High blood lipids can lead to blocked arteries and stroke. Often the fastest treatment is medication, most notably of the statin variety.
However, as lipids reflect a slew of risk factors including genes, metabolism and environmental, other modes of prevention and treatment are used somewhat effectively:
- Low cholesterol diet
- Low fat diet
- Decreased simple carbohydrates
- Increased soluble fiber
- Increased exercise
Might probiotics be added to that list?
Researchers from India designed a study to determine if strains of Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus could alter the lipid profile in Swiss albino mice.
Forty mice were divided into 4 groups. All were fed a special hyperlipidemia-inducing cocktail made of cholesterol, lard and a few other ingredients.
- Group II also received a booster of Lactobacillus rhamnosus before the above treat.
- Group III received Lactobacillus gasseri.
- Group IV received a popular statin drug.
All had access to normal food pellets and water ad lib. After 42 days, lipid levels were measured.
Results: the probiotics did an admirable job but the statin bested them.
L. rhamnosus performed better than L. gasseri.
The authors hypothesized that the probiotics acted at gut level either by preventing absorption or by breaking down the cholesterol and saturated fat into benign particles.
This was a small study and more research will be needed. But because probiotics are beneficial in most scenarios and come with fewer side effects than statins (muscle damage, liver damage and many others), it may lead to a promising preventive therapy.