Cardiovascular Health

  • Probiotics- weight loss, lowers cholesterol and glucose | Update

    Published on November 26, 2014.

    A high intake of yogurt has been found to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research published in open access journal BMC Medicine. This highlights the importance of having yogurt as part of a healthy diet.

    Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells develop resistance to insulin. There is an increased risk of developing it if a relative has the condition or if an individual has an unhealthy lifestyle. Approximately 366 million people are affected by type 2 diabetes worldwide and it is estimated this will increase to 552 million people by 2030, which puts pressure on global healthcare systems.

    Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health pooled the results of three prospective cohort studies that followed the medical history and lifestyle habits of health professionals. These studies were the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study (HFPS), which included 51,529 US male dentists, pharmacists, vets, osteopathic physicians and podiatrists, aged from 40 to 75 years; Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), which began in 1976, and followed 121,700 female US nurses aged from 30 to 55 years; and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II), which followed 116,671 female US nurses aged from 25 to 42 years beginning in the year 1989.

    At the beginning of each cohort study, participants completed a questionnaire to gather baseline information on lifestyle and occurrence of chronic disease. Participants were then followed up every two years with a follow-up rate of more than 90 per cent. Participants were excluded if they had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline. People were also excluded if they did not include any information about dairy consumption. This left a total of 41,497 participants from HPFS, 67,138 from NHS and 85,884 from NHS II.

    Mu Chen, the study’s lead author from Harvard School of Public Health, says: “Our study benefited from having such a large sample size, high rates of follow up and repeated assessment of dietary and lifestyle factors.”

    Within the three cohorts 15,156 cases of type 2 diabetes were identified during the follow-up period. The researchers found that the total dairy consumption had no association with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They then looked at consumption of individual dairy products, such as skimmed milk, cheese, whole milk and yogurt. When adjusting for chronic disease risk factors such as age and BMI as well as dietary factors, it was found that high consumption of yogurt was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

    The authors then conducted a meta-analysis, incorporating their results and other published studies, up to March 2013, that investigated the association between dairy products and type 2 diabetes. This found that consumption of one 28g serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

    Previous research has suggested calcium, magnesium, or specific fatty acids present in dairy products may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. It has been shown that probiotic bacteria found in yogurt improves fat profiles and antioxidant status in people with type 2 diabetes and the researchers suggest this could have a risk-lowering effect in developing the condition. To confirm this observation, and investigate whether or not yogurt is causal in the lowering of risk, randomized controlled trials are needed.

    Senior researcher on the study Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health, says: “We found that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy did not show this association. The consistent findings for yogurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.”

    Recently a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University presented their findings that that friendly bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibits weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice and that it may be possible to manipulate the bacterial residents of the gut – the gut microbiota — to treat obesity and other chronic diseases.1

    In recent research, doctors found that certain probiotics could help women lose weight and keep it off.

    • Women consuming probiotics lost twice as much weight over the 24-week period of the study.2

    Bad cholesterol and high glucose levels

    Earlier we reported research that says Probiotics are an essentail tool in the fight against bad cholesterol and high glucose levels. Researchers in China have just released an animal study that found that Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium can decrease serum levels of lipid and glucose and improve insulin resistance. 3

    • Further in another recent study, probiotics are seen as being a positive  and therapeutic lifestyle change dietary option in cardiovascular disease as they seem to reduce cholesterol and inflammatory markers.4 

    In very recent research a bifidobacteria probiotic formulation resulted in a significant reduction of total cholesterol and low-density cholesterol. 5 This confirms and supports the new research and  other research which suggested probiotic bacteria (and phytosterols) have shown themselves to be natural cholesterol lowering agents. 6 Other research supports not only Bifidobacterium but Lactobacillus as well.7

    Recently this bulletin from the American Heart Association
    “Two daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood as well as “bad” and total cholesterol . . . Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements.” 8

    How do Probiotics lower cholesterol?

    Everyone has cholesterol in their blood, but if the levels of LDL are too high, the excess can accumulate on the walls of the arteries. This build-up of cholesterol and other substances – called plaque – can narrow the artery like a clogged drain. A high level of oxidized cholesterol or a low level of HDL cholesterol can be particularly troublesome. It can also lead to arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. There are many risks of high cholesterol which range from coronary artery disease to heart attack to stroke.

    You need cholesterol

    However, we have to keep in mind that cholesterol is a naturally-occurring substance in the body and, at the right level, is necessary as it gives rise to many of the adrenal and sex hormones.

    The theory behind probiotics’ ability to lower cholesterol is that the bacteria is able to bind to cholesterol in the small intestine. This binding prevents the cholesterol from being absorbed in the blood stream.

    Do you have questions? Contact us using the form to the right of this article.

    1. Study examines therapeutic bacteria’s ability to prevent obesity

    2. Certain probiotics could help women lose weight. January 28, 2014

    3. Yu RQ, Yuan JL, Ma LY, Qin QX, Wu XY. Probiotics improve obesity-associated dyslipidemia and insulin resistance in high-fat diet-fed rats. Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi. 2013 Dec;15(12):1123-7.

    4.  Dirienzo DB. Effect of probiotics on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease: implications for heart-healthy diets. Nutr Rev. 2013 Dec 13. doi: 10.1111/nure.12084. [Epub ahead of print]

    5. Bordoni A, Amaretti A, Leonardi A, Boschetti E, Danesi F, Matteuzzi D, Roncaglia L, Raimondi S, Rossi M. Appl Cholesterol-lowering probiotics: in vitro selection and in vivo testing of bifidobacteria. Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013 Sep;97(18):8273-81. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-5088-2. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

    6. Awaisheh SS, Khalifeh MS, Al-Ruwaili MA, Khalil OM, Al-Ameri OH, Al-Groom R. Effect of supplementation of probiotics and phytosterols alone or in combination on serum and hepatic lipid profiles and thyroid hormones of hypercholesterolemic rats. J Dairy Sci. 2013 Jan;96(1):9-15. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5442. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

    7. Kumar M, Nagpal R, Kumar R, et al. Cholesterol-lowering probiotics as potential biotherapeutics for metabolic diseases. Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:902917. Epub 2012 May 3.


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