Hypertension and Fermented Milk
Dairy products have long been fermented as a method of preserving milk and enhancing health effects. According to modern research, milk fermented by certain probiotics (friendly bacteria) may provide a blood pressure-lowering effect.
Effect of Fermented Milk on Hypertension
Fermenting milk can increase levels of active compounds such as GABA, a neurotransmitter that acts as a vasodilator. Vasodilators help lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, expanding their capacity.
Research Evidence on Fermented Milk
A handful of studies demonstrate that milk fermented by certain probiotics (friendly bacteria) may provide at least a small blood pressure-lowering effect.64,65,81
How to Use Fermented Milk
One study on hypertension and fermented milk included daily doses of 150 mL of the milk.81
Grocery stores and natural food stores both carry milk that contains live cultures. Look for milk that contains the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus helveticus.
Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment
- Naturopathic doctor
- Integrative MD
- Holistic nutritionist or dietitian
Side Effects and Warnings
Probiotics may occasionally cause a temporary increase in digestive gas. But, beyond that, they do not present any known risks for most people. However, individuals who are immunosuppressed could conceivably be at risk for developing a dangerous infection with the probiotic organism itself.
In a detailed review of four studies, researchers concluded that the use probiotics did not benefit patients with severe acute pancreatitis.3 Furthermore, according to one study, the use of probiotics led to an increased risk of mortality in patients with severe acute pancreatitis, and should, therefore, be avoided under these circumstances.4
- Sun S, Yang K, He X, Tian J, Ma B, Jiang L. Probiotics in patients with severe acute pancreatitis: a meta-analysis. Langenbecks Arch Surg. 394(1):171-7.
- Besselink MG, van Santvoort HC, Buskens E, Boermeester MA, van Goor H, Timmerman HM, Nieuwenhuijs VB, Bollen TL, van Ramshorst B, Witteman BJ, Rosman C, Ploeg RJ, Brink MA, Schaapherder AF, Dejong CH, Wahab PJ, van Laarhoven CJ, van der Harst E, van Eijck CH, Cuesta MA, Akkermans LM, Gooszen HG, Dutch Acute Pancreatitis Study Group. Probiotic prophylaxis in predicted severe acute pancreatitis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 371(9613):651-9.
- Seppo L, Jauhiainen T, Poussa T, et al. A fermented milk high in bioactive peptides has a blood pressure-lowering effect in hypertensive subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:326-330.
- Inoue K, Shirai T, Ochiai H, et al. Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a novel fermented milk containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in mild hypertensives. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57:490-495.
- Jauhiainen T, Vapaatalo H, Poussa T, et al. Lactobacillus helveticus Fermented Milk Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects in 24-h Ambulatory Blood Pressure Measurement. Am J Hypertens. 2005;18:1600-16005.