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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
28-Jun-2010

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Contact: Alex Fernandes
a.fernandes@qmul.ac.uk
020-788-27910
Queen Mary, University of London
@QMUL

Nitrate in beetroot juice lowers blood pressure

The nitrate content of beetroot juice is the underlying cause of its blood pressure lowering benefits, research from Queen Mary University of London reveals today.

The study, published online in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, found that blood pressure was lowered within 24hours in people who took nitrate tablets, and people who drank beetroot juice.

The research will be welcome news to people with high blood pressure who might now be able to use a new 'natural' approach to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease (including stroke and heart attacks) - the world's biggest killer.

Study author Amrita Ahluwalia, Professor of Vascular Biology at Queen Mary's William Harvey Research Institute, said the investigation was able to demonstrate that the nitrate found in beetroot juice was the cause of its beneficial effects upon cardiovascular health by increasing the levels of the gas nitric oxide in the circulation

Professor Ahluwalia said. "We gave inorganic nitrate capsules or beetroot juice to healthy volunteers and compared their blood pressure responses and the biochemical changes occurring in the circulation.

"We showed that beetroot and nitrate capsules are equally effective in lowering blood pressure indicating that it is the nitrate content of beetroot juice that underlies its potential to reduce blood pressure. We also found that only a small amount of juice is needed - just 250ml - to have this effect, and that the higher the blood pressure at the start of the study the greater the decrease caused by the nitrate.

"Our previous study two years ago found that drinking beetroot juice lowered blood pressure; now we know how it works."

The results of the study could pave the way for a natural approach to lowering blood pressure that ultimately may help reduce the currently massive burden of cardiovascular disease on the NHS.

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Inorganic Nitrate Supplementation Lowers Blood Pressure in Humans, Kapil et al. is published online in the AHA journal Hypertension on Monday 28 June 2010

For further information/to arrange interview contact:
Alex Fernandes
Communications Office
Queen Mary, University of London
Tel: 020 7882 7910
Mobile: 07528711332
Email: a.fernandes@qmul.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry

Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry offers international levels of excellence in research and teaching while serving a population of unrivalled diversity amongst which cases of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, TB, oral disease and cancers are prevalent, within east London and the wider Thames Gateway. Through partnership with our linked trusts, notably Barts and The London NHS Trust, and our associated University Hospital trusts - Homerton, Newham, Whipps Cross and Queen's - the School's research and teaching is informed by an exceptionally wide ranging and stimulating clinical environment.

At the heart of the School's mission lies world class research, the result of a focused programme of recruitment of leading research groups from the UK and abroad and a £100 million investment in state-of-the-art facilities. Research is focused on translational research, cancer, cardiology, clinical pharmacology, inflammation, infectious diseases, stem cells, dermatology, gastroenterology, haematology, diabetes, neuroscience, surgery and dentistry.

The School is nationally and internationally recognised for research in these areas, reflected in the £40 million it attracts annually in research income. Its fundamental mission, with its partner NHS Trusts, and other partner organisations such as CRUK, is to ensure that that the best possible clinical service is underpinned by the very latest developments in scientific and clinical teaching, training and research.



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