Introduction: Certain fermented dairy milk products may have beneficial effects on plasma cholesterol levels. However, a number of studies have produced conflicting results as to whether dietary supplementation by a probiotic dairy product containing the bacteria culture Causido® reduces plasma cholesterol.
Objective: To conduct a meta-analysis of intervention studies to evaluate the effect of the Causido® culture on plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol.
The probiotic milk product: The yoghurt product Gaio® is fermented with Causido®, composed of one strain of Enterococcus faecium (human species) with the proposed cholesterol-lowering effect, and two strains of Streptococcus thermophilus.
Study inclusion and data extraction: Six studies were identified from a literature search and from the yoghurt producer. All studies met the inclusion criteria. Summary data for plasma concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were extracted from the original publications or by personal request to the authors. Data from 4–8 weeks of treatment duration was used.
Statistical analysis: We performed a traditional meta-analysis where mean differences between intervention and control of the pre–post changes in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were calculated, as well as 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: In the six studies included in the meta-analysis, the Gaio® interventions produced changes in total cholesterol above those of the control groups ranging from −0.02 to −1.02 mmol/l and in LDL-cholesterol ranging from −0.02 to −1.15 mmol/l. After inclusion of an open-label study, the meta-analysis of the double-blind studies showed that Gaio® as compared to the control group changed total cholesterol by −0.22 mmol/l (95% CI: −0.35 to −0.08, P<0.01) and LDL-cholesterol by −0.20 mmol/l (95% CI: −0.33 to −0.06, P<0.005). The outcome was essentially the same if all studies were included.
Conclusions: The present meta-analysis of controlled short-term intervention studies shows that the fermented yoghurt product produced a 4% decrease in total cholesterol and a 5% decrease in LDL-cholesterol when the open-label study is excluded. To demonstrate sustained effects on blood lipids, long-term studies are required.
Sponsorship: MD Foods A/S, Denmark.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) 54, 856–860
About this article
Cite this article
Agerholm-Larsen, L., Bell, M., Grunwald, G. et al. The effect of a probiotic milk product on plasma cholesterol: a meta-analysis of short-term intervention studies. Eur J Clin Nutr 54, 856–860 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601104
- probiotic milk product
- plasma cholesterol
Yogurt consumption in relation to mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes: a prospective investigation in 2 cohorts of US women and men
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2020)
The impact of probiotic yogurt consumption on lipid profiles in subjects with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases (2020)
Intake of carbohydrates and SFA and risk of CHD in middle-age adults: the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK)
Public Health Nutrition (2020)
Yogurt Intake Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A Meta-Analysis of Eight Prospective Cohort Studies
Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine (2020)
Clinical Nutrition (2020)