Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 is considered to be a “heart-healthy” probiotic because it helps lower LDL and total cholesterol. Plus, it’s the only probiotic strain that might give your vitamin D levels a boost. Can it also reset the gut microbiome in people with IBD? Read on for a breakdown of the complete research on its possible health benefits and side effects. What is Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242?
Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 was discovered in 2010 by a team of Canadian scientists. It was initially selected among other probiotic strains in the lab for safety and desired qualities before being tested in clinical trials [ 1 ].
Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 was first called “Cardioviva” but is now trademarked “Microbiome Plus.”
It has been granted a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) designation by the FDA. Interestingly, several Lactobacillus probiotics have GRAS status because they’re a normal part of our gut flora and have a long history of safe use in traditional fermented foods.
However, Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and lack large-scale clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for supplements but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
Scientists think Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 may work by helping the body take in less and get rid of more cholesterol.
L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 carries an important enzyme called bile salt hydrolase (BSH) . This enzyme sets bile acids free from their bound form ( deconjugating them) [ 2 ].
Bile acids conjugated into bile salts with the amino acids glycine or taurine have digestive action [ 3 ].
Free bile acids in the gut reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut that comes from both food and circulating bile. Unlike bound bile salts, free bile acids attach to cholesterol and get eliminated with the stool [ 4 ].
To make up for the loss, the liver increases the production of new bile acids. The body breaks down more cholesterol to keep up [ 4 ].
When free bile acids are released in the gut, mucin production also rises . Mucin is a gel-like layer that lies on top of the gut lining. It helps protect the gut lining, repair gut damage, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Low mucin has been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) [ 2 , 5 ].
On a cellular level, the BSH action of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 may turn “off” the farnesoid receptor (FXR) . In turn, more cholesterol gets broken down and more bile acids get produced [ 4 ].
Scientists believe this mechanism may trigger liver cells to release more cholesterol by activating receptors called ABCG5 and ABCG8 . Released cholesterol is flushed back into the gut and bile to be eliminated with the stool, which prevents cholesterol buildup [ 4 ].
L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 likely works by increasing free bile acids, which reduces cholesterol absorption and possibly increases gut-protective mucin. Potential Benefits of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242
Possibly Effective for:
1) High Cholesterol
According to limited clinical evidence, L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 may be a good complementary strategy for lowering high blood cholesterol levels.
In a 2012 study, microencapsulated Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 yogurt twice a day was tested against placebo in 114 adults with high cholesterol. It reduced LDL by ~9%, total cholesterol by ~5%, and non-HDL cholesterol by 6% over 6 weeks [ 6 ].
A limitation of this study is that it excluded people taking statins.
In a follow-up study of 127 people, researchers tested Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 as capsules over 9 weeks and reported a stronger effect. This regimen reduced [ 7 ]: Total cholesterol by ~9%
Non-HDL cholesterol by ~11%
LDL-C/HDL-C ratio by ~13%, and
ApoB -100 by ~8% compared to placebo
Overall, it worked better than probiotics that are currently used for high cholesterol [ 6 ].
For example, a meta-analysis of 13 smaller probiotic clinical studies reported a mean reduction of LDL cholesterol by only ~3%. None included L. reuteri strains [ 8 ].A more recent meta-analysis of 30 trials (including one Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 trial) reported that probiotics in general lower LDL by only ~4% [ 9 ]. Cholesterol Hyperabsorbers Probiotic supplementation might be better personalized in the future, according to some researchers. Limited evidence points to a greater benefit of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 in cholesterol hyperabsorber s : people who absorb too much cholesterol but produce little. This subgroup tends to respond poorly to statins and better to Zetia [ 10 , 11 ].Upcoming studies should investigate Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 in this group. They should also test it as an add-on or alternative to statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs in more people, taking into account their genetics and labs. Summary:Some clinical trials show that L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and high total cholesterol levels. Insufficient Evidence for: The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 for any of the below-listed uses. 2) High Plant Sterols In the clinical trial of 127 people, Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 capsules taken over 9 weeks decreased three plant sterols in the blood [ 7 ]: Campesterol by 41.5% Sitosterol by 34.2%, and Stigmasterol by 40.7% Your blood sterol levels reflect how much dietary cholesterol your body absorbs. This can help your doctor determine whether you’re a cholesterol hyperabsorber (hint: look into sterols testing). About one in four people are hyperabsorbers [ 12 , 10 ].Besides, excessively high plant sterols in the blood can be dangerous. We know this from sitosterolemia, a rare genetic disorder that causes a massive buildup of plant sterols in the body, fatty growths under the skin, and heart complications [ 13 ]. Common genetic mutations ( ABCG5 , ABCG8 ) can also raise blood sterols levels above the normal range . Possible consequences include abnormal red blood cells, anemia, giant platelets, increased bleeding, and adrenal […]