Introduction: Recent studies have suggested dietary probiotics may improve certain cardiometabolic parameters. In this study, we assess the impact of incorporating dietary probiotics into the DASH diet on global cardiovascular risk in essential hypertensives as estimated by the Reynold’s Risk Score.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that incorporating dietary probiotics into the DASH diet would result in a greater global cardiovascular risk reduction primarily driven by improvements in cholesterol and vascular inflammation.
Methods: 80 stable essential hypertensives from a single cardiovascular clinic were recruited. All participants had measurements of blood pressure, lipid profiles and hs-CRP before and after a three-month dietary intervention period wherein patients were randomized into and counseled either on the control, standard-of-care DASH diet (n=40), or a probiotic enriched but otherwise nutritionally equivalent version of the DASH diet termed the “Pro-DASH” diet (n=40) depending on their random group allocation. Estimated global cardiovascular risk as per the Reynold’s Risk Score was calculated before and after the intervention period.
Results: At baseline, there was no statistically significant differences between the groups. While the reduction in blood pressure observed between in the two groups was similar, the Pro-DASH diet group saw statistically significantly greater improvements in lipid profiles and hs-CRP compared to the standard of care DASH diet group. This translated to an estimated 23% relative risk reduction in estimated cardiovascular risk in the control group (from 10.3% to 7.9%) in comparison to a 46% relative risk reduction in the Pro-DASH diet group (from 11.2% to 6.0%, p<0.001).
Conclusions: The overall results of this hypothesis-generating study appear to suggest that incorporating probiotics into the DASH diet may reduce patients’ global cardiovascular risk. If the results of this study are validated in larger and more diverse patient populations over a longer duration of time, then incorporating probiotics into the DASH diet may provide additional cardiovascular benefits in essential hypertensives.