Could Beetroot Provide a Long-Term Solution to Reducing High Blood Pressure?
Dr. Eamon Dolan is a stroke physician in Connolly Hospital, Dublin. Every day in his clinic he works with patients who have suffered stroke, and helps them manage their high blood pressure.
As Dr. Dolan can tell you, it’s often not until someone suffers from stroke as a result of high blood pressure, that they begin to take their blood pressure seriously.
1 in 10 people who is high blood pressure, cannot be treated with medication.
Treatment is Vital
It is vital that we develop a treatment option for people who have treatment resistant hypertension. As well as a safe and effective option for people who are mildly hypertensive.
Being able to control high blood pressure is key to preventing stroke, and other life-threatening heart conditions. As Dr. Dolan says, even a small reduction in blood pressure can make all the difference.
“For every millimetre of mercury by which we’re able to lower a patient’s blood pressure, that reduces the likelihood of them developing stroke and heart disease.”
Thanks to the support of our donors Dr. Dolan’s research may provide a safe and inexpensive treatment that could help people right now, and prevent the onset of stroke, heart failure and heart disease.
Beetroot contains high concentrations of organic nitrate, which can be easily and quickly absorbed by the body
Enzymes on the tongue reduce the nitrate tonitrite , which is swallowed and travel to the stomach
Nitrites reach stomach, where powerful digestive acids convert them to nitricoxide
Nitricoxide molecules travel to the blood stream and make the arterial walls more elastic. The walls of the blood vessels expand, allowing the blood to flow more freely , reducing blood pressure
The Role of Nitric Oxide In Our Body
Nitric oxide is recognised as an important regulator of blood pressure, in that it expands the walls of the arteries allowing blood to flow more freely.
Until recently, it was assumed that nitric oxide could only be produced in the body from an amino acid called arginine. By supplying additional arginine, scientists were able to boost nitric oxide production. However longer term studies failed to show a clear benefit, and in some cases, the additional arginine harmed the body.
But now researchers have found that nitrate found in vegetables such as beetroot, can be easily broken down by the body and converted to nitric oxide.
Dr.Dolan is hoping to show that beetroot juice has a long term effect in reducing blood pressure in patients who are hypertensive and on medication. He has already completed an initial study showing that beetroot juice given to patients over a 24 hour period, lowers blood pressure.