Consistent use of Probiotic’s helps manage Blood Pressure

December 09, 2015

Consistent use of Probiotic’s helps manage Blood Pressure

Trillions of bacteria live in us and on us, over 100 Trillion, collectively named our “microbiome”. This name highlights the many interactions between the huge number of bacterial genes (the microbiome) that interact with our much smaller number of human genes; the human genome. Although about a third of these trillions of bacteria are the same from person to person, there can be a significant variation of bacterial species in the other two-thirds. This mix of species is strongly influenced by our diet, and our lifestyle, by the chemicals and cleaners we use, our level of sanitation, and our exposure to antibiotics.

Some of our bacteria are very health enhancing and support good digestion, regularity, a robust and properly functioning immune system, metabolism in general including our blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, and to a degree our blood lipid levels. The bacteria even influence our appetite and our body mass index (the ratio of how much fat to how much muscle we have).

Some of our other bacteria are opportunistic, meaning in certain circumstances they infect us and sometimes can become remarkably dangerous. This opportunism occurs in hospitalized people in a weakened state after multiple courses of antibiotics, but it also occurs in people with compromised immune systems.

Research is quickly uncovering which bacterial species influence obesity, heart health and blood sugar. Here is another level of evidence supporting the knowledge of how bacteria can help or hurt our cardiovascular health. It is a review of nine human clinical trials published in the July 21st, 2014 issue of the journal Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

The review from Griffith University Medical School included 543 adults and shows that probiotic supplements decrease systolic blood pressure by 3.56 points on average (the top figure in our pressure reading) and by 2.38 points on average for the bottom figure in our blood pressure which is the diastolic blood pressure. This effect was greatest in people with an elevated blood pressure reading above 130/85.  Consuming probiotics for less than eight-weeks did not help regulate blood pressure and probiotics with multiple types of bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single strain of bacteria.

Dr. Bruce Rutkin is a cardiologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He said that "prior studies have demonstrated that probiotics and their products may favorably impact blood pressure through a variety of mechanisms." Those include a lowering of blood levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and helping to control blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance - a key player in diabetes. Dr Rutkin notes that the reduction in blood pressure tied to probiotic products was "modest," but he believes that "in conjunction with a heart-healthy lifestyle, they may play a role in modifying cardiovascular risk."