Look to your belly.
Yes, I did say your BELLY. The bacteria in our guts could be the hidden key to better blood pressure, according to a 9-study-strong review.
The review in the journal Hypertension took a look at the effects of the long-term use of probiotics on blood pressure. Researchers found that regularly taking these good gut bugs can potentially help reduce high blood pressure, as well as help you maintain healthy levels.
When the research team dug through all the data they found that regularly taking a probiotic appears to lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average of 3.56 mm Hg. Certainly nothing to sneeze at!
But the good news didn’t end there. Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number, of course) was also reduced by an average of 2.38 mm Hg, when compared to those not taking a probiotic.
Lower your blood pressure with probiotics
The researchers concluded “consuming probiotics may improve BP by a modest degree, with a potentially greater effect when baseline BP is elevated…”
In other words, it’s not just good for keeping healthy BP healthy, it could also help those of us who need to lower those numbers by a bit.
And let’s face it, coming from the mouth of a starched and pressed researcher, that dry line qualifies as high praise.
But head researcher Jing Sun, PhD, didn’t stop there with her praise for the humble probiotic… not by a long shot.
Sun also said, “We believe probiotics might help lower blood pressure by having other positive effects on health, including improving total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol; reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance; and by helping to regulate the hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance.”
Improving cholesterol? Reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance? And regulating blood pressure? Wow that sure is one powerful pill!
But I suppose we shouldn’t be all THAT surprised.
We’ve had plenty of clues before this that our gut flora plays a critical role in keeping us healthy. That’s why I’ve been recommending probiotics for years now.
Lose weight, fight diabetes and more with good belly bugs
Probiotics are good for everything from shoring up your immunity to supporting your bones.
I’ve been telling you about the connection been probiotics and brain health for years now. Animal experiments found that a common bacteria used in many probiotic supplements could ease stress and anxiety. Researchers believe that the probiotic targets the genes responsible for producing the neurotransmitter GABA.
And just last year I told you about an exciting human study that appears to confirm those brain benefits. Researchers hooked a group of women up to an MRI to record brain reactions and showed them pictures of angry or frightened faces.
They were then given a yogurt containing a mix of several probiotics to eat for several weeks. Later, when the same angry-face experiment was repeated, the women’s brains appeared to manage the emotional stress better than before, lighting up less in response to the upsetting images.
They’ve even found that good belly bugs could help you lower your body fat and lose weight. In fact, in one Canadian experiment, dieting women who took a probiotic lost times more weight than women not taking a supplement. And there’s even evidence that a belly full of good bacteria could lower your risk for developing diabetes!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re not already on a probiotic you should be. The evidence is clear, good gut bacteria can help you GET healthy and STAY that way.
Dr. Allan Spreen
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as their Chief Research Advisor.
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