High dose Folic Acid supplementation reduces pulse pressure and improves large artery stiffness in just 3 weeks

July 19, 2005

Folic acid is a B complex vitamin that decreases the risk of birth defects, reduces levels of homocysteine - an artery inflamming metabolite, and helps keep cells on the road to normalcy instead of on the road to neoplasia. In this study, forty-one men with normal or high-normal blood pressure (systolic pressure of greater than 130 to over 145 and diastolic pressure of greater than 80 to over 90) were randomly placed on 5mg of folic acid daily or a placebo for 3 weeks, then they were crossed-over after a 4 week washout period. The folic acid supplement reduced brachial pulse pressure (pressure in the arm) by 3.1 to 6.7 mm Hg, and large arteries complied with changes in blood pressure more easily. The improvement in brachial pressure and the decrease in large artery stiffness was fairly independent of folic acid plasma concentratuions and homocysteine levels. The folic acid was a safe and effective supplement at 5mg a day in these men that targets large artery stiffness and resistance and may prevent isolated systolic hypertension. The study was conducted at the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and is published in the July 2005 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Aging and bedrest after an injury cause muscle loss, Protein Amino Acid supplementation prevents the muscle wasting

When muscle isn't used. such as during convalescence from a serious illness or injury, and also due to aging, it leads to serious muscle loss. These researchers have previously demonstrated that muscle loss during inactivity or due to aging is worse when accompanied by stress, specifically high levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. Taking a protein supplement during convalescence can prevent the muscle wasting due to inactivity. Taking a protein supplement containing the essential amino acids found in muscle causes an anabolic stimulus of muscle protein manufacture and thereby prevents significant muscle loss. A recent study shows that giving 28g of this protein during a 28 day period of bed rest actually improved muscle nitrogen. This prevented a decrease in lean body mass (how well you look and how well your clothing fits depends on your lean body mass) and the shrinking of muscle. The protein supplement also decreased the negative effects of stress and high cortisol levels that usually causes muscle loss and a contribution to truncal obesity. The researchers say that although the supplement was very helpful during the period of high cortisol that it may be necessary to add another anabolic stimulus. The research was performed at the Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical branch, and Shriners Hospital for Children, Galveston, Tx. and is published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the journal of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.