Newswise — AUSTIN, TX .. September 19, 2017.. A recent report from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Working Group on the role of microbiota in blood pressure regulation underscored “there is a critical need to discover novel and innovative ways to address the blood pressure control issue.” The report was originally published online July 31, 2017 in Hypertension. 2017;70:479-485.

The online version of the article is located at: Hypertension is published by the American Heart Association. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute provided funds for the Working Group.

Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on the critically important role of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the health of many of the body’s organs and systems, was one of the 16 Working Group experts with a diverse background in hypertension; cancer; and cardiovascular, renal, nutritional, inflammatory, microbiome/microbial, and oral disease.

In commenting on the report, Dr. Bryan said, “The Working Group is correct, ‘remarkable progress’ has been made understanding of the complex bacterial communities in the mouth and gut and their implications in human health and diseases. There has been an explosion of new science which is critically important since the mouth is the first to experience environmental, nutritional and other external influences. Achieving the right ‘balance’ between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria is significant for chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and chronic inflammation in addition to periodontal disease.

“Importantly, the Working Group spent considerable time discussing the role of nitric oxide (NO) production and its implications in hypertension. It concluded that achieving the right balance of bacteria in the mouth serves as an alternative mechanism than provide an endothelium-independent source of bioactive NO that compensates for the loss of NO production due to aging. A recent meta-analysis showed that increasing the dietary intake of nitrate-rich food products is effective in reducing blood pressure provided the subjects have the right “nitrate reducing oral bacteria”.  Using antiseptic mouthwash abolishes the blood pressure lowering effects of dietary nitrate.

“In other words, as we age we lose the ability to produce NO which results in insufficient blood flow to every organ of the body. Most people are NO deficient which can lead to a host of serious health issues. Most people do not eat a well-balanced diet that enable natural NO production. Indeed, the daily use of antiseptic mouthwashes, overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps/lotions kills bacteria in and on the body that are involved in producing NO. Maintaining proper nitric oxide production is one of the cornerstones of health and wellness.  The results from the Systolic blood PRessure INtervention Trial (SPRINT) trial reveal that getting blood pressure closer to 120/80 mm Hg reduces all causes of death including cardiovascular disease.  Since 50% of people taking blood pressure medications still have an increase in blood pressure, it is time to start looking at other targets for blood pressure regulation.  Bacteria may provide that new target.  New therapeutic strategies will focus on restoring NO production in the oral cavity.

Dr. Bryan is available for media interviews.

The report highlighted:

  • 86 million Americans, above the age of 20, have hypertension
  • 2/3 Americans have Pre-hypertension or hypertension (over 200 million Americans)
  • Hypertension is the #1 modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the number 1 killer of men and women worldwide.
  • Blacks display both disproportionately earlier onset and higher prevalence of hypertension and have an increased risk of blood pressure related cardiovascular and renal complications compared with non-Hispanic whites
  • An estimated 200 million Americans use mouthwash daily that eradicate nitric oxide producing bacteria leading to a state of nitric oxide deficiency
  • There is a critical need to discover novel and innovative ways to address the blood pressure control issue. Existing therapies are not effective to address the magnitude of the challenge.


Dr. Bryan is credited with a multitude of significant discoveries in Nitric Oxide function, production and metabolism, and has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals in the field. He’s been awarded nine patents related to his discoveries on Nitric Oxide. Dr. Bryan is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics.


Journal Link: Hypertension, July 2017