Probiotic drink boosts heart health

Related tags Atherosclerosis

Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299v) bacteria, used in the
probiotic drink ProViva, can reduce several of the most common risk
factors associated with cardiovascular disease, according to a
study by researchers in Poland. The makers of the drink, Skane
Dairy, say the results show that simple self-medication could help
reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for many people.

Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299v) bacteria, used in the probiotic drink ProViva, can reduce several of the most common risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, according to a study by researchers at the Pomeranian Academy of Medicine in Poland.

The team studied 36 male and female smokers over a six week period. Smoking is a leading risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease including coronary infarction and stroke. Smokers also have lower levels of HDL cholesterol, needed for cell growth, in their blood.

All participants had moderately elevated fibrinogen (a soluble protein in blood plasma converted to fibrin when blood clots) levels. Half received 400ml of ProViva containing the LP299v bacterium daily, and half got the placebo. Those receiving ProViva showed a 12 per cent decrease in LDL cholesterol while HDL cholesterol levels increased by 10 per cent. Those on placebo showed neither an increase or decrease.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the Western world and many believe this is due not just to our more pressured lifestyles, but also to changed eating habits.

"We ingest fewer of the bacteria needed for metabolism or to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol,"​ said lead investigator Professor Naruszewicz. "And the results from this study clearly show that boosting levels, with the protective LP299v probiotic bacteria, can make up for this deficit."

The research showed that blood fibrinogen levels in those receiving ProViva fell by 21 per cent. Excessive levels of fibrinogen, which enables blood to coagulate, cause thickening which increases the risk of thrombosis.

Participants also saw a marked drop in blood pressure and insulin levels with the greatest reduction occurring in those with the highest blood pressure. These findings were not replicated within the placebo group.

ProViva​ was developed in Sweden for use after surgery in patients whose digestive system was not working properly. Research started in 1986 identified a nourishing solution of oatmeal and lactobacilli that helped to maintain a healthy balance of digestive bacteria in surgical and trauma patients. ProViva has been on sale in Sweden since 1994. It is a dairy-free fruit-based drink and provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.

The study is published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​.

Related topics R&D