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Gut Health: Can Probiotics Lower Cholesterol Levels for a Healthy Heart?

a photo of the word "PROBIOTICS"in front of an image of a woman's hands forming a heart shape in front of her belly amid the ongoing research about the question of whether probiotics lower cholesterol levels or not

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, and by 2030 it can affect approximately 23.6 million people worldwide. The culprit: high levels of bad cholesterol. Accordingly, researchers are continuously exploring ways to manage cholesterol levels. One potential measure gaining traction in recent years is the consumption of probiotics. Findings from several studies reveal that certain Lactobacillus strains can reduce cholesterol tied to heart disease risk. As a result, the global market for probiotics will likely generate up to $65.87 billion in revenue by the end of 2024. If probiotics lower cholesterol levels – as research suggests –  then one of the most important benefits of taking probiotics is how it promotes heart health.

That would indeed be a tough benefit to ignore.

JoAnn E. Manson quoted
There is a direct correlation between gut health and heart health, which means there’s a correlation between probiotics and cholesterol.

Probiotics and Cholesterol: The Relationship

Probiotics are live bacteria naturally generated from the process of fermentation. Lactobacilli are among the most well-known types. Generally, people consume probiotics through supplements or foods like yogurt, and they add to the population of healthy microbes in the gut. Maintaining the balance between good and bad bacteria is also one of the proposed benefits of taking probiotics.

Probiotics lower cholesterol levels in several ways. They normalize cholesterol absorption through a binding process and make bile acids that can metabolize fat and cholesterol. Certain strains can also produce short-chain fatty acids. Such compounds can help prevent the formation of cholesterol in the liver.

a photo with the company names with a translucent background image of a microscope used in the ongoing research about the question whether probiotics lower cholesterol levels or not
A few companies in the space are forging ahead, armed with the knowledge that the benefits of taking probiotics include heart health.

Bold Businesses Forging Ahead in the Probiotics and Cholesterol Segment

A number of companies have armed themselves with the knowledge that probiotics and cholesterol are tied together. And with that knowledge, they have forged ahead.

UAS Laboratories Inc. is one of the pioneers in the space. The biotech company cultivates probiotics with benefits beyond digestive support. In 2014, UAS Labs acquired Micropharma Limited, and the latter’s researchers developed the Lactobacillus reuteri strain. These probiotics lower cholesterol levels by producing bile salt hydrolase, which breaks apart bile acids. Consequently, the process aids the normalization of dietary and biliary cholesterol absorption.

Another company that studies how probiotics lower cholesterol levels is OptiBiotix Health PLC. The life sciences company develops microbial strains, compounds and formulations that modulate the microbiome.

a photo of a rubber heart beside apples and a jar of honey amid the ongoing research about the question of whether probiotics lower cholesterol levels or not
What are the benefits of taking probiotics? And what’s the connection between probiotics and cholesterol?

Other Offerings in the Sphere of Probiotics and Cholesterol 

United Kingdom-based company ProVen Probiotics is also active in the sphere of developing probiotics products designed for usage in one’s pregnancy, infancy, childhood and even adulthood.

Founder and Managing Director Dr. Nigel Plummer has developed the Lab4 bacteria strain that the company uses in its products.

Finally, there is ProTrea. The company’s product ProTrea Cholesterol Health Probiotic contains five scientifically-researched blend of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. It’s designed and developed to support healthy gut bacteria growth and bring about a healthy level of cholesterol in the body.

Recommendations for Future Research and on the Benefits of Taking Probiotics

While there’s a growing number of evidence that probiotics lower cholesterol levels, further research is still a must. It’s necessary to determine and clarify which probiotic strains are the most effective. Advice for the most ideal doses is also imperative. Moreover, researchers must find out which groups would best reap the benefits of taking probiotics. The participants of existing trials predominantly have mildly high levels of LDL cholesterol.

a photo of numerous test tubes with "LDL-C Test" labels on them amid the ongoing research about the question of whether probiotics lower cholesterol levels or not, and the benefits of taking probiotics
There is evidence that probiotics lower cholesterol levels, but further, continuous research on the benefits of taking probiotics and on the connection of probiotics and cholesterol are still a must.

The fact that probiotics lower cholesterol levels is promising.

However, they are still not part of general diet guidelines for cardiovascular health.

“People know probiotics for digestive health. They don’t associate them with heart health. It’s time to recognize their potential role as a simple and natural tool in cholesterol management.” – Douglas B. DiRienzo, PhD, President of Quadrant Nutrition

For more on probiotics for gut health, read this article on probiotics as potential gut health allies. Also, check out this Bold Business interview with Dr. Steven Gundry, a world-renowned expert on the subject of gut health and its importance.

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