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Small Study Suggests Milk, Soy Proteins Lower Blood Pressure Modestly
Date:7/18/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- Supplements of milk and soy protein lowered blood pressure modestly among hypertensive patients, a small, new study found.

The researchers suggest that replacing some refined carbohydrates -- such as white bread and white rice -- in your diet with soy or milk protein "might be an important component of nutrition intervention strategies for the prevention and treatment of hypertension."

While the reduction in blood pressure was small, study leader Dr. Jiang He, chairman of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, said the benefits could translate to reduced numbers of strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the population as a whole.

"The reduction is not large in an individual, but significant at the population level," he said.

But several heart experts cited a number of limitations with the research, including the short duration of the trial.

The study, published online July 18 in the journal Circulation, was funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Nearly 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney damage.

He and his colleagues evaluated the effects of milk and soy protein supplements and a carbohydrate supplement among 352 adults who either had pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension -- that is, systolic readings (the top number) ranging from 120 to 159 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure readings (the bottom number) from 80 to 95 mmHg. Ideally, pressures should be below 120 over 80.

Each person took 40 grams of a supplement daily for eight-week periods. He and his team evaluated the participants' blood pressure at the start and end of each phase.

The carbohydrate supplement served as a comparison.

"Our study found that over an e
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