There are a lot of good reasons to use probiotics like AIM’s FloraFood. They may help you manage your weight, quiet an upset stomach, improve digestion and bolster your immune system like a champ. But the benefits aren’t just relegated to our midsections. There is evidence that probiotics help the skin and teeth, too, and now new research shows that they might also improve cardiovascular health. Here is how.
Probiotics and Cholesterol
According to a paper published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, probiotics seem to fight cholesterol in several ways. They create acids that counter cholesterol production. They break down liver acids made from cholesterol which means the liver will need more cholesterol to make more acids, so you’ll have less overall. Also, probiotics munch down cholesterol like they were a submarine sandwich.
Probiotics actually eat cholesterol: Probiotic bacteria have been shown to break down cholesterol and use it for nourishment. —Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research
In the most recent study–published less than a month ago in Circulation Research–they found solid evidence that gut bacteria were associated with cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The study looked at 900 people and found thirty-four types of bacteria that they linked to triglycerides, HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels and BMI. They were also able to estimate that the gut microbiome could explain a four to six percent variance in those factors.
Probiotics and Chronic Inflammation
Another way that probiotics may be able to aid with heart health is by possibly alleviating chronic inflammation. Although it has not been proven that chronic inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, it is commonly associated with heart disease and stroke. It’s also been blamed for making other illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s worse as well as for playing a role in diabetes. Chronic inflammation is, in short, not preferable.
As noted earlier, probiotics seem to really do a bang-up job at putting the kibosh on cholesterol. So when LDL (low-density lipoprotein–the bad cholesterol) builds up in the artery wall, it triggers inflammation, a natural response of the immune system. This response causes more cholesterol to build up and leads to more inflammation. The theory is that probiotics may be able to chomp down some of that cholesterol before it becomes a problem and reduce inflammation in that way.
Additionally, because the gut microbiome seems to play such a huge role in the immune system, probiotics have been linked to reducing inflammation through its influence there.
For example, a 2013 study published in Gut Microbes looked at markers of inflammation in healthy subjects and those suffering from psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome. The subjects who took probiotics had fewer markers of inflammation by the end of the trial.
Co-author Professor Eamonn Quigley, chief of the gastroenterology and hepatology division of Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, said:
What is impressive about these results is that not only are they from human subjects, but from individuals with common inflammatory conditions.”
So remember, the way to optimum heart health may just be through your stomach!