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July 2014

Probiotics Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

Regularly consuming probiotics can help lower blood pressure, according to a new study.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (sometimes referred to as "friendly germs") that help to maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in digestion. They also help keep potentially harmful organisms in the gut (harmful bacteria and yeasts) under control. Probiotics have been found to enhance the digestion and absorption of proteins, fats, calcium, and phosphorus. There is also limited evidence suggesting that probiotics may help reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, in overweight people.

In a new study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for well-designed clinical trials evaluating the effects of probiotics on blood pressure. Nine studies were ultimately identified for inclusion.

Through data analyses, the researchers found that probiotic consumption was linked to a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, by 3.56 mm Hg and 2.39 mm Hg, respectively. Greater drops in blood pressure occurred when multiple strains of probiotic species were consumed, rather than just one single species. The authors noted that significant changes in blood pressure were only found when probiotics were consumed for more than 8 weeks, and when probiotic doses were greater than 1,011 colony forming units daily.

The authors concluded that regularly consuming probiotics, particularly multiple species of probiotics, might reduce blood pressure. Additional research is needed to further evaluate these findings.

For information about probiotics, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for high blood pressure, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.

References

  1. Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, et al. Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials. Hypertension. 2014 Jul 21.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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