In a recent study, researchers from Auburn University in Alabama found that drinking kefir may improve blood pressure by promoting communication between the gut and brain.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic milk beverage known to help maintain the balance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.
Previous research has found that an imbalance in the gut’s colony of bacteria (microbiota) may cause high blood pressure in some people.
On the other hand, probiotics, live bacteria supplements that are beneficial to the digestive system, have been found to lower blood pressure.
In the current study, a research team studied three groups of rats to determine how kefir reduces high blood pressure:
the first group had high blood pressure and was treated with kefir (“treated”).
the second group had high blood pressure and was not treated (“untreated”).
the third group had normal blood pressure and was not treated (“control”).
The team found that after 9 weeks of kefir feeding, the treated rats had lower levels of endotoxins (toxic substances associated with a disruption in the cells), lower blood pressure and improved intestinal permeability when compared with the untreated group.
Healthy intestines allow some substances to pass through but generally act as a barrier to keep out harmful bacteria and other potentially dangerous substances.
In addition, kefir restored the natural balance of four different bacteria in the gut and of an enzyme in the brain essential for normal nervous system function.
This suggests that the nervous and digestive systems work together to reduce high blood pressure.
The researchers suggest that kefir can help control high blood pressure because it involves gut microbiota-brain axis communication during hypertension.
The team presented their findings at Experimental Biology 2018.
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