Dietary Antioxidants and High Blood Pressure in Menopausal Women Study

Greg Howard
4th June, 2024

Dietary Antioxidants and High Blood Pressure in Menopausal Women Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study took place in Rafsanjan, Iran, involving 1936 postmenopausal women to examine the role of dietary antioxidants in managing hypertension
  • Higher consumption of β-carotene was linked to an increased likelihood of elevated blood pressure
  • There was no significant association between increased dietary antioxidants and reduced hypertension risk after adjusting for other factors
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a significant health concern, particularly for postmenopausal women. The loss of protective sex hormones during menopause is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases[2][3]. Researchers from Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences aimed to investigate whether dietary antioxidants could play a role in managing hypertension among postmenopausal women in Rafsanjan, Iran[1]. This study is part of the larger Rafsanjan Cohort Study (RCS) under the Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in IrAN (PERSIAN). The study included 1936 postmenopausal women, who were categorized based on their blood pressure levels according to the 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. The participants' dietary intake of antioxidants was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The antioxidants examined included selenium, carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. The results showed that 35.69% of the women had normal blood pressure, 3.62% had elevated blood pressure, 10.59% had stage 1 hypertension, and 50.10% had stage 2 hypertension. The study found that higher consumption of β-carotene was associated with an increased likelihood of elevated blood pressure. Specifically, women in the third quartile of β-carotene intake had about twice the odds of having elevated blood pressure compared to those in the first quartile. Additionally, women with medium quality dietary antioxidant scores (DAQS) had higher odds of elevated blood pressure and stage 1 hypertension compared to those with low quality scores. However, the study did not find a statistically significant association between increased intake of dietary antioxidants and decreased odds of hypertension after adjusting for confounding variables. These findings suggest that simply increasing dietary antioxidants may not be sufficient to reduce hypertension risk in postmenopausal women. This conclusion aligns with previous research indicating that the relationship between diet and cardiovascular health is complex and influenced by multiple factors[3][4]. The current study's findings are particularly intriguing when considered alongside other research on cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women. For instance, earlier studies have highlighted the multifaceted nature of cardiovascular aging and disease in menopause, emphasizing the roles of dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress[2]. The interaction between these factors and cardiovascular risk is critical during the perimenopausal period, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular issues[2]. Moreover, research involving hypertensive ovariectomized rats has shown that dietary factors like fructose overload can exacerbate cardiovascular dysfunction through mechanisms involving inflammation and oxidative stress[4]. This animal study demonstrated that fructose overload led to increased arterial pressure, body fat, and triglyceride levels, along with reduced insulin sensitivity and increased oxidative stress markers. These findings underscore the importance of considering dietary patterns and their broader metabolic impacts rather than focusing solely on individual nutrients. In light of these complexities, the Rafsanjan study suggests that future research should continue to explore the potential benefits of dietary antioxidants in the context of a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle approach to managing hypertension. The researchers recommend further investigation in the follow-up phase of their prospective study to better understand the long-term effects of dietary antioxidants on blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women. In summary, while the current study did not find a direct link between increased dietary antioxidant intake and reduced hypertension risk, it contributes to the growing body of evidence on the importance of diet in cardiovascular health. It also highlights the need for a holistic approach to managing hypertension in postmenopausal women, considering the interplay of various metabolic and physiological factors.



Main Study

1) Dietary antioxidants and hypertension among menopausal women in Rafsanjan Cohort Study.

Published 3rd June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Cardiovascular Changes in Menopause.

3) Sex Differences in Molecular Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Aging.

4) Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction and oxidative stress induced by fructose overload in an experimental model of hypertension and menopause.

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