Controlling gut microbiota might help reduce elevated blood pressure.

The Way to the Heart is Through the Gut?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is linked to stroke, heart attack, and many other serious diseases. Although rates of high blood pressure have decreased among adolescents between 12 and 19 years old, one in 25 adolescents has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional three in 25 have elevated blood pressure.

Attempts at Adolescent Blood Pressure Control

If you’re a school health official or parent, you have probably already changed factors associated with elevated blood pressure. Banning vending machines and revamping school lunches are examples of this tactic. Another blood pressure reduction strategy you might have tried is increasing bicycle racks and decreasing student parking spaces to encourage exercise.

A Previous Experiment

Researchers have already linked microbiota, the bacteria that live inside the intestinal tract, with high blood pressure. Researchers transplanted gut microbiota from rats with high blood pressure into the intestines of rats with normal blood pressure.

New Research

Since intermittent fasting alters the microbiota, researchers wondered if intermittent fasting would change blood pressure. They placed some rats with high blood pressure on a fasting program and gave the others unrestricted access to food. They did the same with the rats with normal blood pressure. After nine weeks, they learned that rats with high blood pressure and unrestricted access to food had the most elevated blood pressure.

Next, researchers took gut microbiota from the experimental rats and transplanted it into microbiota-free rats. The microbiota-free rats that received microbiota from the high blood pressure rats on an unrestricted diet developed the most elevated blood pressure.

Intermittent Fasting

When you do intermittent fasting, you might eat within an eight-hour window and abstain from food for 16 hours. This can work for you, but it can be potentially dangerous for your growing adolescent.

Microbiota Bile Levels

Researchers also analyzed microbiota samples and found that the fasting rats’ microbiota had higher bile acid levels. Researchers then fed rats with high blood pressure cholic acid supplements. The supplemented rats’ blood pressures fell.

Cholic Acid Supplements

People with conditions affecting the bile ducts take cholic acid supplements. While they could lower blood pressure, a better home and school health strategy would encourage your teen to make healthier lifestyle choices that promote healthier blood pressure levels.

Disclaimer: The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only. If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis, contact your medical professional.

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