Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Postmenopausal Women with Pre- and Stage 1-Hypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

Published:January 07, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.11.001

      Abstract

      Background

      Postmenopausal women have a high prevalence of hypertension and often develop arterial stiffness thereby increasing cardiovascular disease risk. Although antihypertensive drug therapies exist, increasing numbers of people prefer natural therapies. In vivo studies and a limited number of clinical studies have demonstrated the antihypertensive and vascular-protective effects of blueberries.

      Objective

      To examine the effects of daily blueberry consumption for 8 weeks on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension.

      Design

      This was an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

      Participants/setting

      Forty-eight postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension recruited from the greater Tallahassee, FL, area participated.

      Intervention

      Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 22 g freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 g control powder.

      Main outcome measures

      Resting brachial systolic and diastolic blood pressures were evaluated and arterial stiffness was assessed using carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity. C-reactive protein, nitric oxide, and superoxide dismutase were measured at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Statistical analysis was performed using a split plot model of repeated measures analysis of variance.

      Results

      After 8 weeks, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (131±17 mm Hg [P<0.05] and 75±9 mm Hg [P<0.01], respectively) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (1,401±122 cm/second; P<0.01) were significantly lower than baseline levels (138±14 mm Hg, 80±7 mm Hg, and 1,498±179 cm/second, respectively), with significant (P<0.05) group×time interactions in the blueberry powder group, whereas there were no changes in the group receiving the control powder. Nitric oxide levels were greater (15.35±11.16 μmol/L; P<0.01) in the blueberry powder group at 8 weeks compared with baseline values (9.11±7.95 μmol/L), whereas there were no changes in the control group.

      Conclusions

      Daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, which may be due, in part, to increased nitric oxide production.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      S. A. Johnson is a postdoctoral fellow, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, and assistant director, Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging, College of Human Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee; at the time of the study, she was a doctoral degree candidate and study coordinator, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      A. Figueroa is an associate professor, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      R. G. Feresin is a doctoral degree candidate, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      M. L. Elam is a doctoral degree candidate, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      N. Navaei is a master’s degree bypass student and is a doctoral student, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee; at the time of the study, she was a master’s degree student, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      A. Wong is an assistant professor, Department of Physical Education, University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Campus, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; at the time of the study, he was a doctoral candidate, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      R. Kalfon is a doctoral student, Department of Molecular Genetics, Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel; at the time of the study, he was a master’s degree student, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      L. T. Ormsbee is a wellness coordinator, Campus Recreation, Florida State University, Tallahassee; at the time of the study, she was a study coordinator, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

      Biography

      S. Hooshmand is an assistant professor, School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, California.

      Biography

      M. E. Payton is department head and professor, Department of Statistics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

      Biography

      B. H. Arjmandi is the Margaret A. Sitton Professor, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, and director, Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging, College of Human Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee; at the time of the study, he was also chair, Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee.