Source: PLoS One. Dec 11;12(12):e0187964, 2017.
Background: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the major causes of death and disability in industrialised countries, with elevated blood cholesterol an established risk factor. Total plasma cholesterol reduction in populations suffering from primary hypercholesterolemia may lower CHD incidence.
Methods: This study investigated the cholesterol reducing capacity of Lactobacillus plantarum ECGC 13110402, a strain selected for its high bile salt hydrolase activity, in 49 normal to mildly hypercholesterolaemic adults. Primary efficacy outcomes included effect on blood lipids (total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoproteins (LDL-C), high density lipoproteins (HDL-C) and triacylgycerides (TAG), inflammatory biomarkers and occurrence/severity of gastrointestinal side effects to establish safety and tolerance of the intervention. Secondary outcomes included blood pressure, immune biomarkers, gut microbiota characterisation and metabonome changes. The study was run in a parallel, double blind, placebo controlled, randomised design in which the active group ingested 2×109 CFU encapsulated Lactobacillus plantarum ECGC 13110402 twice daily.
Results: Daily ingestion of the active treatment resulted in a statistically significant reduction in LDL-C in volunteers with baseline TC<5mM during the 0-12 week period (13.9%, P = 0.030), a significant reduction in TC in volunteers with baseline TC≥6mM in the 0-6 week period (37.6%, P = 0.045), a significant decrease in TAG (53.9% P = 0.030) and an increase in HDL-C (14.7%, P = 0.007) in the over 60 years population in the 6-12 week period. A statistically significant reduction in systolic blood pressure was also observed across the active study group in the 6-12-week period (6.6%, P = 0.003). No impact on gastrointestinal function and side effects was observed during the study. Similar to blood and urine metabonomic analyses, faecal metagenomics did not reveal significant changes upon active or placebo intake.
The results of this study suggest that Lactobacillus plantarum ECGC 13110402 is a well-tolerated, natural probiotic, that may be used as an alternative or supplement to existing treatments to reduce cardiovascular risk.