A review published in Hypertension shows that regularly consuming probiotics may help control blood pressure.
The researchers analyzed the results of nine studies that randomly assigned participants to take probiotics or not. Seven of the trials were double-blind, meaning neither the participants nor the experimenters knew who received probiotics and who received a probiotic-free placebo until the end of the study. The different strains of probiotics were delivered in products like yogurt and milk. The studies included a total of almost 550 people.
The researchers found that on average, probiotic consumption lowered systolic blood pressure by 3.56 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.38 mm Hg, compared to a placebo or no treatment. Getting at least 100 billion colony-forming units of probiotics each day, the amount in a carton of some yogurts, seemed to be necessary for significant blood pressure improvements. No change in blood pressure was seen among participants who were given probiotics for less than eight weeks. In addition, the researchers noted that the effect of probiotics was strongest among people who already had elevated blood pressure.