Probiotics lower blood pressure, according to multiple-study research

Probiotics provided via yogurt and supplements appear to lower blood pressure, according to research from Australia that included a review of nine earlier studies.

The blood pressure-lowering effect from probiotics was greatest among people with elevated blood pressure, and was demonstrated only after use for at least eight weeks.

As with all such studies, researchers caution that more studies are needed before doctors can confidently recommend probiotics for high blood pressure control and prevention. However, for now it appears blood pressure regulation is one more benefit in a long list of benefits probiotics have been proven to provide.

“The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels,” said Jing Sun, Ph.D., lead author and senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. “This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”

The total number of participants in the studies was 543 people, and the positive effects were greatest in people whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which is considered elevated.

Another import factor that appears to be proven with this research is a claim probiotic manufactures have advocated for years: products with multiple strains of probiotics are more effective.

In this particular study the probiotics with multiple bacteria strains lowered blood pressure more than those with a single bacteria strain.

In summarizing the results of the research, Dr. Sun explained: “We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, including improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance,” Sun said.

Sources: American Heart Association, ScienceDaily.com.