Low fiber diet could cause high blood pressure

In a new study, researchers confirmed for the first time that low fiber diets may lead to high blood pressure.

The research was conducted by a team co-led by Monash scientists

If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, a stiffening of the arteries and the muscles of the heart, and a stiffening of the kidneys, reducing their function.

It’s the most common risk factor for heart disease.

Resistant starches are a type of prebiotic fiber, which resists digestion until it reaches the large intestine, where it feeds bacteria that are considered to have health benefits.

Although it is known that a diet high in fiber may be protective towards the development of heart disease, the mechanism for this action remained uncertain.

In the study, the team found that mice fed a low fiber diet were more predisposed to high blood pressure.

They performed fecal transplants on mice without any microbes and found that only recipients of low fiber microbes went on to develop higher blood pressure.

The team says a diet poor in fiber is linked to the prevalence of high blood pressure, but this study is changing the concept of fiber intake being only protective: lack of fiber can actually contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease, and this happens via the gut microbiota.

Microbial fermentation of resistant starches in the gut releases metabolites, such as small molecules called ‘short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)’.

The team found that when mice were fed these SCFAS directly, even in the absence of prebiotic fiber in the diet, their blood pressure lowered and their cardiovascular health improved.

The findings are important because it identifies for the first time, how dietary fiber directly regulates heart and blood vessel health.

One of the most unique findings of the study is that the bacterial profile of the gut, called the gut microbiome, is closely linked to blood pressure and this link is the result of chemicals released by gut bacteria into the circulation.

The findings reinforce the need for a diet high in fiber and also point to new potential targets for the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Francine Marques, a National Heart Foundation Future Leader at the Monash University School of Biological Sciences.

The study is published in Circulation.

Copyright © 2020 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.