Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits. It can help you lose weight and even extend your life span. Now you can add lowering blood pressure to those benefits.
How does fasting lower your blood pressure? The fasting process can actually change your gut microbiota, which are the microorganisms living in your gut. This change in your gut microbiota can actually affect your blood pressure, according to a recent study.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine looked at gut microbiota in rats. They transplanted gut microbiota from rats prone to having hypertension into the guts of normal rats with normal blood pressure. The normal rats ended up developing high blood pressure.
Interestingly, when they put these hypertension-prone rats on a fasting diet (fed every other day), these rats had significantly reduced blood pressure, compared to the rats who had an unrestricted diet.
The researchers then transplanted the microbiota of these rats that had either fasted or fed without restrictions into guts of germ-free rats, which have no microbiota of their own.
Transplanting Gut Microbiota
They were excited to see that germ-free rats that got the microbiota from fasting rats had significantly lower blood pressure than rats that got the microbiota from the non-fasting rats.
In other words, fasting changed the gut microbiota in the fasting rats. This altered microbiota then somehow significantly lowered the blood pressure in the fasting rats.
How Do Gut Germs Affect Blood Pressure?
Using biology lab techniques, the researchers found that the fasting rats had higher bile acid levels in circulation. The fasting was changing the gut microbiota of these rats, which changed bile acid production which, in turn, lowered blood pressure in these hypertension-prone rats.
Cholic acid is a primary bile acid. When the researchers supplemented the rats with chalice acid, their blood pressure also significantly reduced.
This study was published in the April 2021 edition of the journal Circulation Research.
Fasting Can Lower Blood Pressure
Taken together, the study shows for the first time that intermittent fasting can be beneficial in terms of reducing hypertension by changing gut microbiota in rats.
If you read this article to this point, the take home message is that intermittent fasting seems to significantly lower blood pressure. This is useful information if you or someone you know suffers from hypertension and high blood pressure.