Objective: We have recently demonstrated a short-term hypocholesterolemic effect (reduction of 8-10%) of a new fermented milk product taken for 6 weeks (Agerbaek et al, 1995; Richelsen et al, 1993). The present study was undertaken to investigate the more long-term (6 months) effect of this fermented product on the level of lipoproteins.
Design: The study was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, and performed for a period of six months.
Subjects: Eighty-seven non-obese and normocholesterolemic females and males, aged 50-70 y old, were included in the study.
Intervention: 200 ml of either the fermented milk product or placebo (chemically fermented) were given daily. The test product was fermented with a bacteria culture containing Enterococcus faecium and two strains of Streptococcus termophilus.
Results: After one month the total- and LDL-cholesterol were significantly reduced in the fermented milk group as compared to placebo, LDL was reduced by 0.21 mmol/l vs 0.0 mmol/1 (P < 0.02). The maximal reduction of LDL-cholesterol was reached after 3 months in the test group with a reduction of 0.32 mmol/1 of initial values (P < 0.001). In the placebo group a gradual fall of total- and LDL-cholesterol was observed from 1-6 months of the study. Thus, after six months the reduction of LDL-cholesterol was similar in the two groups (P = 0.95) even though the reduction was significant in both groups in relation to initial values (P < 0.05). No changes in HDL-cholesterol or triglyceride were observed during the study. There were no differences in the response between women and men.
Conclusion: The fermented milk product resulted in a rapid reduction of LDL-cholesterol observed after one month but during long-term intake (6 months) the reduction of LDL-cholesterol was similar to the placebo product, indicating that low-fat milk or fermented milk products may have some hypocholesterolemic effects but the present tested product does not seem to be superior in that respect to the placebo milk product used in the present study.