Probiotic intestinal bacteria may help high blood pressure

August 04, 2014

Probiotic intestinal bacteria may help high blood pressure

A great deal of research proves that consuming probiotics - "good" bacteria - promotes a healthy gut. But new research shows that probiotics could also help lower blood pressure.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that occur naturally in the gut. These microorganisms are also present in small amounts in some foods, such as live-cultured yogurt and aged cheeses.

A team of researchers led by Dr Jing Sun of the School of Medicine at Griffith University in Australia, analyzed data from nine high-quality studies of probiotic supplementation 543 adults a number of whom had high blood poressure. They found that consuming Probiotics either from foods or supplements “may help reduce high blood pressure and maintain healthy blood pressure”

On average, participants who had consumed probiotics daily for 8 weeks or more had a 3.5 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries when the heart beats) and a 2.38 mm Hg lower diastolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries between heartbeats), compared with those who did not consume probiotics. This is an important finding since powerful prescription diuretic drugs typically lower blood pressure 11 points on average. The effects were strongest among participants with high blood pressure - defined as 130/85 mm Hg or more - and greater benefits were found from consumption of probiotic products that contained multiple bacteria.

However, the researchers note that consumption of probiotics with fewer than one-billion colony-forming units (CFU) - the level of bacteria or dose of probiotics in a product - did not improve blood pressure, nor did consumption of these probiotics for less than 8 weeks. The research is published in the journal Hypertension.