Impact of probiotics on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. A review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(2):175-89. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.579361.


Probiotic microorganisms have historically been used to rebalance disturbed intestinal microbiota and to diminish gastrointestinal disorders, such as diarrhea or inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g., Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). Recent studies explore the potential for expanded uses of probiotics on medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, such as obesity, hypercholesterolemia, arterial hypertension, and metabolic disturbances such as hyperhomocysteinemia and oxidative stress. This review aims at summarizing the proposed molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in probiotic-host interactions and to identify the nature of the resulting beneficial effects. Specific probiotic strains can act by modulating immune response, by producing particular molecules or releasing biopeptides, and by modulating nervous system activity. To date, the majority of studies have been conducted in animal models. New investigations on the related mechanisms in humans need to be carried out to better enable targeted and effective use of the broad variety of probiotic strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Enzymes
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia
  • Hypertension
  • Immunity
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Microbiota
  • Obesity
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors


  • Enzymes