Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading cause of death worldwide.
Four out of 5 people with hypertension have uncontrolled blood pressure despite clinical and lifestyle therapy, suggesting new approaches are needed.
Over the past decade, scientists have shown that gut microbiota and the substances they produce regulate blood pressure.
Dietary fiber, especially fermentable fiber, is digested by commensal gut microorganisms in the large intestine, modulating the gut microbiota and releasing substances called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate and butyrate.
In a study from Monash University, scientists found that SCFAs can lower the blood pressure of hypertensive patients.
SCFAs regulate host physiology through bioactive pathways. In animal models, SCFA administration decreases blood pressure.
Previous studies had found that acetate and butyrate supplementation lower blood pressure.
In this clinical study, the team used acetylated and butyrylated high amylose maize (HAMSAB), a fermentable fiber that produces large quantities of acetate and butyrate.
They recruited 20 people with untreated high blood pressure and tested the new treatment for three weeks.
The team found in HAMSAB-treated patients, 24-hour systolic blood pressure dropped 6.1 mmHg. This is equivalent to one blood pressure-lowering drug.
Further analysis showed that plasma acetate and butyrate were considerably higher after the three-week HAMSAB intervention.
This suggests the levels of SCFAs achieved with HAMSAB were remarkable and higher than can be achieved with diet alone.
The findings show acetate and butyrate, gut microbial metabolites, reduce blood pressure in patients, suggesting medicinal potential.
Thus, fermentable fibers like HAMSAB may re-establish gut microbial communities that produce SCFAs. This method may reduce the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease worldwide.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about cannabis linked to 3-times higher death risk in high blood pressure, and this common nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
The study was conducted by Associate Professor Francine Marques et al and published in Nature Cardiovascular Research.
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