Health News: Scientists Identify Two Probiotics: Bifidobacterium Lactis And Lactobacillus Rhamnosus That Can Treat Hypertension!
: Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, has become a global health concern. Approximately 40% of the adult population worldwide is affected by hypertension, placing them at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and other potentially life-threatening conditions. Recent research suggests that probiotics may hold the key to addressing hypertension, offering a potential protective effect. This Health News
report delves into the promising discovery of two specific probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which have shown the potential to treat hypertension and explores the underlying mechanisms behind their efficacy.
The Global Hypertension Crisis
Hypertension is a chronic condition characterized by elevated blood pressure, and it is a major public health concern. In 2010, it was estimated that 31.1% of adults, equivalent to 1.39 billion people worldwide, suffered from hypertension. The condition is associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases and is a significant contributor to global mortality. The factors contributing to hypertension are diverse, but one notable culprit is the increased consumption of sugar, particularly dietary fructose syrup. The mechanisms through which sugar affects blood pressure include heightened salt retention, insulin resistance, and other complex pathways. In recent years, researchers have begun exploring the potential role of sugar in altering the gut microbiome and its impact on hypertension.
Probiotics and Their Therapeutic Potential
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, offer a range of health benefits. They are known for their role in shaping and maintaining the diversity of the gut microbiota, as well as in improving immune system function. Probiotics have been studied extensively for their potential to treat various health conditions. For instance, strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have demonstrated their efficacy in mitigating the symptoms of acute gastroenteritis. Other studies have highlighted their ability to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome and exhibit anti-inflammatory effects.
Of particular interest is the potential protective effect of probiotics on hypertension. Several studies have indicated that probiotics can help lower blood pressure levels through a range of mechanisms. These mechanisms include the release of converting enzyme inhibitory peptides, the impairment of lipopolysaccharide signaling, and modulation of the gut microbiota. The latter is especially intriguing, as it points to the microbiome's influence on blood pressure regulation. Recent research has explored the relationship between probiotics, the gut microbiota, and their impact on hypertension.
Probiotic Treatment for Hypertension
Researchers have been actively investigating the potential of probiotics in treating hypertension. Two specific probiotic strains, Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9, were identified and found to significantly reduce blood pressure levels in high-fructose-induced hypertensive mice. This 16-week intervention study involved mice that
were divided into different groups, including those receiving high-fructose water and probiotics.
The results were striking. Mice that received the probiotics exhibited significantly lower blood pressure levels than those in the high-fructose group that did not receive probiotics. In fact, the blood pressure readings in the probiotic groups were comparable to those of a control group that only drank water. These findings strongly suggest that probiotics have the potential to maintain blood pressure at normal levels, even in the presence of factors known to elevate blood pressure, such as high fructose intake.
Understanding the Microbiota-Metabolism-Blood Pressure Connection
To unravel the mechanisms behind the probiotics' antihypertensive effect, researchers employed shotgun metagenomic sequencing and untargeted mass spectrometry-based serum metabolomics. This integrated approach allowed for the simultaneous analysis of the gut microbiome and the serum metabolome in response to probiotic interventions.
The analysis revealed critical associations between specific microbial taxa, metabolic pathways, and blood pressure. It was observed that high fructose consumption led to an increase in the Bacteroidetes bacteria and a decrease in Firmicutes. However, probiotic treatment with Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9 effectively restored these bacterial populations to levels found in the control group. Moreover, new microbial signatures were identified that were linked to blood pressure levels. Elevated levels of Lawsonia and Pyrolobus bacteria were associated with lower blood pressure, while reduced levels of Alistipes and Alloprevotella were also associated with blood pressure reduction.
The researchers delved further into the interplay between microbial signatures and host metabolic products. They identified specific pathways that were altered in response to probiotic treatment, shedding light on the metabolic underpinnings of blood pressure regulation. Notably, the probiotics influenced pathways related to DNA repair, glutamine and glutamate metabolism, vascular smooth muscle contraction, serotonergic and cholinergic synapses, and lipid and vitamin metabolism. These findings suggest that the probiotics play a crucial role in modulating various metabolic processes that impact blood pressure regulation.
The Role of Specific Bacterial Genera in Blood Pressure Regulation
The study also highlighted the role of specific bacterial genera in influencing blood pressure. For instance, Alistipes was found to be negatively correlated with blood pressure, consistent with previous research linking Alistipes to higher blood pressure. Alistipes was also associated with changes in bile acid metabolism, which could potentially influence blood pressure. Additionally, there was a strong negative correlation between Alistipes and "steroid hormone biosynthesis," suggesting a potential role for this bacterium in regulating blood pressure through the modulation of steroid hormones.
Other bacteria, such as Alloprevotella, Coprobacillus, and Butyricimonas, were identified as important players in blood pressure regulation. Alloprevotella was associated with the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are known to impact blood pressure. Coprobacillus was linked to the inhibition of fat absorption and reducing inflammation, while Butyricimonas was associated with improved immune system function.
The Role of Probiotic Strains
Importantly, the study revealed that Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9 exert their antihypertensive effects through distinct mechanisms. B. lactis M8 was found to prevent chronic inflammation by increasing the abundance of Bacteroides, which negatively correlated with lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. L. rhamnosus M9, on the other hand, appeared to regulate tryptophan metabolism to prevent inflammation. These distinct mechanisms underscore the strain-specific properties of probiotics in addressing health conditions.
Clinical Implications and Future Research
This groundbreaking research provides valuable insights into the potential use of probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9, as therapeutic agents for hypertension. The findings suggest that these probiotics can effectively modulate blood pressure by altering the gut microbiota composition and influencing host metabolic pathways.
While this study provides a strong foundation for understanding the mechanisms behind the probiotics' antihypertensive effects, further research is needed to confirm these findings in human subjects. The authors of the study are planning a large clinical trial to investigate whether the protective effect of these probiotics extends to people with hypertension. Such research could revolutionize our approach to cardiovascular health and pave the way for alternative therapeutic options.
The discovery of the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium lactis M8 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus M9 as potential treatments for hypertension marks a significant breakthrough in the field of cardiovascular health. With hypertension affecting a substantial portion of the global population and posing serious health risks, the potential for probiotics to regulate blood pressure offers hope for more effective preventive and treatment strategies.
The study's integrated approach, combining metagenomic sequencing and metabolomics, has provided a deeper understanding of the complex interplay between gut microbiota, metabolism, and blood pressure regulation. The identification of specific microbial signatures, metabolic pathways, and bacterial genera associated with blood pressure changes sheds light on the intricate mechanisms at play.
While this research has immense clinical implications, including the potential development of probiotic-based treatments for hypertension, further investigations are necessary. Human interventional studies will help validate the efficacy of these probiotics in hypertension management. Ultimately, this promising avenue in preventive medicine has the potential to reshape our approach to cardiovascular health and enhance the well-being of individuals worldwide.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: mSystems.
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