High protein diet may reduce risk of high blood pressure, study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th September 2014
High protein diet may reduce risk of high blood pressure, study
High protein diet may reduce risk of high blood pressure, study

Adults who consume a high-protein diet may be at a lower risk for developing high blood pressure (HBP), according to findings from the Boston University School of Medicine.

The study, published in September 2014 in the American Journal of Hypertension, found participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g protein/day) had a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure compared to the lowest intake level.

Study method

The researchers analysed protein intakes of healthy participants from the Framingham Offspring Study and followed them for development of high blood pressure over an 11-year period.

They found that adults who consumed more protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had statistically significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. In general, these beneficial effects were evident for both overweight (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) and normal weight (BMI <25 kg/m2) individuals. They also found that consuming more dietary protein was associated with lower long-term risks for HBP. When the diet also was characterized by higher intakes of fiber, higher protein intakes led to 40–60 percent reductions in risk of HBP.

“These results provide no evidence to suggest that individuals concerned about the development of HBP should avoid dietary protein,” said Lynn Moore, corresponding author and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. “Rather, protein intake may play a role in the long-term prevention of HBP,” she said.

“This growing body of research on the vascular benefits of protein, including this study, suggest we need to revisit optimal protein intake for optimal heart health,” Associate Professor Moore said.

This work was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study (NHLBI/NIH Contract N01-HC-25195), the Boston University School of Medicine, and a grant from the American Egg Board/US Department of Agriculture.

High blood pressure

One in three US adults has hypertension and 78.6 million are clinically obese, a risk factor for the development of hypertension. Because of the strain that it puts on blood vessel walls, HBP is one of the most common risk factors of stroke and an accelerator of multiple forms of heart disease, especially when paired with excess body weight.

In Australia, more than 4.6 million people have hypertension, despite an estimated $1 billion being spent on managing the condition each year, according to findings from the Heart Foundation paper published in April 2014 in the journal Heart, Lung and Circulation.

The analysis by Dr Robert Grenfell, National Director of Cardiovascular Health at the Heart Foundation said these figures highlight that one in five adults have high blood pressure.

Dr Grenfell said in Australia a third of those experiencing a heart attack reported having either unmanaged or uncontrolled high blood pressure.

The in-depth look at the ABS Australian Health Survey data showed:

  • 200,000 Australians have severe high blood pressure
  • One million Australians are taking medication yet their blood pressure is not reaching targets
  • Only 1.46 million have their blood pressure controlled
  • The remaining hypertensive adults have unmanaged blood pressure