug DiRienzo, PhD and lead author of the review. "It's time to recognize their potential role as a simple and natural tool in cholesterol management."

Randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multicenter trials have shown that Cardioviva healthy bacteria lowered total and LDL-cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults. In one of these clinical trials involving 127 adults with high cholesterol, those taking a supplement of L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 (Cardioviva) twice a day had LDL levels 11.6 percent lower than those taking a placebo after nine weeks(2).

"It is exciting to think that certain probiotics, such as Cardioviva, may have an impact on heart health through gut health," said Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University and Fellow of the American Heart Association. "I would encourage consumers who are managing their heart health through diet and exercise to ask their health professionals about probiotics that have been proven effective in lowering cholesterol in clinical trials."

Contact: Laura Muma
FoodMinds LLC

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