Can Probiotics Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease?


We know that probiotics are beneficial for gut health and immune support, but what about heart disease? We break down two comprehensive studies that show the benefits of probiotic supplementation on risk factor reduction for cardiovascular disease.

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Can probiotics reduce your risk for heart disease?

We know that probiotics are beneficial for gut health and immune support, but what about heart disease (video link)?

Two comprehensive studies showed that probiotics can improve risk markers for heart disease. Both studies were systematic reviews with meta-analyses. This means that a group of researchers summarized the available clinical trials on this topic, and analyzed the results from all of the studies.

The first systematic review with meta-analysis examined 15 studies that included 788 patients to look at the effect of probiotics on the reduction of lipid components and coexisting risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Researchers searched all randomized controlled trials published in English on PubMed and Scopus from 2000 to 2014.

The results showed that probiotic supplementation is effective at lowering lipid levels and co-existing factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Improvements were seen in total cholesterol, LDL, body mass index, waist circumference, and certain inflammatory markers.

The second study included randomized, controlled clinical trials comparing probiotic supplementation with placebo or no treatment (control). Eleven of 33 randomized clinical trials retrieved were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. No participant had received any cholesterol-lowering agent.

The probiotic interventions used — either fermented milk products or probiotic supplements — produced favorable changes in total cholesterol and LDL. HDL and triglyceride levels did not differ significantly. It was also observed that probiotic intervention greater than 4 weeks was significantly more effective in decreasing total cholesterol and LDL compared to short term intervention, less than 4 weeks.

The results showed that probiotic supplementation could be useful in the primary prevention of hypercholesterolemia and may lead to reductions in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

These two studies are great because they attemp to summarize the available data that we have. It’s much more significant than just looking at the results of one study. There are individual studies that will show either a good or bad outcome. But when you review multiple studies and summarize the data, you get a much more accurate picture.

We’ve also discussed how probiotics have been shown to help regulate homocysteine levels, which are a marker for heart disease.

Why is it that probiotics might help reduce these risk markers for heart disease? We don’t know for sure, but it’s possible that the factors that make probiotics heart-healthy are that probiotics are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to be restorative to the gut, specifically the small intestine.

This is important because the majority of your immune cells are located in your small intestine. Some new research is suggesting that heart disease is due to autoimmunity or an overactive immune system. With probiotics having an anti-inflammatory and restorative impact on the gut, they may help calm the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is all speculative but very possible.

There is one important factor we don’t know from these studies. We don’t know what effect taking probiotics has on your risk of death from cardiovascular disease or your risk of having a cardiovascular event. We simply know it reduces risk markers, but we don’t know about mortality.

You may be wondering what type of probiotic and what dose to take. The great thing about these systematic reviews is that the different studies being reviewed used different strains of probiotics in different doses, and we still saw benefit.

Some probiotic types to consider include:

  • Lactobacillus blends (lactobacillus acidophilus showed beneficial in both studies)
  • Saccharomyces Boulardii
  • Soil-based bacillus

Possibly, taking a low dose of all three of these probiotics could be helpful. In general, probiotics are very safe and effective. Some people might experience bloating with certain probiotics. In that case, try either dosing down or try a different probiotic and see how you do.

Here are a few we recommend:
Therbiotic Complete
Prescript Assist
Primal Defense

If you need help with cardiovascular health, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

The post Can probiotics reduce your risk for heart disease? appeared first on Dr. Michael Ruscio.

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