Blood pressure, Inflammation & Gut Health

High blood pressure is increasingly common at menopause, but could it have something to do with your stomach?


It is certainly true that having a healthy gut means a healthy body, so it’s not just about diet but also how well we look at other factors such as high blood pressure.

According to numerous recent studies, human gut bacterial populations are capable of influencing various aspects of our physical and mental health. Despite this, many bacteria remain “unmapped” by scientists. A new study has now uncovered approximately 2,000 previously unknown gut bacteria.

Labrix laboratories are world renowned experts in hormone analysis and they sent me recently this report by Julia Malkowski, ND, DC, which although a little technical is worth reading if you have high blood pressure.

I have made some changes for the UK market but the core information is the same and the Health Profile for England 2017 report identified heart disease as the most common underlying cause of death in both men and women.

It makes the link to the fact that a decrease in beneficial bacteria in the gut is related to hypertension but that it can be helped and rebalanced with probiotics and diet and lifestyle changes.

The risks of heart disease and stroke

Cardiovascular disease and stroke remain leading causes of death and hypertension is a contributing factor and it is estimated that 26% of adults in the U.K. have hypertension.

Treatment approaches including lifestyle interventions and antihypertensives have been the focus to combat hypertension, but is this silent killer influenced by our gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota?

Recent scientific discoveries have linked blood pressure and the microbiome in surprising ways that may expand treatment options and improve patient outcomes. Within the microbiome, factors influencing blood pressure include decreased microbial richness and diversity, specific bacterial species and their key metabolites, especially short chain fatty acids.

The effects of gut bacteria on hypertension

Blood pressure is a dynamic system regulated by various inputs including genetic and environmental influences, endocrine factors, kidney physiology and potentially the GI microbiome. Recent studies have shown that healthy diversity among the primary beneficial bacterial may play a role in regulating blood pressure.

A decrease in the beneficial bacteria in the gut has been associated with hypertension, but in contrast, the presence of Prevotella, Klebisella, Porphyromonas, Desulfovibrio and Actinomyces bacteria are associated with hypertension.

Why diversity is important

A decrease in diversity of gastrointestinal microbiota has been associated with hypertension.

The microbiome may very well play a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension via microbial richness and diversity, specific bacterial species, certain metabolites, increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio and short chain fatty acids.

Addressing this role of gut bacteria deficiency may prove a helpful adjunctive strategy in combating hypertension.  With hypertension a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and stroke, it could be another tool way to improve your hypertension.

Inflammation and blood pressure

An inflammatory environment is associated with hypertension and if using bioidentical progesterone you will already be aware that its anti-inflammatory effect can be helpful.

Differences in important metabolites associated with specific bacteria in the gut have been reported for those with hypertension compared to those without the condition. Specific analytes, which may be protective against inflammatory diseases, were shown to be lower in hypertensive subjects.

Metabolic profiling regarding these metabolites and hypertension has been shown to be closely connected to intestinal microflora.

Li, J. et all. Gut microbiota dysbiosis contributes to the development of hypertension. Microbiome volume 5, Article number: 14 (2017).
Pevsner-Fischer, M., et all. The gut microbiome and hypertension. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: January 2017 – Volume 26 – Issue 1 – p 1–8. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0000000000000293
Pluznicj, J. A novel SCFA receptor, the microbiota, and blood pressure regulation. Gut Microbes. 2014              Mar 1; 5(2): 202–207. Published online 2013 Dec 20. doi: 10.4161/gmic.27492


Helpful information: 
High blood pressure occurs in response to a number of factors: weight, general health, fitness as well as hormone balance and menopause generally.

One of the effects of bioidentical progesterone is to balance the water retention action of oestrogen.  This water retention is a factor in high blood pressure and is linked to both oestrogen dominance and Pill and HRT use.

As progesterone is a natural diuretic it helps balance this by helping to reduce weight as excess water is expelled and this in turn helps reduce blood pressure and its anti inflammatory effect its also beneficial.

Needing more help? This article will give you some ideas.