Probiotic for your Heart?

fixitplan newsL. Reuteri – A probiotic that targets cardiovascular disease

As promised in the Progress Report I posted a few weeks ago, I want to tell you about something new we’ve learned.   It all started during Bill’s checkup in April last year when Dr. Crandall encouraged us to look into a probiotic for heart health.  Well.. you don’t have to ask me twice!  I researched it as soon as I got home, and Bill started taking it that very week.  It’s called Lactobacillus Reuteri 30242, or more commonly known as L. Reuteri.  It’s a specific strain of Lactobacillus–a friendly bacteria that lives in our bodies and is found in some fermented foods like yogurt. These friendly bacteria are also called probiotics.

fixitplan L. Reuteri for heart health
By Reyesangel3 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0

The American Heart Association reported this probiotic lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.  In the study, a dosage of 100 mg taken twice daily was used, and after only 9 weeks total cholesterol dropped an average of 9.1% and LDL dropped 11.6% as compared to the study participants taking the placebo.

And so did Bill’s!  He began taking L. Reuteri in April in a dose of 2.5 Billion CFU (colony forming units) twice daily with food.  At the end of September his new lipid profile showed his total cholesterol had dropped 6.9% Bill Peterson fixitplanfrom 188 to 175, and his LDL dropped a whopping 18% from 115 to 94. This was especially good news because the time between April and September was a time when our lives were emotionally out of whack and he had not been as diligent with exercise and diet.  Though still good, he was not as good as he had been.  Fortunately he’s back on track!

And there’s another great thing about this method of lowering cholesterol.  Unlike statin drugs, it has no effect on good (HDL) cholesterol, and we found this true in Bill’s labwork–his HDL was unchanged.

LEF Florassist

While I’m sure there are a number of brands available, Bill takes one from Life Extension Foundation called Florassist Heart Health Probiotic.  Could he do even better on his next checkup?

Scientists fixitplan health news
Urcomunicacion – (Own work) CC BY 3.0

If you want to read more about L. Reuteri, I’ll post links to some resources below.   A 2014 review from the Mayo Clinic says “it will soon be important for practicing clinicians to have an understanding of the basic concepts of the human microbiome and its relation to human health and disease.”   There’s been a lot of medical buzz of late about the healthy bacteria that live in our bodies, and the role they may play in all kinds of diseases and auto-immune disorders.  A poor quality diet as well as medicines such as antibiotics are believed to disrupt the healthy balance of our microbiome.   What can we do?  Dr. Andrew Weil says to eat an abundance of unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and increase our consumption of fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt, plus taking a probiotic supplement may help.

More reading:

“Potential of probiotics in controlling cardiovascular diseases”  National Institute of Health
“Daily Doses of a new probiotic reduces “bad” and total cholesterol” American Heart Association
“Unique Probiotic Targets Cardiovascular Disease” Life Extension Foundation