Two recent research is examining the relationship between fasting and the microbiome and revealed new learning regarding the way our gut bacteria composition and how it can be remodeled by short-term diet alterations and how this can contribute to cardiovascular health. 

The research says fasting is best for reshaping the microbiome, but a short-term fast before you start a new diet can increase the diet’s healthy effects.

Diet Alteration to Improve Cardio Health

A newly published study talks about these relationships, analyzing how dietary interventions particularly fasting can improve blood pressure via microbiome alterations.

Fasting Before You start Dash Diet

The first research was published in the journal Nature Communications, stating how a short-term fast can offer acute improvements to blood pressure with a longer-term Mediterranean diet.

The first treatment provided to patients who have hypertension is a dietary intervention called DASH(Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension). The DASH diet is best for the first-line treatment for hypertension. But it is yet to be found how it directly improves blood pressure. It is hypothesized that diet alterations to the microbiome may be causing the improvements.

In this study, scientists investigated 71 subjects and participants divided into two groups, and asked to follow the DASH diet for three months. One group followed a five-day fast before the DASH diet.

By tracing immune biomarkers and microbiome changes, scientists found better blood pressure improvements. Interestingly, the immune and microbiome changes were notably different to those patients who followed only the DASH diet.

Scientists hypothesize the fasting diet can rapidly alter microbiome composition and boost the availability of short-chain fatty acids. The short-term change could later revise how the body responds to the DASh diet.

People who started their diet with five-day fasting had a lower body mass index, blood pressure, and the need for antihypertensive medication stated Dominik Müller, who is the researcher of this project.

The Microbiome Link

Another newly published research, which was led by scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, analyzed to find how gut microbes could influence blood pressure. Scientists were curious whether the outcome can be achieved without fasting, with the help of dietary supplements, or by shaping microbiome composition.

Scientists conducted a series of researches using a specific animal model engineered to learn about hypertension, called SHRSP rats(spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone). First research conducted to find whether fasting-induced alters to the microbiome affect blood pressure improvements.

One group of SHRSP rats were allowed to eat alternate days for nine weeks. As a result, animals showed significantly lower blood pressure, compared to those animals who followed a normal diet. After using transplant examinations the scientists confirmed that microbiomes of fasting rats contributed to the blood pressure improvements.

David Durgan was surprised to see that germ-free rats who received microbiota through the fasting SHRSP rats experienced lower blood pressure than those rats who received microbiota from SHRSP control rats. These outcomes showed that the modifications to the microbiota induced by fasting were adequate to mediate the effects of the lower pressure of periodic fasting.

When it is closely examined the microbiota from the fasting animals showed higher levels of bile acids than other animals who followed the normal diet.

Scientists also used shotgun sequence analysis of the microbiota and untargeted metabolomics analysis of plasma and gastrointestinal luminal content. After observing all the changes, modifications in products of bile acid metabolism worked as potential mediators of blood pressure regulation. They also found cholic acid, a primary acid that helps reduce the blood pressure in the SHRSP model of hypertension.

Hence these studies insights into how the gut microbiome can help catalyze useful metabolic results from dietary interventions. Still, more studies are needed to learn whether frequent intermittent fasting cycles help improve hypertension while following the DASH diet.