The researchers looked at a collection of studies which suggested that regular consumption of probiotics as part of a healthy lifestyle can help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Analysis of results of nine studies examining blood pressure and probiotic consumption in 543 adults with normal and elevated blood pressure suggested that probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) was reduced 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.
But consuming probiotics for less than eight weeks didn't lower systolic or diastolic blood pressure.
The probiotics in the studies were found in yogurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.
The researchers, led by Jing Sun, PhD, senior lecturer at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, found that probiotic consumption with a daily bacteria volume of 109 billion colony-forming units (CFU) or more had better results.
Probiotics with multiple bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single bacteria.
Lower blood pressure
“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.
In calling for further study, she noted the studies looking at probiotics and blood pressure tend to be small. "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.”
2014;64:00-00. DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03469
‘Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials’
Authors: Saman Khalesi, Jing Sun, Nicholas Buys, Rohan Jayasinghe