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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;54(11):856-60.

The effect of a probiotic milk product on plasma cholesterol: a meta-analysis of short-term intervention studies.

Author information

1
Research Department of Human Nutrition, Centre for Food Research, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Certain fermented dairy milk products may have beneficial effects on plasma cholesterol levels. However, a number of studies have produced conflicting results as to whether dietary supplementation by a probiotic dairy product containing the bacteria culture Causido(R) reduces plasma cholesterol.

OBJECTIVE:

To conduct a meta-analysis of intervention studies to evaluate the effect of the Causido(R) culture on plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol. THE PROBIOTIC MILK PRODUCT: The yoghurt product Gaio(R) is fermented with Causido(R), composed of one strain of Enterococcus faecium (human species) with the proposed cholesterol-lowering effect, and two strains of Streptococcus thermophilus. STUDY INCLUSION AND DATA EXTRACTION: Six studies were identified from a literature search and from the yoghurt producer. All studies met the inclusion criteria. Summary data for plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were extracted from the original publications or by personal request to the authors. Data from 4-8 weeks of treatment duration was used.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS:

We performed a traditional meta-analysis where mean differences between intervention and control of the pre-post changes in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were calculated, as well as 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS:

In the six studies included in the meta-analysis, the Gaio(R) interventions produced changes in total cholesterol above those of the control groups ranging from -0.02 to -1.02 mmol/l and in LDL-cholesterol ranging from -0.02 to -1.15 mmol/l. After inclusion of an open-label study, the meta-analysis of the double-blind studies showed that Gaio(R) as compared to the control group changed total cholesterol by -0.22 mmol/l (95% CI: -0.35 to -0.08, P<0.01) and LDL-cholesterol by -0.20 mmol/l (95% CI: -0.33 to -0.06, P<0.005). The outcome was essentially the same if all studies were included.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present meta-analysis of controlled short-term intervention studies shows that the fermented yoghurt product produced a 4% decrease in total cholesterol and a 5% decrease in LDL-cholesterol when the open-label study is excluded. To demonstrate sustained effects on blood lipids, long-term studies are required.

SPONSORSHIP:

MD Foods A/S, Denmark.

PMID:
11114681
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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