Two probiotics have been identified as promising treatments for hypertension

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An estimated 40% of the global adult population has high blood pressure, or hypertension, which puts people at risk of cardiovascular disease and other dangerous health conditions. Recent studies suggest that probiotics may offer a protective effect, but researchers do not yet fully understand why shaping the gut microbiome may regulate blood pressure.

A study published on mSystems adding two new strains to the list of probiotics with the ability to lower blood pressure.

In experiments on hypertensive rats, treatment with two probiotics, Bifidobacteria lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, returned blood pressure to normal levels. The researchers also monitored how these probiotics altered the animals’ gut microbial mix over 16 weeks, identifying specific bacteria and metabolic pathways that may help explain the effects. protect.

Computational biologist Jun Li, PhD, at the City University of Hong Kong said: “Accumulating evidence supports the blood pressure-lowering effects of probiotics and fermented foods containing probiotics in both experiments. in vitro and in vivo experiments”. Her team worked with microbiologist Dr. Zhihong Sun at Inner Mongolia Agricultural University on this study. “Therefore, we believe that including probiotic foods in the diet would be a good complement to traditional hypertension treatments.”

Previous studies have connected increasing rates of hypertension worldwide to increased sugar consumption. For example, it can increase blood pressure through a variety of mechanisms, such as increasing insulin resistance or salt retention, but in recent years, researchers have also studied the effects of sugar on the blood system. intestinal microorganisms.

In the new study, researchers tested two probiotic strains on mice with high blood pressure after drinking water laced with fructose. For 16 weeks, they measured the animals’ blood pressure every four weeks. They found that fructose-fed mice that received probiotics had significantly lower blood pressure than mice that were fed a high-fructose diet and not treated with probiotics.

Additionally, the researchers found no difference between the blood pressure readings of mice fed fructose and the control group of mice that drank only water. That suggests probiotic intervention would maintain blood pressure at normal levels, Li said.

Researchers used short metagenomic sequencing to probe the link between altered gut microbiota and changes in blood pressure. They found that a high-fructose diet in mice led to an increase in Bacteroidetes and a decrease in Firmicutes bacteria; however, probiotic treatment returned those populations to those found in the control group.

Additionally, the analysis identified new bacterial markers associated with blood pressure: Increased levels of Lawsonia and Pyrolobus bacteria and decreased levels of Alistipes and Alloprevotella were associated with reduced blood pressure.

Researchers are now planning to conduct a large clinical trial to see whether the protective effects of probiotics work in people with hypertension. “Probiotics are a promising direction in preventive medicine, offering potential in modulating hypertension and reshaping our approach to cardiovascular health,” said Sun. ”.

More information:
mSystems (2023).

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