Overview Low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, more appropriately referred to as LDL-C or LDL cholesterol is the bad form of fat in our blood. Within the normal range, LDL-C does not harm the body. It is only when the levels cross their upper limit that LDL-C can pose a significant risk to your health. It can affect several […]
With a vast array of novel researches performed on probiotics, scientists have been able to reveal the influence of gut bacteria on cardiac health. These beneficial bacteria help control the factors that have a negative impact on the heart, and therefore, provide a ground to optimize the cardiac health.
Probiotics can help improve the following risk factors for heart disease:
1. Formation of fatty plaques
The cholesterol that we consume in our diet can combine with fat, calcium, and other substances in our blood to generate plaques or fatty deposits. These plaques that clog arteries (primarily of the heart) form as a result of a series of inflammatory steps. One of the reasons that cardiologists recommend probiotics for heart health is the suppression of these inflammatory processes that trigger the formation of fatty deposits in your arteries.
A 2010 study showed that probiotic-containing Bifidobacteria exerts anti-inflammatory effects via decreasing the number of white blood cells being propelled to a damaged artery and, thus, lessening the inflammation and the chances of cholesterol buildup in that area. 
Moreover, probiotics, in particular, Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 has been proven to cut the bad cholesterol levels by about 12%.  This further resists the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries. This probiotic, in essence, can eat up cholesterol owing to its distinctive bile salt hydrolase activity.
2. Blood pressure
Hypertension is estimated to affect several billion people worldwide and is a major but modifiable risk factor for cardiac disease. Luckily, recent studies show that certain probiotics, primarily lactobacilli can lower the blood pressure through a variety of mechanisms. One such mechanism is the relaxation (or widening) of blood vessels via blocking the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity. This enzyme narrows the blood vessels, raising the pressure of the flowing blood on the walls of the arteries, which defines hypertension. By suppressing the ACE activity, probiotic bacteria perform the same action as that of some of the commonly used blood pressure medications like Zestril and Monopril. 
3. Vitamin D levels
The vitamin D acknowledged for bone health is also crucial for cardiovascular health. Insufficient vitamin D levels can narrow the blood vessels and impair the function of filtration by the kidneys, both of which tend to raise the blood pressure.  According to a Canadian study, regular supplementation of the probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 boosted vitamin D levels by more than 25%, which is a notable increase. Hence, probiotics can be regarded as cardioprotective agents. 
Obese individuals are at high risk for cardiac disease sooner or later. Being a modifiable factor, obesity can be addressed via lifestyle modifications. One such modification is the supplementation of probiotics. These can help you lose weight, thereby reducing your odds of developing heart problems.  (more…)
Raised LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol or bad cholesterol) levels constitute one of the major factors predisposing to cardiac disease. LDL-C reflects the mass of cholesterol contained within the LDL molecule.
Besides their vast gut-related health benefits, probiotics containing L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 target cardiovascular disease owing to their distinctive quality of lowering the LDL-C levels.
How does L. reuteri reduce LDL-C levels?
L reuteri NCIMB 30242 classically demonstrates bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity, an enzyme that accelerates deconjugation (cleaves the covalent bonding) of bile acids. 
What are Bile Acids and what is Conjugation/Deconjugation of Bile Acids?
Bile acids are the products of cholesterol breakdown (catabolism) and are produced in the liver. Bile acids then conjugate (form a bond) with two amino acids, namely glycine and taurine, and are transported to the intestine. These conjugated bile acids are water-soluble and enhance the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.
L. reuteri Prompts Deconjugation
On the contrary, since the BSH activity of the lactobacillus cleaves the bond of bile acids with amino acids (prompts deconjugation), it renders cholesterol less soluble and less absorbable. Additionally, the water-insoluble, deconjugated bile acids are not excreted in the urine but in feces. In an attempt to compensate for the lost deconjugated bile acids, cholesterol is used up to produce more bile acids. This eventually represents another pathway for cholesterol reduction. 
Moreover, the lactobacillus species entrap cholesterol in the intestine, impeding its outflow into the blood, which is instead flushed out via feces.  (more…)