July 8, 2009

Glutamic acid may lower blood pressure

U.S. researchers suggest a protein found in vegetables -- glutamic acid -- may lower blood pressure.

The study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found a 5 percent higher dietary intake of glutamic acid as a percentage of total dietary protein was correlated with small reductions in blood pressure.

Lead author Dr. Jeremiah Stamler of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago said it is estimated that reducing a population's average systolic blood pressure by 2 millimeters of mercury could cut stroke death rates by 6 percent and reduce mortality from coronary heart disease by 4 percent.

The study involved 4,680 adults in China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, who were enrolled in the International Study on Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure. Each had eight blood pressure tests, four diet recall surveys and two 24-hour urine collections.

Stamler added there no data exists on taking glutamic acid as a supplement, but suggested improved habitual food intake instead of popping pills.

Common sources of vegetable protein include beans, whole grains -- including whole grain rice, pasta, breads and cereals -- and soy products such as tofu, Stamler said.

Durum wheat, which is used to make pasta, is also a good source of vegetable protein.