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Scientific research is increasingly finding that the effects of probiotics are further reaching than just the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have found that probiotics have the potential to effect areas outside of the gut such as skin health, mental wellbeing, weight management, cholesterol levels, oral hygiene and vaginal health.
The latest study to look at the effects of probiotics outside the gut comes from the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, Oregon, USA. A group of researchers there evaluated the effects of Saccharomyces boulardii on cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular biomarkers. S. boulardii is an incredibly well-researched live culture in areas such as diarrhoeal illnesses, pathogen inhibition and the prevention of antibiotic-associated side effects, however, little is known about its effect on the cardiovascular system, until now.
In this small study 12 participants with high cholesterol levels were recruited to take S. boulardii daily for 8 weeks. The scientists measured total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoprotein particles and other cardiovascular biomarkers.
The results showed that eight weeks of daily S. boulardii supplementation resulted in a negligible reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. However, a 15.46% decrease in remnant lipoprotein particles was measured. This is significant as remnant lipoproteins promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Similar results were found in previous studies, suggesting that S. boulardii may be used in conjunction with other cholesterol lowering supplements or medications.
It's incredibly exciting to see yet more research into the effects of probiotics outside of the body. If you're interested in learning more about Saccharomyces boulardii, see this article on its classification.