Objective: To select a probiotic bacteria that would reduce serum lipids in hypercholesterolaemic volunteers.
Design: A strain of lactobacillus was selected for its ability to metabolise cholesterol under varying conditions in vitro. Freeze-dried Lactobacillus acidophilus or placebo were then given in a double-blind randomised crossover study to volunteers with high cholesterols.
Subjects: A total of 80 volunteers with elevated cholesterols.
Interventions: Volunteers were randomly allocated to receive either two capsules containing freeze-dried L. acidophilus 3 x 10(10) CFU or placebo three times a day for 6 weeks. After a 6-week washout period, volunteers were crossed over to another 6 weeks of capsules. Serum lipids were measured at the beginning and end of each interventional period.
Results: L. acidophilus was able to reduce cholesterol and survive in an acid and bile environment. No changes in anthropomorphic measurements or in dietary records were seen between the baseline and final records or between the two sets of baseline records. There were no changes in serum lipids seen throughout the study.
Conclusion: Despite the ability in vitro for L. acidophilus to reduce cholesterol, no effect was seen in volunteers.