In 2001, I was battling hypertension and diabetes. It was then that I started drinking kefir and I noticed an interesting occurrence. It seemed that when I drank a glass of kefir every day my blood pressure would go down; and not just a little, but quite a bit. It would put me in the normal range. When I would stop drinking kefir, my blood pressure would start to creep up after three days. So I started doing experiments on myself to see if it was the kefir. After many, many trial runs I was convinced it was the kefir. I have never been one to just accept without knowing the reasoning behind anything, so I began searching for answers.
A couple of months later, I was reading a book called Bacteria For Breakfast which described fermented milk products and how they lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. To combat hypertension doctors often prescribe what is known as an ACE-inhibitor, a drug that helps decrease the tension in blood vessels, thus decreasing blood pressure. What the study discussed in Bacteria for Breakfast found is that some strains of probiotic food1 produce their own ACE-inhibiting substances during the fermentation process.
Kefir And Blood Pressure
ACE-Inhibiting Substances In Kefir
Kefir contains powerful bio-active peptides which are beneficial compounds derived from the proteins in the milk and created during the fermentation process. These bio-active peptides can help with lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, boosting your immune system, helping with insulin regulation, and more. These bioactive peptides are also known as ACE inhibitors. When your blood pressure is high an enzyme called angiotensin II is released, which in turn narrows blood vessels and releases counter hormones and forces your heart and kidneys to work harder.
Researchers found that the bio-active peptides in kefir inhibited ACE activity by 19.3%. The most exciting part of the study was that they found 236 peptides in kefir when doing a spectrum analysis. Milk that wasn't fermented only contained only 127 peptides.
While most bacteria produce lactic acid, they also produce ACE-inhibiting substances during milk fermentation, Lactobacillus helveticus, which is found in high concentrations in kefir. Lactobacillus helveticus was identified as the most effective ACE-inhibiting substance. The study indicated that it worked on an enzyme in the stomach much like an ACE inhibitor drug will do to naturally lower blood pressure.
Another study, done in April 2018 3 by Auburn University in collaboration with the University of Vila Velha in Brazil, studied three groups of rats to determine how kefir reduces high blood pressure.
They classified them into three groups.
- The first group had high blood pressure and consumed kefir every day for 9 weeks.
- The second group also had high blood pressure but did not receive kefir
- The third group did not have high blood pressure and they were not given kefir
After nine weeks, the rats who had received kefir had lower levels of endotoxins, lower blood pressure, and improved intestinal permeability. This describes the way materials pass from inside the gastrointestinal tract through the cells lining the gut wall into the rest of the body. The consumption of kefir also restored four different bacteria that were not present in the gut. The microorganisms that populate our guts have been shown to communicate with the brain. Kefir's effect on gut bacteria appears to reduce the levels of inflammation in the central nervous system and signals the brain to lower blood pressure to healthy levels.4,5
According to these researchers, "Our data suggest that kefir antihypertensive-associated mechanisms involve gut microbiota-brain axis communication during hypertension."
Kefir Can Make An Impact On Your Health!
For years, kefir has lowered my blood pressure as well as the blood pressure of many others, but now I know why and how it works. I love it when a food can bring you back into balance. These beautiful cells in our body know how to be well if only given the right tools. Now I am not telling anyone to get off their medication. What I am suggesting is that you add some kefir to your diet, then monitor yourself and see if it has the same effect on you. Powerful microbes that lived in me and all around me were enhanced to work better when I drank my kefir. I'll never go without my kefir, it's my favorite food!
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."Hippocrates
Here is How to Make Kefir.
Here are the two methods for making kefir. You can pick the method that suits you – the benefits are the same in both methods.
Listen To My Podcast
Kefir was the first cultured food I ever tried. The first thing I noticed was how it helped my blood pressure. Research is now finding more evidence of the same. I love kefir and the many things it can do. Listen to learn more!
- Y. Hata et al. “A Placebo-Controlled Study of the Effect of Sour Milk on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 5 (November 1996): 767–771.