For years we’ve been debating on whether protein shakes and supplements raise or lower blood pressure. This week a study from the University of Reading found that they actually decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. The key appears to be the whey protein found in milk which has been previously found to lower blood pressure.
In this study the researchers gave 38 pre- and mild hypertension participants two shakes a day for 8 weeks and found systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the pumping and filling pressure, respectively) to decrease within the first 24 hours of consuming the shakes. Systolic BP appeared to drop close to 4 points and diastolic, 2.5. These drops in blood pressure can have positive cardiac effects. Moreover they found in this study that cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood) dropped as well.
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adult have pre hypertension (blood pressure between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg) or hypertension (blood pressure over 140/90). Ways to lower one’s blood pressure include:
low salt diet (less than 2300 mg/ day or lower per one’s medical provider)
exercise – 30 minutes a day
avoiding alcohol and excessive caffeine
ensure adequate sleep
…and if one’s blood pressure is elevated, a thorough examination by one’s medical provider will include an investigation of other causes.
Protein shakes and supplements are not without their risks. Some cause bloating, abdominal pain, kidney disease, lack of nutrients if supplemented for a meal, weight gain and heavy metal accumulation. However this study sheds light on how a component of the popular supplement could be helpful in protecting the heart, and may spawn further must needed research.
More information on the study could be read here: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-10-protein-supplement-heart-disease.html
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician