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J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Feb;18(1):43-50.

Effect of fermented milk (yogurt) containing Lactobacillus acidophilus L1 on serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic humans.

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  • 1Metabolic Research Group, VA Medical Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40511, USA.



Two controlled clinical studies were performed to examine effects of consumption of one daily serving of fermented milk (FM) (yogurt) on serum lipids.


In the first study, subjects were randomly allocated to FM containing Lactobacillus acidophilus L1 of human origin or to FM containing L. acidophilus ATCC 43211 of swine origin. In this single-blind study, subjects consumed one 200 ml serving of FM daily for 3 weeks. The second study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Subjects completed a 4-week first treatment, had a 2-week washout, and completed a second 4-week treatment. In the second study subjects consumed FM containing L. acidophilus L1 or placebo FM over 4 weeks.


In the first study, FM containing L. acidophilus L1 was accompanied by a 2.4% (p<0.05) reduction of serum cholesterol concentration. In the second study, strain L1 reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2% (p<0.05) in the first treatment period. In the second treatment period there were no significant changes in serum cholesterol concentration. Combined analysis of the two L1 treatment studies demonstrated a 2.9% (p<0.01) reduction in serum cholesterol concentration.


Since every 1% reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2% to 3% reduction in risk for coronary heart disease, regular intake of FM containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for coronary heart disease by 6 to 10%.

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