Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yogurt or dietary supplements. The researchers found that probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who didn’t consume probiotics.
The positive effects from probiotics on diastolic blood pressure were greatest in people whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which was considered elevated. Consuming probiotics for less than eight weeks didn’t lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Probioticconsumption with a daily bacteria volume of 109-10 12 colony-forming units (CFU) might improve blood pressure. Consumption with less than 109 CFU didn’t lower blood pressure. CFU was the amount of bacteria or the dose of probiotics in a product.
It was also established that probiotics with multiple bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with single bacteria.
Jing Sun, Ph.D., said that the small collection of studies they looked at suggested that regular consumption of probiotics could be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
She further explained that probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, like 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.
Additional studies would be required before doctors could confidently recommend probiotics for high blood pressure control and prevention.
The research is published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.