Got Milk, Lose Meds

26 07 2011

Okay, so it’s not quite that dramatic. But a recent study did examine the use of milk and soy proteins in reducing blood pressure[i]. Previous diets high in protein had suggested a reduction in blood pressure. This recent trial examined the effect of soy and milk protein supplementation in patients with mild hypertension. They were compared to a group that used carbohydrate supplementation as a control. The study was recently published on line in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Although the study looked at both systolic (the top blood pressure number) and diastolic (the bottom blood pressure number) the effects were only seen in terms of a reduction of systolic blood pressure. The study looked at 352 adults with mild hypertension. The participants were subject to a 3 weeks washout period and then given 40 grams/day of soy protein, milk protein or carbohydrate for 8 weeks. The washout was repeated twice so that all participants had an eight week period on all three treatment regimens. There was no difference in blood pressure reduction between the soy or milk protein arms, both of which showed about a 2mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure

 While that may not seem like a lot, a 2 mmHg reduction is  estimated to translate into a 6% reduction in stroke death, a 4% reduction in cardiac death and a 3% reduction in all cause mortality. The soy group had an increase in their HDL (good cholesterol), but otherwise there was no significant difference between the soy and milk groups. Soy protein is high in dietary phosphorus; high levels of dietary phosphorus have been correlated with lower blood pressure readings. Milk protein is rich in Angiotensin-I-converting enzyme inhibitory peptides, including casokinins and lactokinins, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure. In fact Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (commonly known as ACEI or ACE) are a popular class of anti-hypertensive medications and have demonstrated a significant benefit in helping people who have suffered heart muscle damage after a heart attack or who have congestive heart failure.

Now we just need the study on fine French cheeses and a glass of Bordeaux….

[i] (He, et al., 2011)




2 responses

26 07 2011

How about yogurt? Is it considered as milk? I hate milk but I consume yogurt.

26 07 2011
What's Cooking with Dr. Mike: The Grassroots Gourmet™

@Joumana: The study only looked at milk proteins, but the components that comprised the milk proteiens are similar to those found in yogurt, including the casokinins and lactokinins with anti-hypertensive effects. Therefore, it is a reasonable extrapolation to apply the selfsame benefits to consumption of yogurt.

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