Whey protein reduces blood pressure for improved cardiometabolic health, shows Whey2Go clinical trial led by the University of Reading in partnership with Volac.
The Whey2Go study is the first randomised clinical trial to evaluate the relative effects of milk proteins whey and calcium-caseinate on several cardiometabolic health markers.
The study revealed that consumption of whey protein (28g twice a day for 8 weeks) resulted in clinically relevant reductions in 24-hour blood pressure compared with a maltodextrin control, a change that was not detected after the caseinate supplementation.
Funded by dairy protein business Volac and BBSRC UK, the study is part of a five-year industry-academia partnership between Volac and the University of Reading.
Suzane Leser, Head of Nutrition for Volac, explains the importance of the results for the business: “Our Volactive UltraWhey90 was shown to reduce blood pressure, and this outcome contributes to Volac’s long-term ambition to prove a number of health benefits for whey protein that builds on its well-established role in muscle health.”
Ms. Leser continues: “As we get older and require more protein to kick-start muscle protein synthesis, it is important to also consider the other barriers for nutrient use by the body, where a healthy circulatory system is crucial for the uptake of nutrients into muscles. This is in addition to all we know about the importance of reducing the risk of heart disease later in life.
“As for what is in whey protein that delivers a benefit that not all other proteins do, the study hints that this is greatly explained by the biological activity that we are able to protect during a gentle membrane filtration process.”
Ms. Leser reveals what is next for Volac: “Whilst performance nutrition will always be exciting, it is studies like this that will keep whey protein relevant for a new wave of older adults taking up exercise to work on their health, and for a generational shift of current sports nutrition consumers to whom training will one day move from being only about muscle performance and size, to muscle maintenance, mobility and metabolic health.”
More about the study:
- The study is also the first to use an in vitro digestion model to throw some light on the human trial results. The in vitro bioactivity of the supplements was tested for ACE-inhibitor activity. The Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme, or ACE, is well-known for increasing blood pressure by causing the blood vessels to constrict. The effect in vitro was found significantly higher for whey protein, compared to both caseinate and maltodextrin control, consistent with the results from the human trial.
- Inhibited ACE activity and combined improvements in lipid metabolism and vascular function were the possible mechanisms behind the reduction observed in blood pressure after whey protein consumption.
- Both whey protein and caseinate showed significant improvements in total cholesterol and vascular function, the latter showing a greater effect for whey protein, using the EFSA gold-standard FMD method.
- Both dairy proteins also significantly reduced cell-adhesion molecules to blood vessels, a marker of atherosclerotic plaque formation that leads to cardiovascular disease.
- Only whey protein showed a significant effect in reducing triacylglycerol, a triglyceride, the form in which fat is stored in the body.
- No effects were observed on anti-inflammatory markers, nitric oxide and arterial stiffness, as it may require an intervention longer than 8 weeks, according to other studies.
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