The antihypertensive effect of arginine

People with hypertension have an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. Although the etiology of essential hypertension has a genetic component, lifestyle factors such as diet play an important role.

Insulin resistance and altered glucose metabolism are common features of hypertension in humans and animal models, with or without salt sensitivity. Altered glucose metabolism leads to increased formation of advanced glycation end products. Insulin resistance is also associated with oxidative stress and alterations in the nitric oxide pathway and the renin-angiotensin system.

A high-protein diet containing the semiessential amino acid arginine and arginine treatment lower blood pressure in humans and in animal models. This may be due to arginine’s ability to improve insulin resistance, decrease the formation of advanced glycation end products, increase nitric oxide, and decrease angiotensin II and oxidative stress levels, while improving endothelial cell function and decreasing peripheral vascular resistance.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study showed that the DASH diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products, low in fat, and containing whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, lowered blood pressure even more than a typical North American diet with similarly reduced sodium content. The DASH diet is high in protein; the blood pressure-lowering effect of the DASH diet may be due to its higher arginine-containing protein, higher antioxidants, and low salt content.

Int J Angiol.: The antihypertensive effect of arginine

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