A new study from the journal of the American Heart Association says that eating probiotics might lower blood pressure. The news may be a welcome relief to those suffering from hypertension (high-blood pressure) and have a tough time lowering their stress or salt intake.
Probiotics are live micro-organisms which provide a benefit to health when consumed. Researchers have claimed that the bacteria can improve stomach health, the immune system, mental health and even fight off colds. Many of these claims are still being verified, and researchers sometimes have a difficult time separating the hype from the science.
This blood pressure study will make one more experiment for researchers to replicate.
The study’s authors gave 540 participants probiotics to eat for eight weeks. Compared to a control group, those participants had small reductions in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure, which is the top number on a blood pressure measurement, was reduced by just over 3 mmHG. Diastolic pressure, the lower number, went down a little over 2 mmHG.
It’s not a huge drop, but when combined with other healthy habits, might enough to stave off heart disease.
Another study on hypertension, the Heart Outcome Prevention Evaluation, found that a drop of systolic pressure by 3.3mm Hg and diastolic pressure by 1.4mm Hg, lowered the chance of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent.
There are a couple of snags for those hopping on the probiotic heart-health wagon.
First, people who started with higher blood pressure tended to see the greatest effect. Those people with only mild hypertension might not be affected. Likewise, people who took probiotics for less than eight weeks did not see a significant reduction in blood pressure, meaning that the positive effects would only be evident after patients consistently made probiotics a part of the daily routine for an extended amount of time.
“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 study author Jing Sun. “This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”
There are currently about 67 million Americans – about one in three adults, suffering from suffering from high-blood pressure.
Lack of exercise, poor diet and stress are believed to be the main causes.
Now, probiotics might hold the solution to saving the lives of some of these people.
For the full study on probiotics and blood pressure click here.
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