Probiotics in yogurt lowers blood pressure, protects against heart disease/stroke

Researchers at the Griffith Health Institute and School of Medicine in Australia examined data from nine trials involving more than 540 participants. They found consuming the live bacteria lowered people’s blood pressure levels particularly in those with higher readings. The live micro-organisms which naturally occur in the gut are also commonly found in yogurt and dietary supplements.

Probiotics with multiple species of bacteria also worked better than those containing a single type of bacterium.

Lead author Dr Jing Sun, said: “The small collection of studies we looked at suggest regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle to help reduce high blood pressure, as well as maintain healthy blood pressure levels. This includes probiotics in yoghurt, fermented and sour milk and cheese, and probiotic supplements.’

Despite the benefits identified in consuming probiotics, the study found taking the supplements for less than eight weeks did not affect blood pressure.

Dr Sun added: ‘We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, including improving cholesterol, reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance. 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 probiotics consumption, which might have affected the overall results of the analysis.

She said additional studies are needed before doctors can confidently recommend probiotics.