MIAMI -

Consuming probiotics may improve blood pressure control, researchers recently reported.

Probiotics, considered as "friendly" bacteria, are sold as dietary supplements. The bacteria can also be found in foods like yogurt, sour milk and cheese.

"The small collection of studies we looked at suggests regular consumption of probiotics can be part of a healthy lifestyle," said Griffith University's Jing Sun, the lead author of the study.

The study, done in Australia, was published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Griffith University researchers said consumers of probiotics tend to have lower blood pressure. Nine controlled trials included 543 patients and there were differences noted in the amounts of bacteria consumed.

Researchers said the micro-organisms help to lower cholesterol, which leads to  less fat in the vessels. Sun said further studies were needed.

Doctors generally advise that people with weakened immune systems avoid probiotics.