What is Cardiovascular Disease and its relation to Atherosclerosis?
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which pertain to the heart and blood vessels, such as stroke and heart attack, are related to Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition caused by a build-up of cholesterol (fats) inside the arteries.
There are three types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is sometimes called bad cholesterol because it raises CVD risk;
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), the good cholesterol, carries excess cholesterol to the liver to be flushed out from the body;
- Very-low-density lipoprotein carries triglycerides from the liver to the cells.
Together, they are referred to as total cholesterol (TC).
The Side Effects of Statins in Treating Elevated Cholesterol Levels
Most people with CVD have moderate to high cholesterol levels. However, this risk is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Administration of statins is the common treatment for elevated cholesterol levels.
Statins can also cause side effects, like muscle problems and the possible onset of diabetes. So we need additional treatment options like nutraceutical products, which come from food sources with extra health benefits.
Can Probiotics Help in Lowering CVD risk factors?
There has been evidence that probiotics incorporated into dairy products can help reduce cholesterol levels in people with moderate hypercholesterolemia (the medical term for high cholesterol). However, the amount needed to be effective is quite high, like 300 mg of yogurt daily.
This approach would be impractical for long-term treatments. On the other hand, it would be simpler and more effective to use a probiotic in a specific drug form, such as granules for oral suspension, and combine it with other nutraceuticals.
This study looked at the effects and safety of a nutraceutical product, Lactoflorene Colesterolo®. Lactoflorene Colesterolo combines the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536, red yeast rice (RYR) extract, niacin, and coenzyme Q10, on the CVD risk indicators such as LDL-C, HDL-C, TC, non-HDL-C, TG, and apolipoprotein B.
The Study Method on Probiotics for Cardiovascular Disease
Participants aged 18-70 with low CVD risk, but high levels of LDL-C, were randomly placed into two groups: nutraceutical and placebo.
Of the 32 participants, 16 ingested the Lactoflorene Colesterolo®, while the rest took the placebo, one sachet for 12 weeks. The sachet contains granules for oral suspension.
The nutraceutical combination significantly reduced TC, LDL-C, non-HDL-C, and apolipoprotein B. Moreover, Lactoflorene Colesterolo® was well tolerated by all participants, who did not report any serious side effects.
A 12-week treatment with a nutraceutical combination containing the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and RYR extract significantly decreases CVD risk factors. Furthermore, it was well accepted by low CVD risk individuals.
Nutraceutical Approach for the Management of Cardiovascular Risk – A Combination Containing the Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and Red Yeast Rice Extract: Results from a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study