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Because lowering serum cholesterol is a health-promoting property, microbial strains with cholesterol-lowering effects were selected as tools for the introduction of novel probiotics. Although cholesterol is an important foundation of human tissues, elevated blood cholesterol is a well-known major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) with active bile saline lytic enzymes (BSH) or products containing them are thought to reduce cholesterol levels by interacting with host bile salt metabolism.
Probiotics may exert their cholesterol-lowering effects alone and in interaction with bile acids. Past in vitro studies have evaluated some of the mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-lowering effects of probiotics. One such mechanism involves the enzymatic hydrolysis of bile acids by the probiotics' bile-salt hydrolase. Cholesterol is used to synthesize new bile acids in a steady-state reaction that leads to a reduction in serum cholesterol. The low-cholesterol effects of probiotics have also been attributed to their ability to bind cholesterol in the small intestine. Cholesterol is also removed by probiotics by incorporation into the cellular membranes during growth. Cholesterol can also be converted into fecal coprostanol in the intestine, which is excreted directly in the stool.
Fig.1 Cholesterol as the precursor for the synthesis of new bile acids and the cholesterol-lowering role of BSH produced by probiotics. (Choi, 2015)
Age and sex play a role in influencing cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels tend to increase in older people. Total cholesterol and LDL-C levels may increase in postmenopausal women. Genetics may also play a role in influencing cholesterol levels. Weight management should be focused on a healthy lifestyle to manage cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Consumption of probiotics may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
To find new probiotics with cholesterol-reducing capability, many strains have been examined using in vivo and/or in vitro tests. In general, in vitro testing precedes in vivo testing.
Cholesterol assimilation or reduction in culture medium is one of the commonly used mechanisms for in vitro experiments, as determined by measuring the cholesterol content of probiotics tested before and after complete growth in MRS medium supplemented with cholesterol.
BSH activity in probiotic strains is often associated with the ability to reduce serum cholesterol levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia. BSH activity in cell-free extracts was determined by measuring the number of amino acids released by conjugated bile salts.
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For Research Use Only. Not intended for use in food manufacturing or medical procedures (diagnostics or therapeutics). Do Not Use in Humans.