Probiotics Improves High Blood Pressure in A New Study
Doggy Bag Message First:
Consuming probiotics – over 100 billion CFU’s a day – can moderately lower blood pressure. Probiotics have many other health benefits so its one of my big three. Exercise, low carb eating and fish oils also helps with lower blood pressure as well, likely by reducing body fat and controlling insulin insensitivity.
A meta-analysis looking at over 540 participants total showed the following:
• Those who consumed 100 billion CFU or more had the lowest reduction in blood pressure.
• Probiotic species varied among the trials; four studies used yogurt as the source of probiotic bacteria, two used fermented and sour milk, one used probiotic supplements in capsule form, one used probiotic rosehip drinks, and one used probiotic cheese.
• The reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were approximately 3.5 mmHg systolic (upper number) and 2.4 mmHg diastolic (lower number).
• Researchers observed larger reductions of blood pressure among those who consumed multiple probiotic species compared to those who consumed just one species.
LINK to the Abstract of this study.
Some Basics First About Probiotics:
What are probiotics? Probiotics are live microorganism which when consumed can offer a variety of health benefits. They can be consumed in a variety of forms; yogurt, cultured milk capsules, beverage, kimchi, kefir pickled cabbage and others.
Probiotics usually contain a genus, a species and strain.
For example, most people recognize the genus acidophilus and say, “I need to get my acidophilus” as if it’s a brand of probiotics.
Acidophilus is only one species of a variety of genus’ of probiotics.
So, Lactobacillus (genus) acidophilus (species) is what you would read on the label. There are hundreds of probiotics genus and species in the market.
Here are a few commonly found in probiotic supplements and foods: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Streptococcus thermophilus.
What do Probiotics do: Probiotics are found through out the digestive system, mainly in the small intestine and they have a variety of functions including stimulating the immune system, eliminating the bad bacteria and making vitamin K.
When purchasing probiotics a few things need to be taken into account:
- How many organisms are alive in the product
- The genus and strains on the label should match what’s in the bottle
- If taking a probiotic supplement, the capsule must pass through the stomach ( an acidic environment) and work its way down to the intestines.
- Not contain any harmful organisms
Lastly, probiotics are measured in number of live organisms per dose – using CFU as units. CFU stands for; C – colonizing, F – forming, U – units.
My Take On This
Probiotics are a top three supplement on my list of most important nutrients. Hands down. You get a slew of benefit from consuming probiotics including; better digestion, gentle way of promoting bowel movement and strengthening the immune system.
Now we know probiotics can help with moderately lowering blood pressure.* By the way, a drop of 3.5 points systolic and 2.5 points diastolic is not insignificant.
To compare, researchers from the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) study showed a 3.3 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure, along with a 1.4 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, with the use of the pharmaceutical ramipril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor . This moderate reduction in blood pressure (not as significant as the probiotic study by Khalesi et al.) was associated with a 22% reduction in risk of cardiovascular mortality, heart attack or stroke.
Which probiotic is right for you? Not and easy question for me to answer since I was involved in the formulation of this probiotic. So I’m a bit biased.
There are other additional good probiotic brands out there but these are the ones I have the most experience with.
Bottom line: Take probiotics everyday by food or though a good dietary supplement. Choose one with the highest CFU’s per serving and with as many genus and species as possible. And take as many 30 to 60 billion CFU a day for general health. If you are trying to control blood pressure naturally consider upwards of about 100 billion CFU according and one with as many species as possible according to the Khalesi et al. study. * However, you may not need that high of a dosage if your are doing others things to support your cardiovascular system – stay away from refined sugar and simple carbs and exercise everyday.
Oh, and yes, take fish oils. If you read this blog post – consuming 2 grams (or 2000 mg) a day of fish oils can also reduce blood pressure according to research.*
Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, Jayasinghe R.Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials.Hypertension. 2014 Jul 21.
ConsumerLab.com has a great review on probiotics and a list of those that “don’t pass muster” – you may need to become a member for a fee to see the article. If you are a big supplement consumer then the fee may be worth it.