HealthDay News — Higher flavonoid intake is associated with lower systolic blood pressure (SBP), and this association is partly explained by microbial factors, according to a study published in Hypertension.

Amy Jennings, from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, and colleagues examined the extent to which composition of the gut microbiome may explain the cross-sectional association of habitual flavonoid and flavonoid-rich food intake with SBP and diastolic BP in a community-based sample of 904 participants. 16S rRNA genes were used to sequence gut microbiome composition.

The researchers found that SBP was lower in association with higher total flavonoid intakes and specifically the polymer subclass. In food-based analyses, associations were seen for higher intake of berries and red wine with lower SBP and pulse pressure. No associations were seen with diastolic BP. Higher intakes of anthocyanin-rich berries and red wine were associated with higher microbial alpha diversity in food-based analyses. Lower abundance of Parabacteroides was seen in association with a higher intake of berries and apples/pears. Structural equation modeling indicated that microbial factors accounted for 15.2% of the association between flavonoid-rich foods and clinically relevant lower SBP.


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“A better understanding of the highly individual variability of flavonoid metabolism could very well explain why some people have greater cardiovascular protection benefits from flavonoid-rich foods than others,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author received funding from the US Highbush Blueberry Council.

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