Experts agreed that more research is needed.
"The degree of blood pressure-lowering was modest," noted Dr. Merle Myerson, of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention of Mount Sinai Roosevelt and St. Luke's in New York City.
And she added that the study had limitations, because "the amount of probiotic consumed varied from study to study," and other -- perhaps beneficial -- items in the participants' diets weren't always uniformly measured.
However, "despite these limitations, the results are useful in suggesting where further research should be directed," Myerson said.
Dr. Bruce Rutkin is a cardiologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. He said that "prior studies have demonstrated that probiotics and their products may favorably impact blood pressure through a variety of mechanisms." Those include a lowering of blood levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol and helping to control blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance -- a key player in diabetes.
Rutkin agreed with Myerson that the reduction in blood pressure tied to probiotic products was "modest," but he believes that "in conjunction with a heart-healthy lifestyle, they may play a role in modifying cardiovascular risk."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how to prevent high blood pressure.
SOURCES: Merle Myerson, M.D., Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Mount Sinai Roosevelt and Mount Sinai St. Luke's, New York City; Bruce Rutkin, M.D., cardiologist, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Hypertension, news release, July 21, 2014
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