This meta-analysis examined the effect of probiotics on the reduction of lipid components and coexisting risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. All randomized controlled trials published in English on PubMed and Scopus from 2000 to 2014 were systematically searched. Using the PEDro scale to assess the quality of studies, a total of 15 studies with 788 subjects were selected for inclusion in the analysis. The mean difference and effect size with a 95% confidence interval (CI) were extracted from individual studies. Statistically significant pooled effects of probiotics were found on reduction of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and inflammatory markers. Subgroup analysis revealed statistically significant effects of probiotics on total cholesterol and LDL when the medium was fermented milk or yogurt (P < 0.001) compared to capsule form, consumption was at least 8 weeks in duration (P < 0.001), and the probiotics consisted of multiple strains (P < 0.001) rather than a single strain. A significant reduction was found in LDL in trials which contained Lactobacillus Acidophilus strain (P < 0.001) compared to other types of strains. Our findings suggest that probiotic supplementation use is effective in lowering the lipid level and coexisting factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Body mass index; cholesterol; inflammatory markers; low-density lipoprotein; probiotics; weight.