What’s the link between gut bacteria and blood pressure in women?

13th October 2021- By Aaruthy Suthahar

person holding blood pressure monitor

Women with high blood pressure have lower diversity in their gut bacteria, according to our latest TwinsUK research. This means that addressing the microbiome could be one way to help treat or prevent high blood pressure.

The researchers also identified two types of key gut microbes associated with high blood pressure. The team found that bacteria from the Erysipelotrichaceae family were more abundant in people with high blood pressure, and bacteria from the Ruminiclostridium family were less abundant.

High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risk for heart disease cases and deaths, and affects over 1.3 billion people around the world.

There are multiple factors that affect blood pressure, like genetic and environmental factors, including inadequate diet, obesity, lack of exercise and smoking. The gut microbiome is an important factor associated with inflammation, obesity, type-2 diabetes and stiffness of the arterial walls, all of which are linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

The researchers investigated the relationship between blood pressure and gut microbiome composition in 871 TwinsUK members using data collected at clinic visits and from donated stool samples. The team checked their findings by carrying out the same analysis in a further 448 women from the PREDICT study, and confirmed their results.

In their paper, the researchers highlighted that there was a lack of data gathered on the Ruminiclostridium microbe. Therefore, more research is needed to understand how the mechanisms of Ruminiclostridium can have an influence on high blood pressure. The study did however include data from a large number of people and the analysis of many microbes.

On the findings, first author Panayiotis Louca said: 

“Further research is needed to look into validating the association between the gut microbiome and blood pressure and to understand how exactly the gut microbiome affects high blood pressure.”

Louca et al. (2021) Gut microbiome diversity and composition is associated with hypertension in women. Journal of Hypertension.

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