The Beet Root
In a recent blog I detailed a newer study looking at a beet extract supplement, A-F Betafood® to restore normal gallbladder function. This is the result of phytonutrients dense in beet, betalains and betaine. Gallbladder disease now affects 25 million adults and often results in surgery and $6.2 billion in annual costs as well as ongoing digestive problems.
Another new research study has found yet another benefit for this plant,
the treatment of hypertension. This study tested beet root extract in a small group of middle-aged adults in Sub-Saharan Africa where other treatments are often not available. The goal was to see if a simple plant extract that was able to be locally grown and was inexpensive could help high blood pressure.
I came across this study in my weekly scan of newly published research and requested a copy from the researcher. He responded inquiring what institution I was affiliated with. Often, they assume that it is another researcher that is requesting and want to communicate about any similar research they are doing. My response was simply that I am a clinician using nutritional therapy for hypertension and gallbladder disease. The best use of newer knowledge is that it translates into patient care which surprises some researchers. He quickly forwarded the paper and attached another related to the topic.
But back to the hypertension. Blood pressure dropped by 11 points systolic and 6.5 points diastolic after 60 days of taking the beet root extract and the conclusion was pretty straight forward, “Dietary inorganic nitrate represents a potential nutritional strategy to lessen the hypertension epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Although other treatments are readily available in developed nations, sometimes simpler is safer. An interesting contrast is often seen between medication approaches and nutritional intervention. The former comes with a list of potential adverse effects while the later may come with a list of collateral benefits. It seems that beet root extract may help gallbladder disease and hypertension together.
Siervo et al. Nitrate-Rich Beetroot Juice Reduces Blood Pressure in Tanzanian Adults with Elevated Blood Pressure: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial. J Nutr 2020;00:1–9.