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Glutamic Acid (an Amino Acid) in Vegetables Could Help Reduce Hypertension

Sunday, July 12, 2009
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A recently published study in the Journal of the American Heart Association provided data that a 4.72% higher dietary intake of glutamic acid (as a percent of total dietary protein), reduced the systolic blood pressure by 1.5-3 mm and diastolic pressure by 1.0 to 1.6 mm of mercury.
Lead author of this study Dr Jeremiah Stamler, MD, Professor, emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill, states "It is estimated that reducing a population's average systolic blood pressure by 2 mm Hg could cut stroke death rates by 6 percent and reduce mortality from coronary heart disease by 4 percent".

The American Heart Association estimates that a 6% decrease in stroke deaths in 2009 would be equal to saving 8,600 people, and a 4% decrease in heart disease deaths would save 17,800 lives per year.

This was the resulting data from The International Study on Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP) conducted on 4,680 people (ages 40-59) in 17 urban and rural populations in China, Japan, UK and USA

Trends indicate increasing hypertension levels in even younger populations:

High blood pressure or hypertension is a `silent killer', responsible for heart diseases and strokes in a large number of individuals. The age at which individuals develop hypertension is fast decreasing.  This is separate from typical increases with age. Most physicians recommend dietary and lifestyle modifications before prescribing drugs to patients with moderately elevated blood pressure levels.  A diet with restricted intake of sodium, total fats, saturated fats and cholesterol and rich in fish, whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables is prescribed.
The beneficial effect of fruits and vegetables was thought to be as a result of increased supply of fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and phytonutrients.

About Glutamic Acid:
Glutamic acid is an amino acid (building blocks of proteins), which comprises 23% of the total proteins in vegetables and one fifth in animal protein.  

Foods high in Glutamic acid:

Beans, broccoli, parsley, spinach, soy, whole grains, rice, bread and durum wheat.

There is at present no information on what effect glutamic acid supplementation may have on hypertension. Till then, the results of this study reassert the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial in reducing blood pressure.

By Poonam Vaswani,



User Comments

19 July, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar What a simple way to cut BP! Just eat a meal rich in any of the following - Beans, broccoli, parsley, spinach, soy, whole grains, rice, bread and durum wheat. Most of them are rich in potassium too aiding control of BP. Add to the meal any of the fruits like Bananas,citrus fruits, figs, melons dates etc it and you can be sure you are looking North.

03 July, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Hello Mr Karthik,
You have not mentioned anything about your lifestyle nor your BMI, so it is difficult to comment on the reason for your hypertension. You should eat a variety of fuits and vegetables not only for their glutamic acid content but also for their potassium and nitrate contents which are known to reduce BP.

03 July, 2010 | Sarayu | Reply

Sarayu HI,i am kartik and I have BP but is familial/idipoathic.Now even thought my diet is high in vegetables & fruits-in effect a high fiber diet and go for a 45 mt walk daily, I still need to take my BP medication regularly. So is it that I need to focus on certain vegetables and fruits which are high in Glutamic acid to get off taking medicines?

12 June, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Smitha,

If our diet consists of foods such as whole grains and pulses, sprouts, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat meat and diary and limited amounts of fat and sugar along with moderate amounts of sodium (even if we are not hypertensive)will help in controlling weight and hypertension which are inter-related.

Always remember, "Healthy eating is equal to healthy soul and body", we need to avoid indulging in foods high in sugar, fat and sodium to keep obesity and the related diseases at bay.

Thank you for your comment.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

12 June, 2010 | Smita | Reply

Smita One should restrict excessive intake of sodium. This will surely help in reducing blood pressure.

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