We are recruiting for a clinical trial!

The use of prebiotics to lower blood pressure (Project ID 19203)

It is well known that our diet influences the risk of high blood pressure. While salt intake is associated with higher blood pressure, consumption of fruit, vegetables and other food rich in fibre is usually associated with lower blood pressure. New evidence from our laboratory has emerged that this may be due to the tiny microorganisms that live in our gut, called gut microbes. While our bodies are incapable of digesting some types of fibre, they are fermented in gut, where they feed the community of ‘good’ microbes (especially bacteria). This results in the release of substances that can be detected in our blood and might be beneficial in lowering our blood pressure. Some of these include acetate and butyrate.


The purpose of this research is to determine if dietary supplements which produce high levels of substances produced as a result of microbial fermentation could be used as a new strategy to lower blood pressure.

To be eligible to be part of this study you need to be:


You cannot participate in the study if you:

  • Have blood pressure ≥165/100 mmHg – if your blood pressure is this high we suggest you see your GP to start antihypertensive therapy soon.

  • Have used antibiotics or probiotics in the past 3 months (get in touch with us as you may be eligible to participate after 3 months)

  • Have type 1 or type 2 diabetes

  • Are pregnant

  • Have gastrointestinal diseases (including inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis or other malabsorption disorder).


Participants would be required to visit the Alfred Centre, Monash University (level 6) in Prahran on 4 occasions in the morning (60-90 min each time), as well as dropping off samples and blood pressure monitors in another 4 occasions. There will also be measurements of blood pressure, and collection of blood and faecal samples. You will eat delicious foods that contain either the supplement or the placebo for 3 weeks each. In between these two diets will be a 3 week wash out period, where you will receive no foods. The total study period is 9 weeks. All food will be provided to you frozen, and should be defrosted and consumed twice per day (breakfast and dinner).


For further information, please contact:


Dr Francine Marques


Senior Lecturer and Head of the Hypertension Research Laboratory

National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow

P: 03-9905 6958

E: francine.marques@monash.edu




Dakota Rhys-Jones


Research Dietitian

Department of Gastroenterology

Central Clinical School, Monash University

The Alfred Centre

Level 6, 99 Commercial Road

Melbourne VIC 3004

P:  039905 8098

E: Dakota.rhys-jones@monash.edu

Marques Laboratory

School of Biological Sciences