CVD affect a large proportion of the world's population, with dyslipidaemia as the major risk factor. The regular consumption of both probiotic bacteria and yeast has been associated with improvement in the serum lipid profile. Thus, the present review aims to describe and discuss the potential mechanisms responsible for the hypocholesterolaemic effect of regular consumption of probiotic bacteria and yeast. Regarding the hypocholesterolaemic effect of probiotic bacteria, the potential mechanisms responsible include: deconjugation of bile salts; modulation of lipid metabolism; and decreased absorption of intestinal cholesterol through co-precipitation of intestinal cholesterol with the deconjugated bile salts, incorporation and assimilation of cholesterol in the cell membrane of the probiotics, intestinal conversion of cholesterol in coprostanol, and inhibition of the expression of the intestinal cholesterol transporter Niemann-Pick C1 like 1 (NPC1L1) in the enterocytes. The potential mechanisms responsible for the hypocholesterolaemic effect of probiotic yeasts include: deconjugation of bile salts; co-precipitation of intestinal cholesterol with the deconjugated bile salts; incorporation and assimilation of cholesterol in the cell membrane; and inhibition of hepatic cholesterol synthesis. The regular consumption of probiotic bacteria and yeast, as a non-pharmaceutical approach to help manage cardiovascular risk, holds promise, according to the beneficial hypocholesterolaemic effects described herein. However, the hypocholesterolaemic effects vary according to the strains used, the physiological state of the host, and the type of diet to which the probiotics are added. Further studies are necessary to fill the gaps with regard to the knowledge related to this topic.
Keywords: ATCC American Type Culture Collection; BSH bile salt hydrolase; CFU colony-forming unit; HMG-CoA 3-hydroxy-methyl-3-glutaryl-CoA; NPC1L1 Niemann–Pick C1 like 1; TC total cholesterol; CVD; Dyslipidaemias; Lipid metabolism; Probiotics.