B Vitamin and L-Arginine Combo May Reduce Blood Pressure, Improve Vascular Health
Endothelial dysfunction is a condition in which the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels fails to function normally, and can lead to cardiovascular problems. A recent study suggests that taking a combination of folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 and l-arginine may improve vascular function and reduce blood pressure.
Participants in the study included 81 people between the ages of 40 and 65 who were given either a supplement containing 2.4 grams of l-arginine, 3 mg of vitamin B6, 0.4 mg of folic acid, and 2 micrograms of vitamin B12 or a placebo daily for three months. This was followed by a three-month period with no supplementation.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 0.37 increase in reactive hyperemia index in the supplement group, while no significant changes were noted in the placebo group. Normal reactive hyperemia index scores are 1.67 or higher, with lower scores indicating vascular dysfunction. Additionally, there was an average 6 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure for the supplement group, with no change in the placebo group.
Researchers from Hannover Medical School in Germany led the study. It was published online ahead of print on November 5, 2016, in the European Journal of Nutrition.
B vitamins have been linked to numerous health benefits, including nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Studies have also suggested that B vitamins may reduce the risk of hearing loss, and birth defects.
Our bodies do not naturally synthesize B vitamins. However, it is easy to increase your intake by eating more folate- rich foods. Some foods rich in folate include liver, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, and other melons. B vitamin intake also can be bolstered through supplements or fortified foods.
Arginine is an amino acid that is a part of most proteins. In the body, it changes into nitric acid. It has been shown in previous studies to help with cardiovascular health and blood pressure. It can be found in gelatin, chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, whole wheat flour, soybeans, and wheatgerm.