Can Probiotics Cause Heart Problems

Can Probiotics Cause Heart Problems? (Safe or Not?)

Did you know that in the United States, someone somewhere experiences a heart attack every 40 seconds?

This is your sign to prioritize your heart health starting today and make a conscious effort to eliminate all the risk factors. 

If you’re unsure about where to begin, consider stocking up on probiotics. 

Here’s why they can make a positive difference.

Key Highlights
  • Probiotics repopulate the gut and reduce the level of harmful bacterial metabolites.
  • Probiotics lower cholesterol levels.
  • Probiotics help improve conditions that contribute to heart problems like obesity and diabetes.

Further in this article, I have discussed in detail if probiotics can affect heart rate. Or if they are related to heart failure in any way. Or if they are suitable for heart patients and much more.

So, keep reading to know more.

Do Probiotics Affect The Heart? (How?)

Do Probiotics Affect The Heart

Yes, abundant scientific evidence shows that probiotics can significantly affect heart health in a healthy manner.

Here are some of the ways in which they do it.

Probiotics Promote Blood Pressure Control

High blood pressure may damage your heart and arteries over time because of the increased pressure in them.

In this regard, lactic acid bacteria, especially the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, are beneficial in lowering blood pressure, especially in hypertensive patients.

(I have discussed it in detail in the section ”can probiotics lower blood pressure?” below.)

Probiotics Lower Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol levels may cause narrowing of the blood vessels, which can reduce the blood flow to the heart and contribute to the development of coronary heart disease (CHD).

The good news is that taking probiotics helps to lower cholesterol levels in many ways.

One of them is by eating up cholesterol for their own nourishment.

A second mechanism is that they digest the fiber in the gut and produce certain acids, i.e., propionic acid, as a by-product. This acid reduces cholesterol production in the liver.

Thirdly, the liver typically reabsorbs 95% of the bile it produces and recycles the cholesterol within it to generate more bile acids. 

However, certain probiotics, such as the Lactobacillus species, enhance bile excretion.

Hence, the liver has to use the cholesterol in the blood to synthesize bile acids anew, which ultimately lowers the blood cholesterol levels.

Probiotics Strengthen Immune System

Our immune system plays a crucial role in clearing up inflammation in the body. Prolonged inflammation can be detrimental to heart health and contribute to the development of coronary heart disease (CHD).

In this regard, you should pay attention to one particular marker of inflammation, fibrinogen. 

Fibrinogen promotes the formation of blood clots.

However, if it persists in the arteries for a long, it may cause the narrowing of the arteries by forming plaques in them which can lead to the incidence of CHD.

In this regard, researchers have found that L. plantarum and L. reuteri may help to reduce inflammation and fibrinogen levels in the body and, ultimately, the risk of heart disease.

Are Probiotics Safe For Heart Patients?

Yes, probiotics are absolutely safe; in fact, they hold a restorative power for heart patients.

As mentioned above, probiotics improve heart health by reducing inflammation, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.

Plus, restoration of the normal gut flora also helps to blunt damage and risk of metabolic disorders like obesity or diabetes and reduce stress or anxiety, all of which help to improve the quality of life of heart patients.

Apart from that, here is how you can use probiotics to assist their incorporation in the gut microbiome and how they safeguard the heart from failure.

The Right Way To Use Probiotics

It originated from an interview with Dr. Steven R. Gundry in which he expressed that he believes that most of the probiotics we take are unable to colonize the gut because of its acidic environment. Hence, they impart only short-lived benefits.

Therefore, to properly use probiotics, we should pair them with prebiotics that will nourish and support the establishment of these supplemental bacteria as permanent residents. 

Can You Take Probiotics With Heart Failure?

You might be glad to learn that emerging research hints at a beneficial association between probiotics and heart failure.

For instance, in a study published in 2019, the researchers recruited forty-six patients who had survived a heart attack (myocardial infarction) and fed them probiotics to explore if it would prevent heart failure in them.

Before I get into the results, let’s first develop a basic understanding of why suffering from heart stroke may lead to heart failure.

So, after you make it out alive from myocardial infarction, your heart may undergo some structural and functional changes, which is referred to as cardiac remodeling.

These changes in the heart can jeopardize the recovery of its optimum functioning.

Therefore, measures are taken to stop it, and in this study, the supplementation of L. rhamnosus to the patients helped to lessen heart thickness and the risk of heart failure.

Additionally, there is scientific evidence that suggests that individuals with gut dysbiosis have elevated levels of certain bacterial metabolites such as Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).

These compounds may accelerate cardiac remodeling processes and contribute to the loss of heart function. 

Correspondingly, some other studies have shown that modulating the gut microbiome with probiotics can attenuate TMAO levels and reduce cardiac remodeling.

Plus, in a study by Lam et al., L. plantarum exhibited a cardioprotective effect and improved left ventricular (LV) function in mice with compromised blood flow to the heart.

Can Probiotics Lower Blood Pressure?

Yes, probiotics have a scientifically proven potential to lower blood pressure, especially systolic BP.

While we are on this topic, you should also note that the American Heart Association (AHA) states that the risk of undergoing heart failure (HF) is twice as high in men and three times as high in women with hypertension compared to those with normal blood pressure levels.

Considering this, probiotics seem to be a safer therapeutic aid than traditional medicine, and fortunately, I found an umbrella meta-analysis that can prove this case.

For this publication, the researchers analyzed all fourteen relevant meta-analyses published between 2013 and 2021.

Upon review, they reported that, as compared to the placebo, probiotics significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 1.96mm Hg and diastolic BP by 1.28 mm Hg.

Additionally, they noticed that administering multiple probiotic strains led to a greater reduction in blood pressure as compared to single strains.

Not just that, a greater benefit was noted in hypertensive patients and participants more than 50 years of age.

Plus, the most effective dosing strategy involved administering more than 1 x 1010 CFUs of probiotics for a duration of at least ten weeks.

Following are some probiotic strains that exhibited anti-hypertensive properties in the experimental studies: 

  • Lactobacillus species (L. helveticus, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. plantarum, L. helveticus, L. reuteri)
  • Bifidobacterium species (B. infantis, B. animalis lactis)
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Streptococcus thermophilus 
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

Apart from these, studies also back the potential of Kefir as a blood pressure-lowering probiotic food.

Can Probiotics Affect Heart Rate?

woman checking her heart rate

Yes, probiotics may affect heart rate, but in most cases, it is for the good only. This is evident from scientific studies as well.

For instance, in a meta-analysis published in 2022, researchers reviewed thirteen randomized control trials and concluded that probiotics lower the heart rate by 2.94 bpm (beats per minute) in participants who have a baseline heart rate of 75 bpm.

However, strangely, males aged around 45 years benefited more from the probiotic treatment than females.

Additionally, the researchers observed the best outcome with multiple strain intervention and a higher probiotic dose that was greater than or equal to 1 ×1010 CFU/day. 

Some strains that were used in these trials are:

  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Lactobacillus species (L. plantarum, L. reuteri, L. helveticus, L. paracasei, L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. fermentus, L. lactis, L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, L. casei Shirota)
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Clostridium butyricum
  • Bifidobacterium species (B. lactis, B. infantis, B. longum, B. bifidum, B. breve)
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

Among these strains, you can easily get the L. casei Shirota strain by gulping in Yakult.

Users Experience Indicates That Probiotics May Increased Heart Rate

The possibility of probiotics causing heart palpitations in some users cannot be denied completely because of certain experiences shared on the internet.

For instance, Firm_Adhesiveness shared in this Reddit post that she tried Culturelle, Florastor, and Restora Rx. to heal her post-antibiotic IBS.

But unfortunately, she developed tachycardia (fast heartbeat) by the third and sometimes fourth day with all three of them. 

Her heart rate soared up to 111 bpm with these supplements, while her normal resting heart rate usually hovers around 70 bpm. 

However, she did not face any issues from consuming yogurt.

Interestingly, other users in the thread also reported similar symptoms, especially with Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii.

Nonetheless, her doctor remained unconvinced that the probiotics were the cause of her increased heart rate. 

Still, one replier advised her to get tested for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) because it is scientifically proven to make the heart race and could potentially worsen with probiotics.

Another reader suspected that the increased heart rate could be a ‘die-off’ symptom, which occurs when the gut is adjusting to new strains of bacteria. 

In a nutshell, probiotics are not going to disrupt your heart rate in normal conditions.

However, if you do feel like your heart is racing, it might be because of any of the two reasons suggested by the repliers.

Or, if you want to know other explanations as to why probiotics may cause heart palpitation, head to this post, where I have discussed it in detail.

Best Probiotics For Heart Health

Now that you’re aware of the advantages of probiotics for heart health, you wouldn’t want to pass up on experiencing them. 

To help you get started, here are a few of my top recommendations for probiotic supplements.

1. YourBiology Gut+ – Best For Women

Yourbiology Gut+ bottle

The many ways in which the strains in it improve heart health are by normalizing blood pressure, improving immune system function, and reducing stress levels.

2. Kaneka Floradapt Cardio Probiotic – Best For Hypercholesterolemia 

Kaneka cardio probiotics

It contains clinically proven strains that lower high cholesterol and triglyceride levels that may cause heart problems.

3. Optibac Everyday Probiotics – Best For Heart and Body

Optibac Every Day Probiotics

It contains FDA-approved Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains that boost immune system function, heal the gut, and promote heart health.


Are probiotics bad for your heart?

No, but instead, they promote heart health in many ways, such as by reducing cholesterol levels, stabilizing gut microbiota, and ameliorating stress.

Can probiotics cause irregular heartbeat?

Yes, but this is only reported in user experience, so factors other than probiotics may be involved in causing an irregular heartbeat. Moreover, researchers are yet to perform controlled experiments to establish a scientific basis for this.

Can probiotics cause chest pain?

Yes, users on Reddit have reported getting heart pain with probiotics. The reasons could be that you have SIBO or histamine intolerance, and probiotics might aggravate these conditions. 

What role do probiotics play in heart disease?

Probiotics are beneficial for curing, preventing, and ameliorating heart disease.

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