Background & aims: The aim of the present animal study was to examine the anti-hypertensive capacity of two probiotic products combining blueberries and the tannase producing probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15313 and to investigate if such an effect is linked to a change in the gut microbiota.
Methods: Male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into six groups of nine each. Three groups of the animals were treated with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) in the drinking water (40 mg/L) to induce a hypertensive state, and the other three groups were not treated with L-NAME (healthy rats). Two blueberry products differing in their phenolic acid content were tested and each rat received 2 g/day of the fermented blueberry powders for 4 weeks. The effects of the study products on the blood pressure, blood lipids, inflammatory markers, organ weights as well as caecal microbiota of the healthy (non-L-NAME-treated) rats were analyzed.
Results: After four weeks, healthy rats consuming freeze dried fermented blueberries with probiotics had a significant reduction in blood pressure compared to the control rats. In rats with L-NAME induced hypertension there was a significant reduction of the blood pressure after two weeks treatment. The probiotic product with a higher content of phenolic acids reduced ALAT in the healthy rats. Furthermore, ingestion of the probiotic blueberry products resulted in changes of the gut microbiota in the healthy rats.
Conclusions: Blueberries fermented with the tannase producing bacteria L. plantarum DSM 15313 have anti-hypertensive properties and may reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Berries; Hypertension; L-NAME; Microbiota; Probiotics.
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