Probiotics are living microorganisms that are beneficial for our health. They are commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles. Probiotics have been linked to a range of health benefits like improved digestion, immune system function, and mental health. Recently, there has been growing evidence to suggest that probiotics can also support cardiovascular health.
Research has shown that probiotics can help lower blood pressure and reduce levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. One study published in the journal Hypertension found that consuming probiotics for 8 weeks significantly lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that daily consumption of a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 for 9 weeks reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 11.6% compared to a placebo.
Probiotics may also help reduce inflammation, a key contributor to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found that a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus reduced levels of inflammatory markers in people with coronary artery disease.
While the evidence supporting the cardiovascular benefits of probiotics is still limited, it's clear that they can play a role in promoting heart health. If you're interested in adding probiotics to your diet, consider incorporating more fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement. As always, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
- Khalesi, S., Sun, J., Buys, N., & Jayasinghe, R. (2014). Effect of probiotics on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Hypertension, 64(4), 897-903.
- Jones, M. L., Martoni, C. J., Prakash, S., & Cholesterol, H. A. (2012). Cholesterol-lowering efficacy of a microencapsulated bile salt hydrolase-active Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 yoghurt formulation in hypercholesterolaemic adults. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 23(7), 692-697.
- Sánchez, B., Delgado, S., Blanco-Míguez, A., Lourenço, A., Gueimonde, M., & Margolles, A. (2014). Probiotics, gut microbiota, and their influence on host health and disease. Molecular nutrition & food research, 58(8), 1471-1482.
- Yadav, H., Jain, S., & Sinha, P. R. (2008). Oral administration of dahi containing probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei delayed the progression of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats. Journal of dairy research, 75(2), 189-195.
- Jones, R. M., Deshpande, A., & Scheiman, J. (2019). The gut microbiome and its role in cardiovascular diseases. Current cardiology reports, 21(7), 1-8.