Objective: To investigate whether intake of Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-1 lowers serum cholesterol in healthy men and women.
Design: Randomised, placebo-controlled parallel trial.
Setting: Subjects were free-living. Blood sampling and distribution of yoghurts were administered at a local hospital.
Subjects: Seventy-eight adult men and women with cholesterol levels of 3.9-7.8 mmol/L (mean +/- s.d., 5.4+/-0.7).
Interventions: Subjects consumed 500 mL of control yoghurt daily for two weeks. They were then randomly allocated to receive 500 mL per day of control yoghurt or of yoghurt enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus L-1 for another six weeks. The yoghurts were spiked with a trace of lithium; compliance as assessed by plasma lithium was excellent.
Results: Energy and nutrient intake was constant, and identical for the two groups. Mean body weight was stable. Baseline blood lipid concentrations in the control and treatment groups were highly similar. The effect of consumption of Lactobacillus acidophilus L-1 vs. control on total cholesterol was -0.02 mmol/L (95% CI, -0.18-0.15) after three weeks and 0.04 mmol/L (95% CI, -0.12-0.20) after six weeks. Serum LDL and HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels were also unaffected.
Conclusions: Yoghurt enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus L-1 does not lower serum cholesterol in men and women with normal to borderline high cholesterol levels.