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J Dairy Sci. 1989 Nov;72(11):2885-99.

Lactobacillus effects on cholesterol: in vitro and in vivo results.

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College of Pharmacy, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97330.


A double blind investigation was conducted on the influence of a commercially available tablet containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (Lactinex Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, Cockeysville, MD) on human serum lipoprotein concentrations. Tablets containing about 2 X 10(6) viable bacteria of Lactobacillus mixtures or placebo tablets were ingested by 354 nonfasting informed subjects in a dose of one tablet each, taken four times a day. There was a 3-wk washout period between two 6-wk treatment periods. The number of viable lactobacillus in unused returned tablets was the same at the end of the study as in the beginning. Analysis of paired data using Wilcoxon signed ranks test showed no major effects on lipoprotein concentrations for either the placebo-treated group or the lactobacilli-treated group. There were no statistically significant differences for low density lipoprotein concentrations between the lactobacilli-treated group and the placebo-treated group. The high density lipoprotein concentrations increased 1.8 to 3.0 mg/dl in both groups for both study periods. For total cholesterol the placebo-treated group experienced a statistically significant increase in the first period according to the Wilcoxon signed ranks test (from 208.0 to 215.0 mg/dl, P less than .001) but not according to a two-sample Student t test. Total cholesterol did not change significantly for the Lactobacillus-treated group in either period. Cardiac risk factor (ratio of total cholesterol to high density cholesterol) did not vary during the study. Lipoprotein values increased immediately following vigorous exercise compared with following 15 min of resting without either placebo or treatment. Sample controls for assay and reassay gave virtually identical values (coefficient of variation 1.6%), confirming that assay results were quite reliable. Thus, ingestion of commercially available Lactobacillus tablets, which contain about 2 X 10(6) cfu/tablet of L. acidophilus and L. bulgaricus cells in a dose of four tablets daily did not affect serum lipoprotein concentrations.

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