Researchers from Finland report that a fermented milk high in bioactive peptides could be used to lower blood pressure among people with hypertension, one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Protein has recently been investigated for its effects on hypertension.Scientists at the Valio research centre in Helsinki and the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Helsinki evaluated the long-term blood pressure-lowering effect of milk fermented by Lactobacillus helveticus LBK-16H in hypertensive subjects. They report their findings in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In a randomised, placebo-controlled study, 39 hypertensive patients received 150 mL daily of either L. helveticus LBK-16H fermented milk or a control product for 21 weeks after a two-week run-in period. During the run-in period, the average baseline diastolic and systolic blood pressure values were 155 and 97 mm Hg, respectively, in the test product group and 152 and 96 mm Hg, respectively, in the control group. After the run-in period, blood pressure was measured at home on the same day every week.
The team found significant differences in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure between the test product and control groups, and they added that demographic factors had no significant effect on the responses.
They concluded that L. helveticus LBK-16H fermented milk containing bioactive peptides, used daily, does have blood pressure-lowering effect in hypertensive subjects.
In the background to the study, the researchers explained that peptides derived from milk proteins can have ACE-inhibiting properties - the Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE; EC 188.8.131.52) plays a dual role in the regulation of hypertension: it catalyses the production of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II and it inactivates the vasodilator bradykinin. By inhibiting these processes, ACE inhibitors have antihypertensive effects.