July 21st, 2014
Probiotics May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
As interest in probiotics has grown in recent years, some evidence has emerged that probiotics may favorably reduce blood pressure, but trials have been small and inconsistent. Now a meta-analysis published in Hypertension suggests that the blood-pressure lowering effects of probiotics may be genuine.
Saman Khalesi and colleagues analyzed data from nine parallel, randomized, controlled trials including 543 participants. Overall, the probiotic arms had a 3.56-mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 2.38-mm Hg reduction in diastolic BP, relative to controls. A larger reduction in blood pressure was observed in trials in which baseline blood pressure was at least 130/85 mm Hg, when treatment lasted at least 8 weeks, and when the daily dose of probiotics contained a larger number of colony-forming units.
The authors note that although the treatment effect was “modest … even a small reduction of BP may have important public health benefits and cardiovascular consequences.” They conclude that their findings “suggest that probiotics may be used as a potential supplement for future interventions to prevent hypertension or improve BP control.”
“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 the lead author of the study, Jing Sun, in a press release. “This includes probiotics in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.”