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Dietary Nitrate Lowers Blood Pressure

Arterial and diastolic blood pressure lower by a mean of 3 mm Hg after supplement ingestion

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary nitrate, taken in amounts equivalent to 150-250 grams of spinach, beetroot or lettuce, lowers diastolic blood pressure a mean of 3.7 mm Hg and arterial blood pressure a mean of 3.2 mm Hg in healthy subjects, according to a report in the Dec. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Eddie Weitzberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues assessed three-day supplementation with sodium nitrate (0.1 mmol/kg/body weight/day) or placebo on blood pressure in 17 active, healthy volunteers.

After nitrate supplementation, there were no significant changes in systolic blood pressure and heart rate compared to placebo. However, the diastolic blood pressure in treated individuals averaged 3.7 mm Hg lower than in controls and the mean arterial pressure was 3.2 mm Hg lower in the treated group compared to those given placebo. After nitrate ingestion, plasma nitrate and nitrite levels were higher than after placebo supplementation.

"Short-term dietary supplementation with inorganic nitrate reduces diastolic blood pressure in healthy young volunteers," the authors conclude.

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