An overwhelming number of Americans have high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults have been diagnosed with this condition. The CDC also states that only approximately half of Americans with high blood pressure have it under control. That’s frightening, as it was involved in the deaths of 410,000 Americans in 2014.
High blood pressure is linked to serious and life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. This has many people searching for a natural way to lower their blood pressure readings. If this sounds like you or someone you know, you’ll be interested to hear about a new study published in the journal Physiological Genomics.
Researchers involved in this study found that a type of bacteria may help to lower blood pressure… and that bacteria is good gut bacteria, nourished by nutritious probiotics.
As a background to their study, researchers proceeded on the basis of previous studies linking gut imbalances to cardiovascular diseases. Researchers performed the study on two groups of rats. One group had high blood pressure and the other group had normal blood pressure. Researchers took samples of gut bacteria from the intestines of both groups. Then researchers placed both groups on antibiotics to remove remaining gut bacteria.
Researchers then did a gut bacteria switch-up. They placed the gut bacteria from the hypertensive rats into the control group of rats and placed the control group bacteria into the hypertensive rats. Results showed that although the control gut bacteria did not do much to lower the blood pressure of the hypertensive rats, the hypertensive gut bacteria did indeed raise the blood pressure of the control group rats.
Can probiotics treat hypertension?
On the significance of this interesting finding, the study authors explained that the results serve as:
“… further evidence for the continued study of the microbiota in the development of hypertension in humans and supports a potential role for probiotics as treatment for hypertension. Studies showing that supplementing the diet with probiotics (beneficial microorganisms found in the gut) can have modest effects on blood pressure, especially in hypertensive models.”
In their conclusion, the authors added:
“We conclude that gut dysbiosis [microbial imbalance] can directly affect SBP [systolic blood pressure]. Manipulation of the gut microbiota may represent an innovative treatment for hypertension.”
Other benefits of probiotics
This research adds to the overwhelming list of benefits that arise from taking good care of your gut. Just a few include:
- A healthy immune system
- Improved weight loss
- More energy
- Improved muscle strength
… That’s a whole lot of benefits from tiny bacteria.
How to get your gut in tip-top shape
- As mentioned in the study, chow down on some probiotics. Natural food sources are best. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, natural yogurt, kombucha and kefir. Homemade versions are preferable to store-bought. There are also probiotic supplements available. Make extra-sure to buy only from a source you trust, as there are many imposters on the market.
- Cut processed foods out of your life. Stick to a clean diet of whole, nutritious foods, making sure there are plenty of veggies on your plates.
- Minimize your intake of sugar. Sugar can feed harmful gut bacteria.
- Don’t use antibiotics unless you really need them. If you have to take them, be sure to eat plenty of probiotic foods (and prebiotic veggies, such as asparagus) when you’re done with the course to repopulate your beneficial gut bacteria.
- Avoid antibacterial soaps, cleaners and wipes. Good old soap and water are often all you need.
— Tanya Mead