Pullman, WA—A recent study conducted at Washington State University shows that whey protein helps lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in young, pre-hypertension individuals. Often associated with physical fitness and muscle growth, whey protein appears to have additional applications for its effective abatement of hypertension in its early stages.

The study grouped young men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 into groups according to their blood pressure. Groups with normal blood pressure were unaffected by consuming 28 grams of either hydrolyzed or non-hydrolyzed whey protein beverage. Their blood pressure neither rose nor fell during the course of the study. 

However, groups with high blood pressure experienced an 8.0 and 8.6 decrease of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively. These improvements began in the first week and continued throughout the duration of the six-week study.
These findings engender positive implications for consumers and the dairy industry alike. Whey protein is often discarded at a cost by dairies as a by-product of cheese production; this scientific evidence can potentially facilitate a boom in the market demand for whey protein. For consumers, whey protein is appealing for its low-cost market price as well as its apparent health benefits. 

Susan Fleugal, the biochemist who led the research study, says that such marked decreases in blood pressure can “reduce cardiovascular disease and bring a 35 to 40% reduction in fatal strokes.”  Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women and men in the United States, a fact that makes these recent findings even more compelling and significant.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2011 (online 12/20/10)