Yogurt, fermented milk products could help reduce high blood pressure

SONORA, Mexico — Could the road to better blood pressure pass through the dairy aisle of your local market? Researchers in Mexico say consuming fermented milk products such as yogurt could help to reduce high blood pressure.

Scientists discovered that chemicals in fermented milk helps manage healthy gut bacteria that breaks down food. Their study foresees tailor-made milk that benefits people with hypertension stocking store shelves alongside the growing number of alternative health products.

Researchers also looked at the possible ways of managing the gut through these specially designed milks.

“Several studies have indicated that fermented milks may positively affect gut microbiota or provide antihypertensive effects,” study author Dr. Belinda Vallejo-Córdoba of the Center for Food Research and Development in Sonora, Mexico says in a media release. “However, few studies have shown a link between the antihypertensive effect of fermented milks and induced microbial balance. Remarkably, the antihypertensive effect has been attributed mainly to ACEI peptides, and few studies have attributed this effect to gut modulation.”

‘Tailor-made fermented milks’ for better gut health in the future?

Growing evidence suggests that gut bacteria, or microbiota, might have an effect on the development of high blood pressure. That’s in addition to a person’s genetics and the environment they live in. However, healthy bacteria and organic proteins present in certain fermented milks could control this microbiota and therefore help to reduce high blood pressure.

“New evidence suggests that antihypertensive fermented milks, including probiotics, bioactive peptides, and exopolysaccharides obtained from milk fermented with specific lactic acid bacteria, may modulate gut microbiota,” Dr. Vallejo-Córdoba reports. “Therefore, there is potential for the development of tailor-made fermented milks with gut microbiota modulation and blood pressure-lowering effects.”

The researchers say they will need to perform more studies to understand the antihypertensive effects of fermented milks. High blood pressure is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and is one of the leading causes of death globally.

Healthy gut bacteria influences intestinal development, barrier integrity and function, body metabolism, the immune system, and the central nervous system. Imbalances in the body affect metabolism, which may lead to metabolic diseases like hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fermented milk products include yogurt, kefir, cultured buttermilk, and filmjölk (Scandinavian sour milk).

The findings appear in the Journal of Dairy Science.

SWNS writer Laura Sharman contributed to this report.