This study investigated relationships between the frequent intake of fermented milk products containing Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS) and the onset of hypertension (resting systemic pressure ≥140 mmHg [systolic]/≥90 mmHg [diastolic], a doctor's diagnosis and/or antihypertensive medicine use) during a 5-year period in 352 communityliving Japanese aged 65 to 93 years (125 men and 227 women). Initially normotensive subjects were divided into two groups (n=254 and n=98) on the basis of their intake of fermented milk products (<3 or ≥3 times/week, respectively), as estimated during an interview by a certified nutritionist. The incidence of hypertension over the 5-year interval was significantly lower in those who took fermented milk products ≥3 rather than <3 times/week (6.1 vs 14.2%, P=0.037). A multivariate-adjusted proportional hazards model predicted that blood pressures were significantly more likely to remain normal over 5 years in subjects who took ≥3 fermented milk products rather than <3 times/ week (relative risk 0.398 [95% confidence interval 0.167-0.948], P=0.037). These results suggest that after adjustment for potential confounders, the risk of developing hypertension is substantially lower in elderly people who take fermented milk products containing LcS at least 3 times a week.
Keywords: aging; blood pressure; cardiovascular disease; diet; probiotics.