Posted on Feb 09, 2017, 6 a.m.
Unhealthy gut microbes can trigger a rise in blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension.
Scientists have determined that microorganisms within the intestines partially determine blood pressure levels in rats. These microorganisms play a critical role in the onset of high blood pressure. The findings were recently published in Physiological Ergonomics. The study matters a great deal as the biology of rats is similar enough to that of humans to make scientific findings in rat studies relevant to humanity. Let's delve into the study details to explain how the findings came about and what they mean in the context of human health.
Two groups of rats were studied in the above-referenced research. One set had high blood pressure. This group was characterized as the “hypertensive” group. The second group had normal blood pressure and was appropriately referred to as the “normal” set. Researchers removed a section of the biological material of each group's large intestines.
The animals were provided with antibiotics for 10 days to minimize natural microbiota levels. Once the antibiotics were applied for this time period, hypertensive microbiota were transplanted to the rats with normal blood pressure. The normal microbiota were transplanted to the hypertensive set.
The scientists found that the set treated with the hypertensive microbiota endured high blood pressure. The surprising result is that rats given the normal microbiota did not endure a meaningful decrease in blood pressure. However, readings did drop by a small margin. This finding will likely spur even more studies of microbiota in the onset of hypertension in human beings.
The finding also lends credence to the notion that probiotics have an important role to play in the treatment of hypertension. Probiotics are helpful microorganisms found within the gut. Adding probiotics to one's diet should make a positive impact on blood pressure.
Sareema Adnan, James W Nelson, Nadim J Ajami, Venugopal R Venna, Joseph F Petrosino, Robert M Bryan, David J Durgan. Alterations in the gut microbiota can elicit hypertension in rats. Physiological Genomics, 2016; physiolgenomics.00081.2016 DOI: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00081.2016