Probiotics added to Cheddar Lowers Blood Pressure

Australian researchers report in the Journal of Food Science that adding probiotic bacteria to cheddar may lead to the formation of blood pressure lowering proteins, giving the cheese an added health punch,.

Strains of Lactobacillusadded to the cheese resulted in the formation and release of proteins that are biologically active, such as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory peptides.

cheddar cheese

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ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II, thereby improving blood flow and blood pressure. ACE inhibitors made by drug companies have been found to be beneficial in treating hypertension, particularly in patients with type-1 or type-2 diabetes, and also appear to provide good cardiovascular and renal protection. Pharmaceutical ACE-inhibitors do however have side effects.

“Probiotic L. acidophilus L10 was able to remain viable in cheddar cheese after 24 wk of ripening at 4, 8, and 12 degrees Celsius with improved ACE-inhibitory activity,” wrote the researchers, led by Nagendra Shah, Victoria University, Melbourne. “The results of this study indicated that addition of probiotic L. acidophilus L10 into cheddar cheeses could have potential to improve the quality of cheeses and health status of the product through increased ACE-inhibitory activity.”

The Australian researchers produced 3 forms of cheddar cheese:

  • one using only a lactococci starter culture (control);
  • one with the starter culture plus Lactobacillus acidophilus L10; and
  • one with the starter plus L. acidophilus L10 and L. helveticus H100

Probiotic cell counts remained above 106 colony forming units (CFU) per gram after the 24-week ripening period at all of the temperatures studied (four, eight, and 12 degrees Celsius).

Higher levels of ACE-inhibition were observed for the cheeses ripened at higher temperatures, but the ACE-inhibitory activities were not significantly different.

Increased ACE-inhibition was associated with improvements in proteolysis (protein splitting) of the cheese.
Increases in levels of lactic, acetic, and propionic acids (reported to adversely affect flavor and aroma when present in excess) in the probiotic cheese were also observed, relative to the control cheese after 24 weeks, showing that some consideration must be given to finding a balance between enhancing growth of the non-starter lactic acid bacteria (NSLAB) and boosting the health aspects of the cheese.

“It has been recommended that a product contain at least 107 cells per gram or milliliter of food to provide health effects,” wrote the researchers. “It is also possible that the beneficial health effects of cheese can be increased based on the peptides released as a result of proteolysis during ripening,” they added.

Source: Journal of Food Science (Blackwell) Mar 2008: doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2008.00689.x “Influence of Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. helveticus on Proteolysis, Organic Acid Profiles, and ACE-Inhibitory Activity of cheddar Cheeses Ripened at 4, 8, and 12 degrees C”
Author: L. Ong, N.P. Shah

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