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How Can Probiotics Support Heart Health?

How Can Probiotics Support Heart Health?

In today’s health-conscious world, an increasing number of individuals recognize the vital connection between cardiovascular well-being, which encompasses the health of both the heart and blood vessels, and their overall health. It’s widely understood that effective cholesterol management is essential for sustaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Cholesterol, a molecule crucial for various biological functions, must be maintained in balance. Excessive cholesterol buildup in the walls of arteries can negatively affect cardiovascular health. However, there are proactive measures individuals can take to support heart health, such as adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and incorporating heart-friendly foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into daily meals. These lifestyle choices contribute to maintaining optimal cholesterol levels and promoting a robust cardiovascular system, allowing individuals to lead active, fulfilling lives. Moreover, many individuals are seeking natural, over-the-counter solutions to enhance their cardiovascular health.

As explored in our previous article, Understanding the Gut-Metabolic Health Axis, there’s a close relationship between probiotics and metabolism. Probiotics offer a potential solution to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and this mechanism has been linked to their bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity.

Bile Acids and Cholesterol Metabolism

Bile acids are crucial for the digestion process as they aid in the emulsification of dietary fats and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. In the liver, primary bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol, subsequently undergoing conjugation before entering the gut. Within the gut, these conjugated primary bile acids can be modified by gut bacteria through their BSH activity. This modification impacts their solubility and the body’s ability to reabsorb them. Consequently, a significant portion of unabsorbed bile acids is excreted in feces. This process necessitates the liver to produce new bile acids from cholesterol, ultimately reducing cholesterol levels within the body. This mechanism presents a natural way to support cardiovascular health. [Breton, 2022]

The Role of Probiotics in Cholesterol Metabolism

Probiotics play a pivotal role in bile acid metabolism and the maintenance of a healthy lipid profile. The probiotic cholesterol metabolism mechanism is associated with their microbial BSH activity. Some probiotics have been demonstrated to exhibit BSH activity, leading to increased deconjugation. This, in turn, results in higher bile acid excretion in feces, promoting the production of new bile acids in the liver from the cholesterol pool. This cyclic process is thought to be one of the processes through which probiotics could affect cholesterol levels.

B. lactis Lafti® B94, B.subtilis Rosell®-179, and L. plantarum HA-119 Activate Cholesterol Metabolism

A study involving 103 healthy adults with a high waist circumference was conducted using a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design [Culpepper, 2019]. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either B. lactis Lafti® B94, B. subtilis Rosell®-179, L. plantarum HA-119, or a placebo for 12 weeks. In individuals with a BMI ≥30, B. lactis Lafti® B94 and B. subtilis Rosell®-179 were found to increase plasma deconjugated bile acids compared to the control group (p=0.0402 and p=0.0104, respectively). Additionally, B. subtilis Rosell®-179 raised plasma secondary bile acids compared to the placebo (p=0.0016). These findings underscore the potential of these strains in promoting bile salt cycling, a crucial aspect of cholesterol metabolism and overall metabolic well-being.

Exploring the Future of Metabolic Health

Lallemand Health Solutions’ dedicated research and development team continues to delve deeper into the role of probiotics in supporting metabolic health, including liver and heart health. Ongoing pre-clinical and clinical studies aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the gut-metabolic health axis. You can further explore the role of probiotics in various aspects of metabolic health by reading our previous blog articles:

How To Reach Metabolic Health Goals in The Long Run
How Probiotics Are Bringing Innovation in Diet
What Role Does the Brain Play on Satiety
Liver Health A Role for Probiotics



Breton, et al. (2022). Dysbiotic gut bacteria in obesity: an overview of the metabolic mechanisms and therapeutic perspectives of next-generation probiotics. Microorganisms, 10(2), 452.

Culpepper, et al. (2019) Three probiotic strains exert different effects on plasma bile acid profiles in healthy obese adults: randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study. Beneficial Microbes: 1-14.

Published Jun 18, 2023 | Updated Jun 2, 2024

Metabolic health