Taking two doses a day of a kind of probiotic seemed to decrease levels of total and "bad" cholesterol in people with high cholesterol, according to the study.
The probiotic used in the study was a specially formulated form of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, which has been shown in past research to have positive effects on cholesterol.
The study included 127 adults who had high cholesterol. Half were given two doses a day of the probiotic, while the other half were given a placebo for nine weeks.
By the end of the study period, people who took the probiotics had 11.6% lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol than those who took the placebo, as well as 9.1% lower levels of total cholesterol. However, the probiotics group experienced no decreases in "good" HDL cholesterol levels.
It is important to note that the study was funded by the maker of a probiotic. Bloomberg News noted that the company does not yet have any probiotics on the market, but will soon be releasing the probiotic supplement used in the study next year.
Also, because the study was only presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 and not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, the findings should be regarded as preliminary.