A very recent scientific research indicates a new possible treatment against hypertension and its consequences on the heart, blood vessels, eyes and brain, the intake of probiotics! Let us try to understand better by discussing the results of the study published a few weeks ago in the journal mSystems by a group of Chinese scientists (Zhang et al, mSystems, 2023).
Probiotics are anti-hypertensive, the study
The study took place in the laboratory on a population of mice, half of which had hypertension induced by the consumption of water and fructose. Probiotics of the Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus types were administered to some of the mice with hypertension. After 4 months it emerged that the mice that had taken the probiotics had a significant reduction in blood pressure, which returned to normal values as in mice without hypertension. Probiotics were able to rebalance the intestinal microbiota altered by the intake of water and fructose. In particular, this mix of water and fructose had caused an increase in some bacteria responsible for raising blood pressure. Probiotics, on the other hand, reduced the number of these bacteria and increased the other good and beneficial bacteria in the microbiota.
The study has a limitation and that is that it was conducted only on animals. So more research will need to be done to confirm the beneficial effects of probiotics on blood pressure in humans too. However, what emerged in this study and the results of previous studies give rise to hope. In fact, a 2013 research had already shown a reduction in blood pressure in people who had ingested fermented milk with probiotics and a small 2020 research had shown that the intake of probiotics in hypertensive people with diabetes leads to a lower blood pressure (Dong et al, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, 2013 - Chi et al, Curr Hypertens Rep, 2020). While waiting for science to provide greater clarity, analyzing the action of probiotics on vast sections of the population, it is certainly important to take care of our gut microbiota, taking probiotics, through supplements, yogurt or drinks that indicate it on the label, fermented foods and foods prebiotics, such as onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory and whole oats. In this way we can support the good intestinal bacteria and promote their anti-inflammatory action, known thanks to various scientific research, and anti-hypertensive effect, as we learned today.
Another lesson that emerges from the research
There is still one recommendation to make, which emerges indirectly from the study seen today. Sugar and fructose can also cause hypertension. The mechanism has not yet been fully clarified, but it is thought that the increase in blood pressure due to a high and regular consumption of these substances may be the consequence of an increase in insulin resistance and sodium retention, as well as an alteration of the gut microbiota. Therefore, to control blood pressure it is important not to exceed even with sugar!