Low-salt and DASH diet as effective as drugs for some adults with high blood pressure: study

323af830-58a3-46d7-834e-b0d9d382b48farticleimage.jpg

23 Nov 2017 --- A study of adults with prehypertension, or stage 1 high blood pressure, has shown that combining a low-salt diet with the heart-healthy DASH diet substantially lowers systolic blood pressure – the top number in a blood pressure test – especially in people with higher baseline systolic readings.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, long promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association, is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with low-fat or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts.

Results of the randomized clinical trial of the dietary combination, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, were published in the Nov. 12 issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Our results add to the evidence that dietary interventions are as effective as--or more effective than--antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals,” says Stephen Juraschek, M.D., an adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

While both low-sodium and DASH diets have long been known to prevent or lower high blood pressure, Juraschek says the new study was designed to examine the effects of combining the two diets in adults with early or modest forms of high blood pressure – those considered to be at greatest risk for developing more severe forms of hypertension known to increase the likelihood of stroke, kidney disease, heart attacks and heart failure.

For the study, investigators tested and followed 412 adults, including 234 women, ranging in age from 23 to 76 years and with a systolic blood pressure of 120-159 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure between 80-95 mm Hg (i.e., prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension). Fifty-seven percent of the participants were African-American.

At the start of the study, none of the participants was taking antihypertensive drugs or insulin, none had a prior diagnosis of or current heart disease, renal insufficiency, poorly controlled cholesterol levels or diabetes.

Investigators put all participants on the DASH diet or a control diet for 12 weeks. The control diet was similar to that of a normal American diet based on the average macronutrient and micronutrient profile of the US population.

All participants were also fed 50 (low), 100 (medium) or 150 (high) mmol/day of sodium in random order over four-week periods. Fifty mmol/day is equivalent to 1,150 mg of sodium. A teaspoon of salt is equal to 2,400 mg of sodium. A diet that includes 100 mmol/day of salt is equivalent to 2,300 mg of sodium -- or nearly a teaspoon of salt. This is the maximum level of sodium intake recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is thought to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke.

At the time of the study, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Americans consumed about 150 mmol/day of sodium, which is considered by the FDA to be harmful and may increase a person's risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Participants were sorted into four groups based on their baseline systolic blood pressure: 120-129, 130-139, 140-149 and 150 or greater baseline systolic blood pressure. After four weeks, the investigators found that the group with 150 or greater baseline systolic blood pressure on just the DASH diet had an average of 11 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to a 4 mm Hg reduction in those solely on the DASH diet, but whose baseline systolic pressures were less than 130.

When the researchers combined the DASH diet with the low-sodium diet and compared participants' blood pressures to those on the high-sodium control diet, they found that the group with less than 130 systolic blood pressure at baseline had a 5 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure; the group with 130-139 mm Hg baseline systolic blood pressure had a 7 mm Hg reduction; and the group with baseline systolic blood pressure between 140-149 had a 10 mm Hg reduction.

Most surprisingly, say the researchers, a participant who had a baseline systolic blood pressure of 150 or greater and was consuming the combination low-sodium/DASH diet had an average reduction of 21 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure compared to the high-sodium control diet.

To put the potential impact of the findings into context, Juraschek says, the FDA requires any new antihypertensive agent submitted for approval to lower systolic blood pressure by 3-4 mm Hg. Most established medications on the market, such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers, on average reduce systolic blood pressure by 10-15 mm Hg.

"What we're observing from the combined dietary intervention is a reduction in systolic blood pressure as high as, if not greater than, that achieved with prescription drugs," says senior study author Lawrence Appel, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

The researchers caution that the study did not address effects in people with systolic blood pressure of 160 or greater or in persons with prior cardiovascular disease or medication treated diabetes. 

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Weekly Roundup: US consumers rank clean water as top health desire, Australia's Freedom Foods acquires protein product brand Crankt

17 Aug 2018 --- The weekly roundup is NutritionInsight's collection of global nutrition stories from the past week. A Nestlé Waters commissioned survey has found that clean water is the most important health factor to US consumers. Australia based Freedom Foods has acquired protein product brand Crankt to strengthen its position in the sports nutrition market. CBI and Campden BRI are teaming up for a Colombian product development workshop and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has announced eleven new additions to its membership ranks.

Health & Nutrition News

Molecular switch may serve as new target point for obesity and diabetes therapies, says study

16 Aug 2018 --- A mechanism of the PI3KC2A kinase enzyme may have significance for the future development of therapies against cancer, obesity and diabetes, research published in Molecular Cell has found. The study highlights how if specific signaling cascades are misregulated, diseases and metabolic disorders may occur. The identified mechanism may have a crucial influence on such signaling cascades.

Health & Nutrition News

Omega 3 platforms: BASF targets Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease as scientific support behind intervention grows

16 Aug 2018 --- BASF is targeting Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) with Hepaxa, its first-to-market omega 3 product dedicated to the dietary management of the disease. Hepaxa increases the levels of fatty omega 3 acids in patients, which improves the liver's ability to process fat. Importantly, Hepaxa is manufactured using a patented purification technology which removes certain pollutants known to harm NAFLD patients. A recent meta-analysis of 18 studies, in part funded by BASF, has highlighted the importance of omega 3 intakes among people who have NAFLD.

Health & Nutrition News

Morning workout: Speed up your metabolism with breakfast, study suggests

15 Aug 2018 --- Eating breakfast before exercise may “prime” the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest, absorb and metabolize food after working out, University of Bath researchers have shown in a study published in American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Health & Nutrition News

Baobab resurgence? Things are looking up for the “upside down” tree

14 Aug 2018 --- The baobab superfruit has been enjoying an NPD resurgence, boosted by renewed interest in the digestive health and low GI space, as well its strong potential for use in the sports nutrition market. The superfood – which is touted as offering low GI appeal, a high dietary fiber content and for being rich in vitamin C – has seen annual growth of 53 percent, according to Innova Market Insights data. Speaking to NutritionInsight, Henry Johnson, baobab specialist at EcoProducts, details the growing array of applications for the superfood, as well as the economic ripening of the environment for market growth for baobab.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/low-salt-and-dash-diet-as-effective-as-drugs-for-some-adults-with-high-blood-pressure-study.html