Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the greatest cause of death globally, and their reduction is a key public-health target. High blood pressure (BP) affects 1 in 3 people in the United Kingdom, and previous studies have shown that milk consumption is associated with lower BP.
We investigated whether intact milk proteins lower 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (AMBP) and other risk markers of CVD.
The trial was a double-blinded, randomized, 3-way-crossover, controlled intervention study. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to consume 2 × 28 g whey protein/d, 2 × 28 g Ca caseinate/d, or 2 × 27 g maltodextrin (control)/d for 8 wk separated by a 4-wk washout. The effects of these interventions were examined with the use of a linear mixed-model ANOVA.
Thirty-eight participants completed the study. Significant reductions in 24-h BP [for systolic blood pressure (SBP): -3.9 mm Hg; for diastolic blood pressure (DBP): -2.5 mm Hg; P = 0.050 for both)] were observed after whey-protein consumption compared with control intake. After whey-protein supplementation compared with control intake, peripheral and central systolic pressures [-5.7 mm Hg (P = 0.007) and -5.4 mm Hg (P = 0.012), respectively] and mean pressures [-3.7 mm Hg (P = 0.025) and -4.0 mm Hg (P = 0.019), respectively] were also lowered. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) increased significantly after both whey-protein and calcium-caseinate intakes compared with control intake [1.31% (P < 0.001) and 0.83% (P = 0.003), respectively]. Although both whey protein and calcium caseinate significantly lowered total cholesterol [-0.26 mmol/L (P = 0.013) and -0.20 mmol/L (P = 0.042), respectively], only whey protein decreased triacylglycerol (-0.23 mmol/L; P = 0.025) compared with the effect of the control. Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 were reduced after whey protein consumption (P = 0.011) and after calcium-caseinate consumption (P = 0.039), respectively, compared with after control intake.
The consumption of unhydrolyzed milk proteins (56 g/d) for 8 wk improved vascular reactivity, biomarkers of endothelial function, and lipid risk factors. Whey-protein supplementation also lowered 24-h ambulatory SBP and DBP. These results may have important implications for public health. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02090842.