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Study under review: Whey protein lowers blood pressure and improves endothelial function and lipid biomarkers in adults with prehypertension and mild hypertension: results from the chronic Whey2Go randomized controlled trial
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one factor that contributes significantly to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Blood pressure is usually reported in two numbers. For example, a reading of 120/80 mm Hg. The first number, systolic blood pressure, tells us how much pressure your blood is exerting against the arterial walls when your heart contracts. The second number signifies how much pressure your blood is exerting when the heart is relaxed and being refilled with blood. Blood pressure is generally divided into four categories:
Normal - ≤120/80
Prehypertension – 120-139/80-89
Hypertension Stage 1 – 140-159/90-99
Hypertension Stage 2 – ≥160/100
For people with hypertension or those who take blood pressure-lowering medication, the lifetime risk at age 30 for developing CVD is 37.3% higher than for people with normal blood pressure (absolute risk of 46.1% vs. 63.3%). These patients with hypertension also developed CVD five years earlier, comparatively. Chronic high blood pressure also creates health concerns (detailed in Figure 1) such as increased risk of stroke and organ damage.
Clinically, even a small two to five mm Hg decrease in systolic blood pressure can noticeably reduce CVD and total mortality. Observational trials have demonstrated mixed results when looking at associations between increased protein intake and a decrease in blood pressure. But RCTs have more consistently shown a modest benefit - particularly when the protein intake offsets some carbohydrate in the diet. Dairy foods, in addition to their protein content, may be able to provide additional benefits through their nutrient profile, which could further help reduce blood pressure. Getting adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium can also reduce blood pressure. Dairy products can be a good source of all three. Furthermore, dairy intake seems to correlate with small reductions in blood pressure. Since milk contains both protein and minerals, this raises the question of whether the protein in milk alone could lead to these reductions. The present study sought to further investigate the potential acute and chronic effects of two common dairy proteins, whey and calcium caseinate (Ca caseinate), on blood pressure and vascular function in people with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a large contributing factor to CVD that could see potential mitigation through increased protein intake. The present study examines the acute and chronic effects of whey and casein on blood pressure and vascular function in people with high blood pressure.
Other Articles in Issue #28 (February 2017)
The mindfulness-body connection
Health, and health-promoting habits, are massively influenced by how you think. This systematic review looked at mindfulness interventions, to see if they led to weight loss and psychological benefits.
Up your protein, lower your diabetes risk?
Pre-diabetes can often lead to diabetes, and pre-diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. Can switching out some carbs for protein help treat prediabetes?
Interview: Bill Willis, PhD
Bill is one of the few researchers who's actively competed in bodybuilding. Plus he researches muscle repair!
Coconut water ... overhyped and understudied?
Coconut water is slowly taking over grocery store aisles, with some athletes using it as a beverage of choice for hydration. This study looks at how well it actually performs for hydration during exercise
Oiling up arthritic joints
There have been many, many randomized trials done on fish oil and other marine oils, looking at their effects on arthritis. But when you look at all the trials together, what's the verdict?
SCD for IBD?
Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are difficult to treat, to say the least. Many have anecdotally found success with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is tested more rigorously in this trial.
Interview: Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD
Are you considering adopting a plant-based diet? Dr. Hunnes gives both a global and personal view.