photo of probiotic yoghurt
Probiotics in your daily diet can help to lower blood pressure

Daily probiotics can improve blood pressure

23 July, 2014

Natural Health News — Probiotics in your daily diet or as supplements could help improve your blood pressure, according to new research.

Probiotics are live microorganisms (naturally occurring bacteria in the gut) thought to have beneficial effects; common sources are yoghurt or dietary supplements.

Analysing results of nine high-quality studies examining blood pressure and probiotic consumption in 543 adults with normal and elevated blood pressure, researchers writing in the journal Hypertension found:

  • Probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who didn’t consume probiotics.
  • The positive effects from probiotics on diastolic blood pressure were greatest in people whose blood pressure was equal to or greater than 130/85, which is considered elevated.
  • Consuming probiotics for less than eight weeks didn’t lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure.
  • Probiotic consumption with a daily bacteria volume of 109 (1 billion) colony-forming units and 1012  (1 trillion) colony-forming units (CFU) may improve blood pressure.  CFU is the amount of bacteria or the dose of probiotics in a product. Consumption with less than 109 CFU didn’t lower blood pressure.
  • Probiotics with multiple bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single bacteria.

Sources of probiotics in the study included yoghurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.

Although some of the studies the researchers examined were small or of a short duration they nevertheless found evidence of benefit.

“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,” said Jing Sun, Ph.D., lead author and senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.