New evidence of fermented milk's effect on blood pressure

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Blood pressure Hypertension

Researchers in Finland investigating the blood-pressure lowering
effect of a fermented milk drink with a high tripeptide
concentration have concluded that it shows potential as a dietary
approach to hypertension management.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. Together with the UK and Ireland, Finland has one of the highest rates of hypertension in Europe, despite a long-term public health and information campaign.

Following pre-market clinical trials, Valio's Evolus, a modern spin on a traditional Scandinavian fermented milk drink, with added juice, was launched to the market in November 2000 bearing a blood-pressure lowering health claim. Sales in the first few months exceeded expectations, and it has since been launched in other European countries.

The new study, published in the December issue of the American Journal of Hypertension​, used a specially formulated version of the drink which is currently not available on the market, containing ten times the concentration of tripeptides, the protein fragments into which the milk protein is broken down when the Lactobacillus is added. The concentration of isoleucine-proline-proline was 7.5mg/100g, and valine-proline-proline 10mg/100g).

It involved 94 people with high blood pressure, who were not receiving any drugs for their condition. After a four-week run-in period they were given either 150ml of the fermented milk drink twice a day for ten weeks, or a control product.

The participants' 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurement was taken at the start and end of the intervention period.

The L helveticus​ group was seen to have an average systolic blood pressure about four points lower than the control group at the end of the study, and diastolic blood pressure about two points lower, and no adverse effects were reported.

Lowering systolic blood pressure by three points is understood to reduce the risk of stroke by between ten and 13 percent.

The researchers concluded that the drink, when used daily, "does have a BP-lowering effect in hypertensive subjects"​. They said that it therefore has potential as a dietary means of controlling hypertension.

These tripeptides have previously been shown to reduce blood pressure in animals, and to lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. Lead researcher Dr Riita Korpela of Valio has explained this effect by the tripeptides blocking angiotensin-converting-enzyme, a chemical that raises blood pressure.

A spokesman for Valio told that there are currently no plans to introduce a higher tripeptide version of Evolus to market, and that the purpose of the research was to investigate the safety and efficacy of a higher concentration.

Related topics Dairy-based ingredients

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