Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of developing hypertension.
Studies suggest that probiotics, both in supplement form or as part of a diet, help reduce high blood pressure.
A recent study has found that two probiotics are effective in lowering the blood pressure of mice with hypertension, raising the possibility that they could have a similar effect in humans.
The World Health Organization reports that 1.28 billion people over the age of 30 are affected by hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Unfortunately, nearly half of those individuals are unaware of their condition since it is usually asymptomatic unless their blood pressure is significantly elevated.
High blood pressure can lead to severe health issues, such as heart failure, heart attack, aneurysm, kidney failure, stroke, amputation, and eye damage resulting in vision loss.
To protect their health, individuals should quit smoking, consume alcohol in moderation, keep a healthy body weight, and eat a nutritious diet.
Studies have indicated that following a diet such as the Mediterranean diet may positively impact the gut microbiome. This could be due to the increase in probiotics or beneficial bacteria it encourages.
A mouse study has recently revealed that two probiotics, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, may reduce blood pressure in mice.
Research has demonstrated a correlation between an imbalance in gut bacteria and hypertension in both humans and animals. Bacterial processes can influence the immune system and lead to inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, ultimately impacting blood pressure regulation.
Several studies have found that certain bacterial species, including Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp., commonly present in dairy products, can positively affect blood pressure levels.
This study analysed the influence of two types of bacteria - Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9 - on mice who were made hypertensive after consuming 15% fructose-infused water instead of regular water.
The trial lasted 16 weeks, and the mice were divided into four groups. The first group was given fructose and saline intragastrically, the second group was given fructose and B. lactis, the third group was given fructose and L. rhamnosus, and the fourth group was the control group and only given pure water. Intragastric saline was used to administer all probiotics to the mice.
The mice given probiotics experienced a decrease in blood pressure, returning to the same level as the unaffected mice. The mice that were not treated with probiotics, however, continued to have high levels of hypertension due to their fructose-heavy diet.
A high fructose diet was given to mice with hypertension, and the probiotics B. lactis M8 and L. rhamnosus M9 resulted in decreased blood pressure levels.
Not only did the probiotics lower the blood pressure of the mice, but they also altered the composition of the mice’s gut microbiome.
These probiotics seem to lower blood pressure by altering the composition of the gut microbiome - increasing the number of bacteria that are known to cause lower blood pressure (Lawsonia and Pyrolobus) and decreasing the number of bacteria that are linked to higher blood pressure (Alistipes and Alloprevotella).
It appears that the reason why B. lactis M8 and L. rhamnosus M9 affected the mice's blood pressure, which is related to regulating the host's metabolism. This was evidenced by the reduction of blood pressure, which correlated with an increase in Lawsonia and Pyrolobus and a decrease in Alistipes and Alloprevotella.
This research study has revealed how gut microbiota can influence the host's overall health. It was found that metabolic pathways such as vascular smooth muscle contraction, serotonergic synapse, and cholinergic synapse were regulated by the two strains of gut microbiota observed.
Researchers are still unsure if this data applies to humans. The next step in this study involves testing and verifying these results on humans. They also want to determine the amount and duration of probiotic treatment to offer a beneficial effect.
Research has indicated that a probiotic intake of 30-50 billion per day for three months is recommended for people.
Despite this, researchers urge caution in using probiotics, as individual gut microbiota compositions can change based on factors such as age and gender. It is necessary to conduct further research to determine probiotic therapy's optimal dosage and duration to ensure its effectiveness.
Although not conclusively proven to reduce blood pressure, research into the health benefits of probiotics is increasing. A 2013 review of studies indicated that probiotics may be beneficial in managing intestinal health, lactose intolerance, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, infectious diarrhoea, and allergies.
It was found that consuming Lactobacillus could have a significant effect on lowering total blood cholesterol.
Probiotics can be ingested either through dietary supplements or through eating probiotic-rich foods.
Rather than relying on supplements, people should obtain essential nutrients like probiotics from natural food sources, as these provide a more comprehensive range of nutrients.
Those looking to benefit from probiotic supplements should seek products with an active form and various strains in sufficient quantities. Those with weakened immune systems should talk to their doctor before taking probiotic supplements.
Eating a diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, yoghurt, cheese, and fermented foods can help ensure that people get the nutrients they need for good health.
Generally, consuming a nutritious and varied diet that includes probiotic and prebiotic-containing food is beneficial.
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