Soy/Milk Protein Supplements Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
A study just published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that both soy protein supplements and milk were linked to lower systolic blood pressure, as opposed to refined carbohydrate dietary supplements.
This is the first controlled clinical trial to show that milk protein lowers blood pressure for people with pre-hypertension and stage-1 high blood pressure.
Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher of the study, said that the study’s results imply that adding foods or drinks high in soy or milk protein may help to both prevent and treat high blood pressure.
The study included 352 adults with either a mild case or an increased risk of high blood pressure. Those taking a milk protein supplement had a 2.3 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower systolic blood pressure, compared to when they took a refined carbohydrate supplement. Those taking a soy protein supplement had a 2.0 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure when compared to the refined carbohydrate supplement. Refined carbohydrate supplements themselves were not linked to changes in systolic blood pressure.
Dr. He, an epidemiologist at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, La., explained, “Some previous observational research on eating carbohydrates inconsistently suggested that a high carbohydrate diet might help reduce blood pressure. In contrast, our clinical trial directly compares soy protein with milk protein on blood pressure, and shows they both lower blood pressure better than carbohydrates.”
Participants were age 22 or older, with systolic blood pressure ranging from 120 to 159 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure from 80 to 95 mmHg. Each was randomly assigned to take 40 grams of soy protein, milk protein or a refined carbohydrate supplement every day, for eight weeks each. The supplements used were formulated to allow researchers to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein, and refined complex carbohydrate on blood pressure without changing sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Participants, who were all aged 22 or older, took the supplements for eight weeks, followed three-weeks without any supplements.
Blood pressure readings were taken before and after each supplement phase, showing a net blood pressure change.
Dr. He said, “The systolic blood pressure differences we found are small for the individual, but they are important at the population level.” Research has shown that even a small decrease in systolic blood pressure might bring 6 percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a 4 percent lower rate of heart disease deaths, and a 3 percent reduction in overall deaths among Americans. Long-term studies would be needed to make specific recommendations for dietary changes, Dr. He said.
American Heart Association (2011, July 18). Soy/milk protein dietary supplements linked to lower blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
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