Bacteria Reduce Serum Cholesterol
Experiment Station dairy foods microbiologists working in the Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science have isolated a strain of bacteria that removes cholesterol from blood serum. Lactobacillus acidophilus occurs naturally in the human intestinal tract. Hundreds of strains may exist, and the wide degree of variation among strains is an important characteristic in determining their potential for nutrition and health benefits. These benefits range from aiding in the digestion of lactose (milk sugar) to reducing serum cholesterol. Lactobacillus acidophilus Gilliland was one of the best strains at reducing serum cholesterol from among 123 new isolates tested at OSU laboratories. Researchers found that the bacteria actually can help control serum cholesterol in two ways. First, as the bacteria grow in the intestinal tract, they take up some of the cholesterol that is present, and it becomes associated with the cells as the bacteria grow. Second, at least part of the cholesterol actually becomes incorporated into the bacterial cells. Either way, the cholesterol becomes unavailable for absoprtion from the intestine into the blood.
Further research with L. acidophilus Gilliland at the University of Kentucky has shown an average reduction of three to four percent cholesterol in persons with high blood serum cholesterol readings. This translates into a 10 to 12 percent reduction in risk of coronary heart disease, according to the Kentucky research.
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