As many as a billion people on the planet struggle with high blood pressure which puts them at risk for heart attacks and stroke. A low-salt diet is the cornerstone of treatment; as many as half are salt-sensitive and will respond positively by ingesting less.
Some experts think probiotics can help. The theory is that the by-products of probiotics and probiotic cell wall components may play a role in controlling hypertension.
These bacteria may act on a milk protein called casein, resulting in production of peptides which help regulate blood pressure and act as angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE is the key enzyme in the rennin-angiotensin system which plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. Medications known as ACE inhibitors are prescribed for this action.
Early research: Milk fermented with a strain of Lactobacillus helveticus and also containing bioactive peptides lowered blood pressure in hypertensives in research conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
The mean difference in systolic was -4.1 +/- 0.9 mm Hg and a -1.8 +/- 0.7 mm Hg in diastolic BP between the group receiving the L. helveticus and the control group.
Yet other investigations don’t back up these results. Researchers at University Hospital of Glostrup in Denmark asked whether fermented products produced by lactobacilli could lower blood pressure. The authors found any effect to be modest.
As always, the job description for probiotics remains a work-in-progress. In the meantime, lower your sodium intake to 2300 mg a day, exercise and relax.