Scientists from Griffith University in Australia found that probiotic intake is linked to lower heart disease risk.
Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working well.
Good bacteria help you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria when you have too much of them, and helping you feel better.
Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your body — your microbiome.
Previous research has found that probiotics can help prevent or treat diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics.
Probiotics can also improve systems of irritable bowel syndrome, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation and allergies.
In the current study, researchers reviewed the effect of probiotics on heart disease risk factors.
These risk factors include high blood pressure, overweight BMI, high cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), and blood sugar.
The team examined a total of 34 studies with 2177 adults.
They found that probiotic intake was linked to the reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, HbA1C, and BMI, and increased HDL cholesterol.
Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
LDL cholesterol is often called “bad” cholesterol because it causes plaque to build up inside your arteries and leads to heart disease.
HDL or “good” cholesterol absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
There was no strong effect on the triglyceride levels.
The team also found that when the probiotic intake was longer than 1.5 months, the benefits were stronger.
In addition, the use of alternate formulations (kefir and powder) and higher dosage of probiotics were linked to better benefits.
The team concluded that there were big reductions in blood pressure and blood sugar in people who had probiotic intake. Kefir and powder intake and more than 1.5 months duration intake were linked to better results.
Probiotic intake may also help reduce total cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase ‘good’ cholesterol levels.
Additionally, the probiotic supplements had a beneficial effect in reducing BMI associated with obesity.
The research is published in Current Hypertension Reports and was conducted by Asher Dixon et al.
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