We assessed, for the first time, to what extent the composition of the gut microbiome might explain the cross-sectional association of habitual flavonoid and flavonoid-rich food intake with systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) in a community-based sample (N=904) from Northern Germany. Gut microbiome composition was sequenced from 16S ribosomal RNA genes. Higher total flavonoid intakes and specifically the polymer subclass were associated with lower systolic BP (SBP; β T3-T1: -2.9% [95% CI, -5.1 to -0.7], P=0.01 and -3.7% [95% CI, -5.4 to -1.0], P=0.01). In food-based analyses, a higher intake of berries (SBP, β Q4-Q1: -2.9% [95% CI, -5.2 to -0.6], P=0.01; pulse pressure, -5.5% [95% CI, -9.6 to -1.2], P=0.01) and red wine (SBP, β Q4-Q1: -2.6% [95% CI, -4.8 to -0.3], P=0.03; pulse pressure, -6.1% [95% CI, -10.1 to -2.0], P<0.01) were associated with lower SBP and pulse pressure. There were no associations with diastolic BP. In food-based analyses, higher intakes of anthocyanin-rich berries and red wine were associated with higher alpha diversity (β Q4-Q1: 0.03 [95% CI, 0.0-0.1], P=0.04 and 0.1 [95% CI, 0.03-0.1], P<0.01). Higher intakes of berries and apples/pears were associated with a lower abundance of Parabacteroides (β Q4-Q1: -0.2 [95% CI, -0.4 to -0.1], P<0.01, Q=0.07 and -0.3 [95% CI, -0.4 to -0.1], P< 0.01, Q=0.04). Structural equation modeling of these novel data suggests that microbial factors explained 15.2% to the association between flavonoid-rich foods and clinically relevant lower SBP. Further research should focus on interindividual variability in the gut microbiome in mediating the cardiovascular effects of flavonoid-rich foods.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported in part by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) grant EXC 22167-390884018 (to W. Lieb) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy, and German Federal Ministry of Education and Research grant 01GR0468. The PopGen 2.0 network is supported by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research grant 01EY1103 (to W. Lieb) and the Medical Faculty of the University of Kiel.
A. Cassidy received funding from the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) with oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture and A. Cassidy acts as an advisor to the USHBC grant committee. The other author reports no conflicts.
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- blood pressure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine