A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association illustrates once again the interaction between genetics and diet. The study looked at blood pressure measurements in twins on a higher carb diet vs a higher fat.
For the first six weeks of the study, the participants, who were non-obese twin pairs, ate a higher carb diet which consisted of 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 15% protein. Blood pressure and other blood markers were measured at the end of the six weeks. For the second half of the study, the participants switched to a higher fat diet consisting of 40% carbohydrates, 45% fat, and 15% protein with the fat mainly being saturated fat from red meat, sausage, bacon, and full-fat dairy.
One parameter that was measured was the level of ACE, or angiotensin-converting enzyme, which controls blood pressure via the constriction of blood vessels. ACE inhibitors are a common type of blood pressure medication which works by decreasing or inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme. The ACE gene has a common variant referred to as the ACE deletion/insertion. To determine your variant of ACE deletion/insertion, check rs4343.
- AA: ACE insertion/insertion
- AG: heterozygous – ACE deletion/insertion
- GG: ACE deletion/deletion
The study found that overall, ACE levels increased by about 15% on the higher fat diet, but it did not find a significant increase in blood pressure when looking at the whole group. When segregating by ACE genotype, the study found that those with the GG genotype (ACE deletion) had twice the average ACE increase on the higher fat diet, and they also had an increase in systolic blood pressure.
For those who have high blood pressure and the ACE deletion (rs4343 GG), this study indicates that decreasing fat intake from red meat, bacon, and full-fat dairy may help lower your blood pressure.
Previous studies have linked the ACE deletion to hypertension, autism, and Alzheimer’s, but other studies showed no link to those diseases. This may be a case where the diet of those populations being studied plays a role in the genetic risk.
More to read:
High‐Saturated‐Fat Diet Increases Circulating Angiotensin‐Converting Enzyme, Which Is Enhanced by the rs4343 Polymorphism Defining Persons at Risk of Nutrient‐Dependent Increases of Blood Pressure — Full Study