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Yellow pea extract and kidney benefic effects

Proteins from garden pea may help fight high blood pressure and kidney disease
Extracts from garden peas could be used as a food additive or supplement to reduce high blood pressure and kidney disease, claim scientists.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 9:39PM GMT 22 Mar 2009

Peas have long been recognised as a superfood containing protein, dietary fibre, and vitamins wrapped in a low-fat, cholesterol-free package.

But new research shows for the first time that concentrating extracts from the pea can have dramatic affect on blood pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

"In people with high blood pressure, our protein could potentially delay or prevent the onset of kidney damage," said study author Dr Rotimi Aluko, a food chemist at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

"In people who already have kidney disease, our protein may help them maintain normal blood pressure levels so they can live longer

The study, which will be presented at the American Chemical Society's conference, is the first reporting that a natural food product can relieve symptoms of kidney disease, the scientists said.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for CKD, a condition that has been affecting an increasing number of people around the world.

CKD is difficult to treat, and may progress to end-stage kidney disease that requires kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Working with colleague Dr Harold Aukema, Dr Aluko purified a mixture of small proteins – called pea protein hydrolysate – from the yellow garden pea.

The researchers fed small daily doses of the protein mixture to laboratory rats with kidney disease.

At the end of the eight-week-long study period, the protein-fed rats with kidney disease showed a 20 per cent drop in blood pressure when compared to diseased rats on a normal diet, the researchers say.

"This is significant because a majority of CKD patients actually die from cardiovascular complications that arise from the high blood pressure associated with kidney malfunction," Dr Aluko said.

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