Tag Archives: hypertension

L-Carnitine Supplement Could Treat Heart Disease

An animal study has identified a potential new therapeutic option for treating cardiac fibrosis: L-carnitine supplementation. Could L-carnitine prevent the development of heart failure?

Researchers (Y Omori, T Ohtani, et al), at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, developed an animal study to analyze potential new treatments for heart failure—specifically heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) in hypertensive heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease is caused by hypertension, or high blood pressure. Hypertensive heart disease with heart failure is a serious condition, which can lead to ischemic heart disease and heart attacks. Heart disease is leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers were aware that prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is poor. They knew that hypertension causes decreased free-carnitine levels in the heart. Would L-carnitine supplements have an effect?

Carnitine is a non-essential amino acid, synthesized in the human body from the amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine is also found in food, especially red meat and dairy products. L-carnitine is simply the biologically-active form of carnitine.

Carnitine has a substantial antioxidant effect, which greatly benefits health by preventing free radical damage. The researchers hoped that the carnitine supplements would also combat hypertension.

L-carnitine treatment and heart failure study

Rats were given a high-salt diet, which models hypertensive heart failure. Their free carnitine levels were measured, and were found to be low in the left ventricle of the heart. The rats were then given L-carnitine supplements.

This L-carnitine treatment had a significant impact. It restored the levels of carnitine in the chambers of the heart, and even reversed fibrosis. Cardiac fibrosis is a thickening of the heart valves, which is often found in heart failure.

The affect L-carnitine has on reversing, or thinning, the level of cardiac fibrosis means that L-carnitine could become a therapeutic option for treating hypertensive heart disease in the future.



Does Broccoli Lower High Blood Pressure? Glutamic Acid and Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension affects one third of all adult Americans – approximately 70 million people. It increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke which are leading causes of death in North America. Hypertension is being called a silent killer because it is often asymptomatic, and people do not realize they have it, until it is too late.

Could glutamic acid (amino acid) lower high blood pressure?  This is the question that a study among almost 5,000 participants in the U.S., U.K., China and Japan, tried to answer.  Results? Researchers reported that a 4.72% higher dietary intake of the amino acid glutamic acid – when derived from vegetables – did actually lower blood pressure. Glutamic acid can be found in high quantities in vegetables like broccoli, beans, whole grains, tofu and durum wheat.

Results Not Conclusive – Glutamic Acid May Not Lower Blood Pressure After All

Even though this specific study suggested that there was a correlation between the amino acid glutamic acid and lower blood pressure, the change was not that significant.  The systolic blood pressure fell by an average of 1.5-3.0 mm of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure fell by 1.0 to 1.6 mm Hg.  In other words, if your blood pressure was 150/100, you might have lowered it to 147/99.  Yes, it is a lower value but clearly doesn’t solve your blood pressure problem naturally.

There is some conflicting evidence as well.  The so called ‘Rotterdam Study’, conducted in the Netherlands, studied the impact various amino acids had on the older population. The researchers wanted to find out if there was a correlation between dietary protein (specific amino acids) and lower blood pressure.

Test subjects were given the amino acids glutamic acid, lysine, arginine, tyrosine and cysteine. Tyrosine reduced systolic blood pressure by 2.4 mm Hg, but not diastolic.  None of the other amino acids, such as glutamic acid, seemed to lower blood pressure at all.  Over a six-year period, none of the amino acids seemed to prevent the development of hypertension either.

While it makes sense to include green leafy vegetables in your diet, broccoli or glutamic acid dietary supplements clearly will not represent a natural cure for high blood pressure.




Amino Acid Taurine and Blood Pressure – New Way to Lower Blood Pressure?

Important news about the amino acid Taurine and blood pressure.  Cardiovascular health in men may be improved by the amino acid taurine, which may help lower blood pressure. Taurine is important for modulating cardiovascular function because it acts within the brain, affecting neurotransmitter receptor sites, as well as within peripheral tissues.

At the Center for Developmental Neuroscience at the City University of New York Graduate School, AE Idrissi, E Okeke, et al., did a study on male rats where IV injection of taurine caused tachycardia as well as hypotension. The Long-Evans control rats were freely moving, and a mere single injection of the amino acid taurine “significantly lowered the systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure.”

Aortic rings in the heart triggered GABA receptors by circulating GABA or taurine

In the study  it was taurine that was confirmed for its vasoactive properties using isolated preparations of the aortic rings. The pharmacological agents produced measurable mechanical responses of the aortic rings; it was found that the taurine caused an activated tonic-like effect of GABA-A receptors when either GABA or taurine were circulated.

This came as no surprise since previously it had been shown that taurine does indeed activate GABA-A receptors in the brain, which produces an apparent physiological response implying that “GABA(A)receptor activation is the relaxation of the arterial muscularis, vasodilation, and [causes] a decrease in blood pressure.”

Taurine has different effects on blood pressure depending on dosage… and gender!

This is where the study became interesting! There was evidently a difference between small steady doses of amino acid taurine supplementation (0.05% for four weeks) when taurine was put into the drinking water… it actually caused significant hypertension, which means that blood pressure actually increased, not decreased!  However, this effect was only witnessed in the female rats; according to the study: “males supplemented with taurine did not show an increase in systolic, diastolic, or mean arterial pressure.” Interestingly, both genders showed taurine administration still caused significant tachycardia, so it was suggested that the acute (a higher dose all at once) supplementation of taurine still had the health benefit of lowering their blood pressure overall. Only in females did it raise the blood pressure.

The limits are that no study was done on taurine administration to hypertensive rats. Also, there is no proof that what happens in rats will carry over to humans, but that taurine does indeed affect GABA-A receptors is well known, so more research needs to be done about the connection between taurine and blood pressure in humans. As always, be sure to discuss any supplementation of taurine or other amino acids with your doctor first.

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