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