How Protein Can Affect Heart Health | Wellness Clinic


Protein is an essential part of a balanced nutrition. The human body utilizes protein to build and repair tissues. Protein is also used to make enzymes, hormones, and other fundamental body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. However, for many individuals, the source of these proteins can often also be full of saturated fats, and too much of it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Can protein cause cardiovascular disease and hypertension?


Protein can be found in chicken, pork, fish, beef, tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs. The issue with consuming some of these sources of protein that are rich in saturated fats as well is that such can increase the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), or in other words, the “bad” cholesterol. Increased levels of LDL cholesterol have been associated with cardiovascular disease and even hypertension. Research studies focusing on the connection between protein intake and CVD as well as hypertension have been conducted to reveal this correlation.


Protein & Cardiovascular Disease


Observational and epidemiologic studies have demonstrated a decrease in blood pressure, or BP, and a consistent association between a high protein consumption and incident BP. The protein source is an important element when it comes to the effect of blood pressure in the body; where animal protein has become less effective than non-animal or plant protein, especially that in almonds. At the Inter-Salt Study of over 10,000 subjects, individuals who have a dietary protein consumption of about 30 percent over the average had reduced BP by 3.0/2.5 mmHg compared to those that were 30 percent below the average. However, wild or lean animal protein with essential and less saturated fats and fatty acids may decrease CHD, lipids and BP risk.


A meta-analysis supported these findings and also indicated that hypertensive individuals and the elderly have the BP reduction with protein intake. Still another meta-analysis of 40 trials with 3277 patients found reductions in BP of 1.76/1.15 mmHg compared to carbohydrate consumption (p < 0.001). Both vegetable and animal protein significantly and equally reduced BP at 2.27/1.26 mmHg and 2.54/0.95 mmHg respectively. Dietary protein consumption is inversely related to risk for stroke. A randomized cross-over study in 352 adults with pre-hypertension and stageIhypertension found a significant decrease in SBP of 2.0 mmHg with soy protein and 2.3 mmHg with milk protein compared to a high glycemic index diet over each of the 8 wk treatment periods. A non-significant decrease has been in DBP. Another RDB parallel study over 4 weeks of 94 subjects with prehypertension and stageIhypertension found significant reductions on office BP of 4.9/2.7 mmHg in those given a combo of 25 percent protein intake vs the control group awarded 15 percent protein within an isocaloric manner. The protein consisted of pea , 20 percent soy, egg that is 30 percent and isolate. The daily recommended intake of nourishment from many sources is 1.0 to 1.5 g/kg body weight, varying with exercise level, age, renal function and other factors.


Fermented milk supplemented with whey protein concentrate reduces BP in. Administration of 20 g/d of hydrolyzed whey protein nutritional supplement rich in bioactive peptides significantly decreased BP more than 6 weeks from 8.0 ± 3.2 mmHg in SBP and 5.5 ± 2.1 millimeters in diastolic BP. Milk peptides, which equal caseins and whey proteins, are a rich source of ACEI peptides. Val-Pro-Pro and Ile-Pro-Pro awarded at 5 to 60 mg/d have varying reductions in BP using an average reduction in pooled studies of approximately 1.28-4.8/0.59-2.2 mmHg. Yet recent meta-analysis did not reveal significant reductions in BP in people. Powdered fermented milk using Lactobacillus helveticus given at 12 g/d significantly lowered BP from 11.2/6.5 mmHg in 4 weeks. A dose response study revealed reductions in BP. The response is attributed to fermented milk peptides which inhibit ACE.


Pins et al administered 20 g of whey protein that is hydrolyzed and noticed that a BP reduction of 11/7 mmHg compared to controls. Whey protein is successful in enhancing arterial stiffness, insulin resistance, glucose, lipids and BP. These data indicate that the protein must be hydrolyzed so as to exhibit an antihypertensive effect, and also the maximum BP reaction is dose dependent. Bovine peptides and whey peptides that are protein-derived exhibit ACEI activity. These components comprise B-caseins, B-lg B2-microglobulin, fractions and serum albumin. ACEI peptides are released by the hydrolysis of whey protein isolates. Marine collagen peptides (MCPs) from deep sea fish have anti-hypertensive activity. A double-blind placebo controlled trial in 100 hypertensive subjects with diabetes who received MCPs twice a day for 3 months had significant reductions in DBP and mean. Bonito protein (Sarda Orientalis), from the tuna and mackerel family has natural ACEI inhibitory peptides and reduces BP 10.2/7 mmHg in 1.5 g/d.


Sardine muscle protein, which contains Valyl-Tyrosine (VAL-TYR), significantly lowers BP in hypertensive subjects. Kawasaki et al treated 29 hypertensive subjects with 3 milligrams of VAL-TYR sardine muscle focused extract for four wk and reduced BP 9.7/5.3 mmHg (p < 0.05). Levels of aldosterone and A-Iincreased as serum A-II diminished suggesting that VAL-TYR is a ACEI. BP was considerably lowered in a study using a vegetable drink with protein hydrolysates in 13 weeks.


Soy protein reduces BP in patients in most studies. Soy protein consumption was inversely and significantly correlated with both DBP and SBP in 45694 Chinese girls or more of soy protein within 3 years and the association increased with age. The SBP decrease was 1.9 to 4.9 mm reduced and the DBP 0.9 to 2.2 mmHg lower. However, meta-analysis and trials have shown mixed results on BP to reductions of 7 percent to 10 percent for SBP and DBP with no change in BP. The current meta-analysis of 27 trials found a substantial reduction in BP of 2.21/1.44 mmHg. Some studies suggest improvement in ACEI activity, reduction in inflammation and HS-CRP, cognitive function arterial compliance, decrease in tone activity and reduction in both oxidative stress and levels. Fermented soy at roughly 25 g/d is suggested.


Besides ACEI consequences, protein consumption may also alter responses and induce a natriuretic. Low protein intake coupled with low omega 3 fatty acid intake can lead to hypertension in animal models. The perfect protein intake, based on degree of activity, renal function, stress and other factors, is about 1.0 to 1.5 g/kg daily.


In conclusion, protein is an important part of a balanced diet, however, leaner alternatives containing less amounts of saturated fats are ideal to prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, promoting overall health and wellness. Many individuals consume higher amounts of proteins than necessary. A healthcare professional specializing in diet and nutrition can help you come up with the best nutritional plan for your and your specific health concerns. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


Additional Topics: Wellness


Overall health and wellness are essential towards maintaining the proper mental and physical balance in the body. From eating a balanced nutrition as well as exercising and participating in physical activities, to sleeping a healthy amount of time on a regular basis, following the best health and wellness tips can ultimately help maintain overall well-being. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards helping people become healthy.






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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "How Protein Can Affect Heart Health | Wellness Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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