28th October|Blogs

Joining forces to stop the rise of cholesterol

Stroke and coronary heart disease are the world’s two biggest killers, and in the UK 64,000 people die from CHD every year. That’s one life lost every 8 minutes. High blood cholesterol is a major factor for heart and circulatory diseases, with LDL (the bad cholesterol) contributing to 25% of associated UK deaths1. As such, during National Cholesterol Month this October, Heart UK has been placing emphasis on the warning that over half of adults have levels exceeding the recommended levels of 5mmol/L.

While high cholesterol can be caused by genetics or underlying health conditions such as familial hypercholesterolaemia (‘FH’) or liver disease, the risk of developing heart disease can be significantly reduced through diet, exercise and reducing or abstaining from tobacco and alcohol. So why is cholesterol out of control on such a worldwide scale?

Education about healthier lifestyles

According to the results of a survey commissioned by OptiBiotix Health and our subsidiary ProBiotix Health2, this is partly because the battle to reduce cholesterol is hindered by a lack of understanding. It is of huge concern that only 21% of those polled were aware that high levels can lead to heart disease, with only 18% regularly getting their heart checked, and a mere 8% knowing how to get a cholesterol test.

Campaigns such as National Cholesterol Month and September’s World Heart Day provide vital resources, raising global awareness through social media. Their continuous work to educate communities and support healthier lifestyles is invaluable. As a result, an increasing number of consumers are modifying their diet and avoiding products that are high in saturated fats. The growing popularity of veganism is also having a positive impact. Reports have shown that those on plant-based diets have lower cholesterol levels and are 25-57% less likely to develop heart disease3.

However, the statistics gathered demonstrate that there is still much work to be done, with just 18% of those surveyed stating they know how to control cholesterol levels. National Cholesterol Month is the ideal opportunity for all in the health industry – from pharmaceutical manufacturers to healthcare specialists – to share information and consider the preventative life-saving measures that can be taken.

Genetics play their part

This includes promoting better understanding around the fact that continuous exercise and a healthy diet alone are not sufficient to reduce cholesterol effectively for everyone. Statins prescribed by health professionals have proved extremely successful in reducing total cholesterol, and a new drug, Inclisiran, is to be made available to NHS patients. Described as “revolutionary”, this medication can be used alongside statins and will be delivered as an injection twice a year4. The downside to drugs is the side effects – those associated with statins range from mild to severe and include muscle weakness and fatigue.

For those patients who are either concerned or have experienced side effects via existing methods, natural and science-backed alternatives – including probiotics – are growing in interest and demand to help reduce total cholesterol, decrease LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and improve HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. This provides an opportunity for companies to utilise functional ingredients like probiotics for their natural appeal.

Our latest survey indicated that knowledge does exist surrounding the connection between probiotics and health, with only 28% claiming to understand the benefits, of which this number is expected to increase with time. It is important that we build upon this emerging knowledge, so that the general public and health industry as a whole are aware of the science-backed options available that can help manage cholesterol.

LPLDL®, the probiotic for heart health

Lactobacillus plantarum LPLDL® (ECGC 13110402) from ProBiotix, is a scientifically supported and patented probiotic that harnesses the gut-liver axis to improve heart health. It supports cardiovascular health by reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This probiotic strain, originally isolated from vegetable juices, was discovered using extensive screening process for bacteria that could be used in food supplements to aid heart health. The probiotic not only survived the harsh conditions in the intestine, but it could also hydrolyse bile salts effectively through its mechanism of action. You can find out more by watching the video here.

Several studies conducted with UK universities have illustrated its efficacy and impact on cardiovascular health. For example, in our 12-week human study, which was double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled, participants taking LPLDL® daily found that multiple CVD biomarkers were improved, including a reduction in total cholesterol by up to 36.7% and an increase in ‘the good’ HDL cholesterol by up to 4.5%.

CholBiomeBP – the food supplement to reduce BP

In addition, LPLDL® also features as an ingredient in our blood pressure reduction food supplement, CholBiomeBP. Research carried out by the University of Pavia highlighted that CholBiomeBP, when taken daily by 40 adults with a systolic blood pressure between 130-139mmHg and diastolic blood pressure between 85-89mmHg, could lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 3% and 3.4%, respectively.

Helping hearts to take the strain

Our hearts take the strain of our lifestyles for us every day, carrying around 7,000 litres of blood around our bodies, with the average heart beating 2.5 billion times in its lifetime5. We must all work hard together to ease the pressure and keep that cycle going for as long as possible.

If you are interested in exploring the effects of LPLDL® in your food, dietary supplement or pharmaceutical application, or would like to combine your ingredient research efforts with the ProBiotix Health team, please contact us here.