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Functional foods for augmenting nitric oxide activity

and reducing the risk for salt-induced hypertension and CVD

J Cardiol. 2018 Jul;72(1):42-49.

Functional foods for augmenting nitric oxide activity and reducing the risk for salt-induced hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Japan. Kurtz TW1, DiCarlo SE2, Pravenec M3, Morris RC4. Author information 1University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA. Electronic address: State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Department of Physiology, East Lansing, MI, USA.3Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic.4University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA. Abstract High salt intake is one of the major dietary determinants of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Japan and throughout the world. Although dietary salt restriction may be of clinical benefit in salt-sensitive individuals, many individuals may not wish, or be able to, reduce their intake of salt. Thus, identification of functional foods that can help protect against mechanistic abnormalities mediating salt-induced hypertension is an issue of considerable medical and scientific interest. According to the “vasodysfunction” theory of salt-induced hypertension, the hemodynamic abnormality initiating salt-induced increases in blood pressure usually involves subnormal vasodilation and abnormally increased vascular resistance in response to increased salt intake. Because disturbances in nitric oxide activity can contribute to subnormal vasodilator responses to increased salt intake that often mediate blood pressure salt sensitivity, increased intake of functional foods that support nitric oxide activity may help to reduce the risk for salt-induced hypertension. Mounting evidence indicates that increased consumption of traditional Japanese vegetables and other vegetables with high nitrate content such as table beets and kale can promote the formation of nitric oxide through an endothelial independent pathway that involves reduction of dietary nitrate to nitrite and nitric oxide. In addition, recent studies in animal models have demonstrated that modest increases in nitrate intake can protect against the initiation of salt-induced hypertension. These observations are: (1) consistent with the view that increased intake of many traditional Japanese vegetables and other nitrate rich vegetables, and of functional foods derived from such vegetables, may help maintain healthy blood pressure despite a high salt diet; (2) support government recommendations to increase vegetable intake in the Japanese population. KEYWORDS: Hypertension; Nitrate; Salt; Salt sensitivity; Sodium

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 Jun 1.

High-intensity resistance exercise with low repetitions maintains endothelial function.

Morishima T1, Tsuchiya Y2, Iemitsu M3, Ochi E4.

Author information

1-Hosei University, Japan.

2-Faculty of Modern life, Teikyo Heisei University.

3-Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Japan.

4-Faculty of Bioscience and Applied Chemistry, Hosei University, Japan.


Resistance exercise impairs endothelial function, and this impairment is thought to be mediated by sustained elevation in blood pressure. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that resistance exercise-induced endothelial dysfunction would be prevented by high-intensity resistance exercise with low repetitions. This type of resistance exercise is known to induce temporal elevation in blood pressure due to low repetitions and long resting period between sets. Thirteen young healthy subjects completed three randomized experimental trials: (1) moderate-intensity with moderate repetitions trial (moderate-moderate trial); (2) low-intensity with high repetitions trial (low-high trial); (3) high-intensity with low repetitions trial (high-low trial). Following baseline brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) and blood pressure measurements, subjects performed resistance exercise according to the different types of trial. Thereafter, brachial artery FMD and blood pressure measurements were repeated 10, 30, and 60 min after the exercise. Exercise-induced increases in blood flow and shear rate were significantly lower in the high-low trial than in the other two trials (P<0.05). Although systolic blood pressures were significantly elevated after exercise in all trials (P<0.05), the magnitudes of rise in blood pressure increase were significantly lower in the high-low trial than in the moderate-moderate and low-high trials (P<0.05). Moderate-moderate and low-high trials caused significant impairment in brachial artery FMD (P<0.05), which can be prevented through high-intensity resistance exercise with low repetitions (P>0.05). In conclusion, endothelial function was maintained by conducting high-intensity resistance exercise with low repetitions.

KEYWORDS:blood pressure; endothelial function; high-intensity resistance exercise

J Hypertens. 2018 Jul;36(7):1460-1467.

Assessment of endothelium-independent vasodilation: from methodology to clinical perspectives.

Maruhashi T1, Kihara Y1, Higashi Y2,3.

Author information

1-Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.

2-Department of Cardiovascular Regeneration and Medicine, Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima University.

3-Division of Regeneration and Medicine, Hiroshima University Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan.


: Vascular response to exogenously administered nitroglycerine, an index of endothelium-independent vasodilation, has been used as a control test for the assessment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation (endothelial function) in humans. However, evidence has been accumulating that not only endothelium-dependent vasodilation but also endothelium-independent vasodilation per se is impaired in individuals with cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease. Impaired endothelium-independent vasodilation is associated with structural vascular alterations and alterations in vascular smooth muscle cells. Several methods, including assessment of vascular responses to vasoactive agents using angiography in a coronary artery and vascular responses to vasoactive agents using venous occlusion plethysmography and ultrasonography in a peripheral artery, are used to assess endothelium-independent vasodilation in humans. Measurement of endothelium-independent vasodilation is also useful for assessment of atherosclerosis and may be a predictor of future cardiovascular events. In this review, we focus on assessment of endothelium-independent vasodilation from methodology aspects to clinical perspectives.

Climacteric. 2018 Jun;21(3):267-275.

Endothelial dysfunction and menopause: is exercise an effective countermeasure?

Witkowski S1, Serviente C2.

Author information 1a Department of Exercise and Sport Studies , Smith College , Northampton , MA , USA.2b Department of Kinesiology , University of Massachusetts Amherst , Amherst , MA , USA.

Abstract Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. There is a dramatic rise in risk factors for cardiovascular disease during the menopausal transition that is independent of aging. Endothelial dysfunction is an early hallmark of developing cardiovascular disease and has been shown to increase across the stages of menopause. Exercise is considered one of the most effective lifestyle therapies to maintain and improve endothelial function. However, accumulating evidence suggests that exercise does not have the same benefit on endothelial function in menopausal women as it does in other populations, and factors associated with menopause likely influence the endothelial responsiveness to exercise. This review will detail the current available evidence on endothelial dysfunction, exercise, and menopause, including mechanisms that may mediate the accumulating endothelial dysfunction in women with menopause, the impact of exercise on endothelial function in women, and whether regular exercise is an effective therapeutic and prevention strategy to maintain endothelial function with menopause. We conclude that the effect of exercise on endothelial function differs according to menopausal stage and cardiovascular disease risk burden. Finally, we will address critical gaps in the literature with the goal of identifying future research directions to improve healthy aging in women.

KEYWORDS: Endothelial function; cardiovascular disease; exercise; menopause; nitric oxide Menopause. 2018 Apr 9. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001112. [Epub ahead of print]


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