Young adults aren’t usually thinking about their blood pressure, but results from a recent study indicate that perhaps they should be. The 25-year Coronary Artery Risk in Young Adults (CARDIA) study reveals that long-term exposure to elevated blood pressure levels may lead to cardiovascular problems during middle age. A NutraIngredients article reports that this study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, creates a new market opportunity for the few blood pressure supplements, such as patented MegaNatural-BP, that have data backing their blood pressure management claims.
While the risks of high blood pressure are well known, CARDIA is the first study which shows slightly elevated blood pressure – prehypertension – in young adulthood may lead to problems with the heart’s left ventricle later in life. Prehypertension is defined as having a systolic blood pressure between 120 to 139, or a diastolic pressure between 80 and 89. This condition affects an estimated 90 million Americans.
“It’s very interesting in that it highlights what can happen starting at a very early age,” said Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D. associate professor of food science and nutrition at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “This mirrors some of the other complications that we have been seeing in younger populations. Everything seems to be happening earlier.”
Polyphenols have been shown to have an effect on the endothelium, the layer of cells that line the interior surface of vessel walls. While several polyphenol sources have been studied, grape seed extract shows the most promise. Polyphenolics, a division of premium California wine producer Constellation Brands, has several clinical studies demonstrating the blood pressure benefits of its MegaNatural-BP premium grape seed extract. “We have done work for 10 years on the ingredient starting with the University of California, Davis and then continuing on with the Illinois Institute of Technology,” said Polyphenolics President Anil Shrikhande, Ph.D. These studies indicate MegaNatural-BP’s patented grape seed extract helps maintain blood pressure within the normal range. “We believe it has an endothelium relaxing effect,” explained Burton-Freeman.
MegaNatural-BP is already available in supplement form, but Shrikhande envisions another approach for young people who may not be regular supplement consumers. “Maybe consuming these bioactives through a low-calorie beverage would be an opportunity,” he said. “We completed a beverage study with MegaNatural-BP and while the mean age of those people was middle age, we had some very good responses.”