Consumption of probiotics can improve blood pressure, a new research shows.
Priobiotics, or "healthy" gut bacteria are mostly found in yogurt and dietary supplements. Past researches have shown health benefits associated with it.
"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," lead researcher Jing Sun, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, said in a press release. "This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements."
For the study, researchers examined data from nine previous studies that involved 543 adults with normal and elevated blood pressure. The team found that regular intake of "healthy bacteria reduced systolic blood pressure by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who did not take probiotics."
According to the researchers, people whose blood pressure was equal or greater than 130/85, which is considered elevated, had most benefits due to the intake of probiotics.
The analysis also showed that people should have probiotics for more than eight weeks to see the blood pressure-lowering benefits. Researchers also noted that the supplements with multiple bacteria reduced blood pressure more than those with single bacteria.
"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.
"The studies looking at probiotics and blood pressure tend to be small," she added. "Moreover, two studies had a short duration of three to four weeks of probiotic consumption, which might have affected the overall results of the analysis."
The findings are published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.