Gut bacteria related to blood pressure medication resistance, study finds


Certain blood pressure medications were found to be less effective when exposed to gut bacteria in a study from the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

The study was published in the journal Hypertension, and  led by Tao Yang, PhD, assistant professor in the department of physiology and pharmacology at  UToledo. According to the study, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States and can lead to heart disease and stroke. However, an estimated 20 percent of those with the condition have resistant hypertension, where their blood pressure does not go down despite intensive interventions. In this study, Yang and his team of researchers set out to discover the correlation between gut bacteria and blood pressure medication resistance.

Scientists tested a high blood pressure medication on spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) half of which were given an antibiotic and half who were not. The antibiotic was associated with decreased gut bacteria. Their results showed that the medication was more effective on rats given the antibiotic than rats who were not. Scientists identified one bacterium, Coprococcus. C., as a cause of the medication resistance in the rats who were not given antibiotics.

Although the antibiotics were effective in this study in reducing blood pressure medication resistance in rats, Yang says antibiotics are not a good long-term treatment for the condition. Instead, he said that probiotics, postbiotics, and changes in diet are better ways to alter a patient’s gut microbiome.

“This is just one report, and more research is needed. However, this suggests that gut bacteria can play a very real and very important role in regulating the efficacy of blood pressure medication,” Yang said in a statement.