- Probiotics, also known as “good” microbes, are found in fermented foods like yogurt as well as some supplements.
- Studies have shown that consuming probiotics for four weeks or longer can help lower your lipid levels.
- Though probiotics have no known side effects and have health benefits like slightly lowering blood pressure, consult your doctor before adding probiotics to your diet.
Probiotics is a familiar term when it comes to some foods like yogurt, kimchi, and other fermented foods that you can find in your grocery store. Some health food stores also sell supplements that contain probiotics. The most common species of microbes in probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, though there are many more.
The term is used to refer to what is sometimes labeled as “good” microbes because of their health benefits. Studies examining the impact of probiotics show these benefits to include lowering blood pressure, improving the immune system, and easing symptoms related to diarrhea and inflammatory bowel diseases.
These studies included a variety of different probiotics- both in regular foods and supplements, as well as taking them in different amounts. These probiotics were taken for a time frame that varied between two weeks and six months.
A notable result was that some people in these studies were able to lower LDL levels between 5% to 35%. The decrease in HDL and triglyceride levels varied from study to study. In some, they weren’t significantly affected, in others, levels of triglycerides lowered by almost 11%.
So far, studies have shown that people with mildly high cholesterol levels at the start of the study had better lipid levels after taking probiotics for more than four weeks. Also, Lactobacillus acidophilus was shown to be a more effective strain.
Though it’s not 100% sure how probiotics lower lipid levels, there are several theories. One is that probiotics cause cholesterol-containing bile to not be absorbed by our intestines. Thus, this additional cholesterol is simply pooped out.
Another theory is that probiotics directly bind to cholesterol in the small intestine, incorporating them into their own cell membranes and converting the cholesterol into other chemicals.
So far though, probiotics have shown promise, but results of studies have varied when it comes to probiotics lowering lipid levels. Though probiotics don’t appear to have any side effects and have a long list of other health benefits, it’s still best to talk to your healthcare provider before adding them to your diet.
Source: Very Well Health