Recent Research on Probiotic use in Heart Health
A 2015 research article published in the International Journal of Cardiology recently conducted a trial administering Saccharomyces boulardii to heart failure patients with Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction (LVEF) of less than 50%. Patients were randomised to receive either a probiotic preparation of S. Boulardii (1000mg per day) or placebo for three months. The study concluded that in patients with heart failure, measures of total cholesterol, uric acid and left atrial diameter all reduced while left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) increased. The group receiving S. Boulardii saw an improvement of 14.5% in LVEF. (LVEF is the measurement of how much blood is being pumped out of the left ventricle of the heart with each contraction.)
Authors of the study hypothesised that when the heart is failing, myocytes show increased inflammatory mediators. Chronic heart failure patients also show a disturbance in intestinal motility and villi absorption, with compromised tissue perfusion and edema. These intestinal alterations lead to a proliferation of enteropathogenic flora and increased bacterial translocation. These inflammatory cytokines and chemokines were elevated in direct proportion to a worsening of symptoms and cardiac function.
Additionally, hypercholesterolemia patients who took encapsulated S. Boulardii for 8 weeks demonstrated a 15.6% reduction in remnant lipoprotein particles which are highly atherogenic (damaging to the heart).
Also, another clinical trial showed the daily intake of 100 million CFU of Bifidobacterium longum BB536, in a symbiotic formulation, significantly reduced LDL levels when compared to a control group. It has been suggested that B. longum BB536 binds to cholesterol and bile acids in the intestine resulting in the inhibition of intestinal cholesterol absorption and a decrease in serum cholesterol levels.
Andrade, S, Borges, N Effect of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacerium longum on plasma lipids of women with normal or moderately elevated cholesterol, Journal of Dairy Research 2009 (76): 469-474.
Costanza, A, Moscavitch, S, Faria Neto, H, Mesquita, E Probiotic therapy with Saccharomyces boulardii for heart failure patients: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial, International Journal of Cardiology 2015 (179): 348-350.
Ryan, J, Hanes, D, Schafer, M, Mikolai, J, Zwickey, H Effect of the Probiotic Saccharomyces Boulardii on Cholesterol Levels and Additional Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Hypercholesterolemic Adults, unpublished, Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR, USA.