Several studies have reported limited or no reduction in serum cholesterol in response to probiotic formulations. Recently, probiotics have shown promise in treating metabolic disease due to improved strain selection and delivery technologies. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the cholesterol-lowering efficacy of a yoghurt formulation containing microencapsulated bile salt hydrolase (BSH)-active Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, taken twice per d over 6 weeks, in hypercholesterolaemic adults. A total of 114 subjects completed this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel-arm, multi-centre study. This interventional study included a 2-week washout, 2-week run-in and 6-week treatment period. Subjects were randomised to consume either yoghurts containing microencapsulated L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 or placebo yoghurts. Over the intervention period, subjects consuming yoghurts containing microencapsulated L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 attained significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) of 8·92 % (P = 0·016), total cholesterol (TC) of 4·81 % (P = 0·031) and non-HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) of 6·01 % (P = 0·029) over placebo, and a significant absolute change in apoB-100 of - 0·19 mmol/l (P = 0·049). Serum concentrations of TAG and HDL-C were unchanged over the course of the study. Present results show that consumption of microencapsulated BSH-active L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 yoghurt is efficacious and safe for lowering LDL-C, TC, apoB-100 and non-HDL-C in hypercholesterolaemic subjects. The efficacy of microencapsulated BSH-active L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 yoghurts appears to be superior to traditional probiotic therapy and akin to that of other cholesterol-lowering ingredients.