Protein From Yellow Peas May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Posted Wed, 04/29/2009 - 7:15am by Fred Lee

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Long promoted as a cholesterol free food that is high in protein and fiber, it turns out that yellow split peas might help lower your blood pressure and help prevent kidney disease, as well. New findings out of Canada have found that a protein found in yellow garden peas was able to have positive health benefits in animal models.

In the study in question, rats who had kidney disease were fed pea protein hydrosylate, which is a purified form of yellow garden pea protein. After eight weeks of consuming the extract, the animals were found to have a 20% reduction in blood pressure as well as a 30% improvement in urine production, which is a key indicator of kidney function.

Human trials are currently underway, though the researchers were quick to point out that the compound of interest is not usually active in peas in their natural state, and it takes a special purification process to bring to life the otherwise dormant protein.

Even still, the findings are promising, and if the yellow pea extract proves to be effective in clinical trial, then they could potentially join ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors as an effective way to treat hypertension as well as heart and kidney disease.

ACE inhibitors have been used for years as an effective treatment for hypertension and kidney disease. They work by inhibiting the body’s ability to make angiotensin. Angiotensin is a potent chemical that causes the blood vessels in the body to constrict. When this happens, blood flow is impeded and as a consequence, blood pressure rises. When the formation of angiotensin in the body is compromised, blood vessels expand and normal blood flow, and by extension blood pressure, are restored.

If the yellow pea extract proves to be effective in humans, it could potentially provide an economical alternative to costly medications, not to mention a natural remedy that might very well be more tolerable to the body and have fewer side effects.

Hypertension is a serious public health problem, affecting tens of millions of people in this country, including 1 in 3 adults. Many people are not even aware that they have it. Though the cause of a majority of cases is not always known, high blood pressure is easily detectable and highly treatable through medication and lifestyle changes. High blood pressure is also a primary risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

 

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