A research review, published in the January 2014 issue of Nutrition Reviews, found that four probiotic strains—Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, Enterococcus faecium, and the combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus La5 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12—significantly lowered LDL and total cholesterol. In addition, two synbiotics, L. acidophilus CHO-220 plus inulin and L. acidophilus plus fructo-oligosaccharides, also decreased LDL and total cholesterol.
In two multicenter studies, L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 was found to be the best probiotic performer, lowering LDL cholesterol by 8.9 to 11.6 percent and total cholesterol by 4.8 to 9.1 percent compared to a placebo. The researchers said the L. reuteri strain was comparable to a therapeutic lifestyle change diet in reducing LDL and total cholesterol, and also improved other coronary heart disease risk factors such as inflammatory biomarkers.
Two studies showed that the mixture of L. acidophilus La5 and B. lactis Bb12 may help people with type 2 diabetes manage their LDL and total cholesterol levels, but the researchers cautioned that more clinical evidence is needed.
The synbiotics were found to decrease LDL cholesterol between 5.4 and 9.3 percent, and total cholesterol between 4.4 and 7.8 percent.