Good news if you or someone you know has high blood pressure and wants to lower it naturally to help reduce the chance of a having a heart attack or stroke. Scientists have now proved Beetroot Juice works just as well at reducing blood pressure when compared to a single antihypertensive (high blood pressure) medication.
This study funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the world wide respected journal ‘Hypertension’ was led by Dr Vikas Kapil from the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. The study followed the same methods and testing that prescription drugs go through to get approval (prospective,double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial).
What did the Scientists do and find?
The patients were split into two groups:-
- One group was given just 250ml a day of Beetroot juice.
- The other group was given the same amount (250ml a day) of Beetroot juice with thi group the Beetroot juice had its naturally occurring chemical nitrate removed by the scientists.
After just 4 weeks the researchers observed significant reductions in systolic (the top larger number measured when the heart is contracting) and diastolic blood pressure (the lower number measured when the heart is relaxing) as measured in the clinic, at home, or by Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM).
How does Beetroot juice lower blood pressure?
Nitrate chemicals in the juice are converted rapidly to nitrite in the blood stream which is a very powerful blood vessel vasodilator (it enlarges them). As a result due the ‘physics of fluid dynamics’ the pressure in the fluid in that vessel reduces. You will be aware of this phenomenon if you have ever tried to blow up one if those long thin balloons, it’s almost impossible! You can ‘feel the pressure’ you need to generate to force air into the balloon – it almost bursts your eardrums! Compare this to the force needed to blow up a standard width balloon. This is similar to the difference in pressure that your heart would need to generate to push blood around your body with a narrow and wider blood vessel.
Commenting on the study Dr Kapil said “This is the first evidence of BP reduction with dietary-nitrate supplementation and these findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readily available adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension.
Irrespective of the method of measurement, the magnitude of BP reduction is of clinical significance because it resembles the average BP reduction achieved with a single antihypertensive medication at standard dose (9.1/5.5 mm Hg).
This data is the first to demonstrate sustained BP-lowering with dietary nitrate in patients with hypertension that require BP control.
Overall blood analysis showed supplementation of dietary nitrate as used in this study led to about a 5.5-fold increase in blood plasma nitrate concentrations, as the authors observe, while plasma nitrite concentrations were elevated by approximately 2.7-fold from the start of the study.
If this article raises any questions or queries then please get professional advice from your GP or a suitably qualified health professional.
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