For all hypertensives who hate exercise it is a time to celebrate,Very soon they may have an ‘Exercise Pill’ for lowering High Blood Pressure.Researchers at the University of Toledo have seemingly found a way to get the blood pressure lowering benefits of exercise in pill form.The findings of study have been published in the life sciences journal Cell Reports.
Dietary salt reduction and exercise are lifestyle modifications for salt-sensitive hypertensives.It is an established fact that exercise is beneficial in hypertension as Regular physical activity makes heart stronger which can pump more blood with less effort decreasing force on arteries and lowering blood pressure.Regular exercise can lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) as good as many blood pressure medications.
The team led by Chakraborty and Joe have shown that by increasing the body’s supply of beta hydroxybutyrate, a chemical produced predominantly by the liver, it is possible to regulate high blood pressure without reducing sodium intake or increasing exercise.
Beta hydroxybutyrate is a ketone body produced in the liver from the metabolism of fatty acids. It had not been previously explored as a method for controlling blood pressure, but the UT researchers noted a number of intriguing connections between how the body produces beta hydroxybutyrate and environmental factors known to raise or lower blood pressure.
The researchers developed a study in which they fed lab rats a chemical called 1,3-butanediol.
When that supplement reaches the liver, enzymes convert it to beta hydroxybutyrate. From there, it goes to the kidney where it was shown to reduce inflammation commonly associated with hypertension — and significantly decrease blood pressure in the process.
Highlights of study are
- The liver contributes to blood pressure regulation via ketone body production
- High salt diet reduces the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB)
- Reduced βOHB results in increased renal Nlrp3 inflammasome activity in hypertension
- Nutritional intervention with the βOHB precursor 1,3-butanediol lowers hypertension
“Our team found that high salt consumption lowered levels of circulating beta hydroxybutyrate. When we put beta hydroxybutyrate back in the system, normal blood pressure is restored,” said Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of UT’s Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and director of the Center for Hypertension and Precision Medicine. “We have an opportunity to control salt-sensitive hypertension without exercising.”
“As we searched through the literature we saw beta hydroxybutyrate has been observed increasing with exercise or calorie restriction. Both of those activities also reduce blood pressure. The key piece of our discovery is we now know that beta hydroxybutyrate decreases with salt consumption. This is a novel mechanism by which salt is tied to an increase in blood pressure,” said Saroj Chakraborty, a fourth-year PhD student in the UT Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and the paper’s lead author.
When that supplement reaches the liver, enzymes convert it to beta hydroxybutyrate. From there, it goes to the kidney where it was shown to reduce inflammation commonly associated with hypertension — and significantly decrease BP in the process.
“By fixing the kidney it is indirectly contributing to the lowering of blood pressure. There could be many other organs that it is impacting,” Joe said. “We are studying the heart, blood vessels, brain and other organ systems. But this paper says that this molecule, predominately made in the liver, goes to the kidney, fixes kidney damage and controls your blood pressure.”
Joe noted that controlling function of the liver to regulate BP is a new concept for researchers.
While controlling hypertension without hitting the gym might sound appealing to those averse to breaking a sweat, it also could prove beneficial to those who aren’t able to exercise.
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Dr. Kamal Kant Kohli
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