by Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R.D.
Whey and casein protein lower blood pressure
Previous studies have associated dairy intake, especially milk proteins (both whey and casein), with vascular health. Results of a short-term intervention study further strengthen this relationship. Obese, but otherwise healthy women between the ages of 19 and 44 years with moderately elevated blood pressure were randomly assigned to a whey, casein or a carbohydrate supplement group. They all consumed 30 grams of their respective supplement at night at least 2 hours after dinner. They also participated in a combined exercise program that included 3 sessions per week. Several measures of vascular health were recorded before and after 4 weeks of exercise and supplementation.
There was a 5-7 point decrease in systolic blood pressure in both the whey and casein groups (about 5-7 mmHg measured in both the arm and artery). The whey and casein groups both improved augmentation index by about 9%, which is a measure of arterial stiffness. These results support the use of whey and casein as effective supplements to improve vascular health in young women with hypertension. Reference: Figueroa A, Wong A, Kinsey A, Kalfon R, Eddy W, Ormsbee MJ. Effects of milk proteins and combined exercise training on aortic hemodynamics and arterial stiffness in young obese women with high blood pressure. Am J Hypertens. 2014 Mar;27(3):338-44.