Surprisingly, bacteria may benefit a person’s heart health. Read this article to know what the researchers of John Hopkins University are studying, on the link and the power of probiotics and prebiotics in a diet.
Are you aware that a person is affected not only by what he eats but also by what the natural microorganisms in his/her gut metabolize after he/she eats? Researchers are continually trying to find out how overall health is impacted by gut bacteria. These bacteria can affect metabolism, mood, and immune responses. Now, it is believed they may also have an impact on heart health.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Research
The study of animal research keen on gut bacteria was led by an assistant professor of physiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Jennifer L. Pluznick, Ph.D.
Pluznick was examining the possibility that bacteria which reside in the gut can create chemicals during their normal metabolism, after exposure to the food we consume.
As the chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream, it’s perceived that they set off receptors in the blood vessels that decrease blood pressure. When studied on mice, these alterations in blood pressure are large, especially when taking into account the potential impact over the span of a lifetime.
However, though gut bacteria and blood pressure appear connected, researchers are yet to fully understand their relationship. It’s quite complicated.
Pluznick says they understand that there is a symbiotic kind of relationship between gut bacteria and their hosts, i.e., humans. Specific chemicals produced by the bacteria in the gut can change blood pressure. It is also understandable that when mice or rats or people have increased blood pressure, the bacteria in their guts are different. All these things disclose a piece of the puzzle. The thing is, they don’t have sufficient pieces to put together the entire puzzle yet.
If it’s true for mice, will it also be true for humans?
Jennifer L. Pluznick says there can always be dissimilarities between the species, things we don’t expect. It is thus really important to examine thoroughly with human trials. For instance, gut bacteria may decrease blood pressure level in one case but affect metabolism and immune responses in unanticipated ways. Pluznick added she hopes that in the next couple of years, they will begin to see how all these factors and findings relate to humans.
Can Probiotics and Prebiotics Lessen Blood Pressure Levels?
Consuming foods that have probiotics (consumable live bacteria) has been associated with healthier blood pressure in earlier studies.
Prebiotics that you consume includes the precursor’s bacteria that can make the special chemicals which are then absorbed by our bodies. It can potentially lower blood pressure.
Pluznick says fiber can be prebiotic for several bacteria. As and when you consume fiber, the bacteria break it down to make those chemicals. Fiber-containing foods such as onions, garlic, whole wheat pasta, asparagus, and sweet potatoes contain prebiotics.
Is There a Future Hope for Heart Health?
Pluznick predicts a future wherein heart-healthy measures might involve considerations of gut health. It could also include the best possible guidelines for both the administration of antibiotics that can unfavorably affect gut bacteria and the intake of probiotics. However, they aren’t there yet.