(NaturalNews) More than 40 million Americans struggle with high cholesterol, which for many people is a direct result of either chronic inflammation caused by poor diet, or an autoimmune condition that is preventing the proper assimilation and use of cholesterol in cells and tissue throughout the body. A new study out of Spain; however, has found that taking probiotics can actually help regulate high cholesterol and bring it back down to normal, healthy levels.
For their study, Mari Fuentes from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and her colleagues from Moncloa Hospital and Torrelodones University Hospital, all in Spain, investigated the effects of taking three unique strains of Lactobacillus plantarum on cholesterol levels. Building upon previous studies that have identified a link between probiotic consumption and improved lipid metabolism, the team hoped to make some new discoveries about this powerful phenomenon.
Evaluated during the research project was a group of 60 participants aged between 18 and 65, some of whom had high cholesterol levels initially and some who did not. As part of this controlled, randomized, double-blind trial, some participants were given a daily dose of the L. plantarum three-strain blend, while the others were given a placebo. This continued for 12 weeks until a final comparison and assessment was made.
Compared to the group who got the placebo, those taking the probiotic experienced a significant reduction in plasma total cholesterol, also known as TC. The probiotic also demonstrably lowered levels of both LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and oxidized LDL-C, particularly among participants that had high initial values for circulating cholesterol.
"Plasma total cholesterol (TC) levels were reduced after 12 weeks in subjects taking L. plantarum, as compared with placebo," wrote the authors in their summary. "Subjects with higher initial cholesterol levels showed even greater reduction than those with lower initial levels."
Probiotics treat high cholesterol by improving its metabolism, not eliminating it
The beauty of the probiotic protocol is that it does not artificially lower cholesterol levels in the same way that statin and other cholesterol drugs do -- cholesterol, after all, is a vital component of the brain and body, without which poor health is inevitable. Instead, the probiotic treatment was found to improve the body's natural ability to appropriately uptake and process cholesterol, which it needs to produce hormones, generate vitamin D, and protect cells from oxidative damage.
"People with high levels of cholesterol [have] a propensity for heart attack, but it's not from the cholesterol itself but from the blockages that it can cause in the arteries as a result of other factors such as inflammation," explains Mark Schauss, MBA, DB, and author of the book Achieving Victory over a Toxic World. (http://www.charlespoliquin.com)
This is a vitally important concept to understand because cholesterol drugs actually eliminate needed cholesterol from the body, while probiotics and other natural interventions simply help the body to better absorb and assimilate it. Artificially lowering your cholesterol with pharmaceutical drugs, in other words, can actually cause you more harm than if you simply left your high cholesterol alone. The best approach; however, is to learn what is causing your high cholesterol in the first place, and take nutritional approaches such as probiotics to help solve them.