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Probiotics 'help lower our blood pressure'

By Martha Linden

Eating probiotics regularly may help lower blood pressure, according to research findings.

The live bacteria and yeasts usually eaten in yoghurts or taken as food supplements were shown to modestly lower blood pressure when taken for two months or more in a review published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Researchers examined nine studies involving 543 adults with both normal and raised blood pressure.

They found that consuming probiotics lowered systolic blood pressure – the highest blood pressure reading when the heart beats – by an average 3.56 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). Diastolic blood pressure – the lowest level blood pressure reaches as the heart relaxed between beats – was lowered by an average 2.38 mm Hg, compared to adults who didn't consume probiotics.

Probiotics with multiple bacteria were more effective at lowering blood pressure than those with a single bacteria. Researchers said further studies are needed before probiotics could be prescribed for controlling blood pressure.

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