Beat back high blood pressure with good bacteria

I never thought I’d be tipping my hat to the American Heart Association in a conversation about blood pressure control. But there’s a first time for everything. And the latest study to appear in the AHA’s journal Hypertension is just too jaw-dropping to ignore.

Not because the results are shocking. But because, for once, the mainstream media is actually reporting on the benefits of one of my favorite supplements.

I’m talking about probiotics. Researchers performed a meta-analysis of nine different clinical trials and more than 500 adults. Their goal was to identify the blood pressure benefits of probiotic consumption.

And results of their analysis showed that daily doses of good bacteria lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 3.56 mm Hg. And diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) fell by 2.38 mm Hg.

Now, this may seem like a small benefit. But as these researchers pointed out—and as I’ve mentioned myself many times before—a little goes a long way where your blood pressure is concerned.

Even these seemingly modest reductions could cut your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by 22 percent—a significant benefit, by any standard. And according to this study, the benefit is even greater for people who already have high blood pressure.

So let me say this one more time: Please… take your probiotics. Just make sure you stick to the standards I’ve set out here before. Because this study had a couple of other findings that are worth mentioning.

For one thing, subjects only saw benefits if they took probiotics for eight weeks or longer. These researchers also noted that multiple strains of bacteria worked far better than single ones. In your gut’s microbiome, diversity is key.  This is a critical point that I’m always driving home.

So make sure to seek out a quality probiotic formula with multiple strains of bacteria. And while it’s true that good bacteria can change your body for the better in a single day’s time, you still have to stick to a regular regimen if you’re going to reap the best rewards.


“Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials.” Hypertension. 2014 Jul 21.

Walton, Alice G. “New Study Says Probiotics May Help People With High Blood Pressure.” Forbes. 21 June 2014.