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 A/CE, or angiotensin-converting enzyme, which controls blood pressure via the constriction of blood vessels. A/CE inhibitors are a common type of blood pressure medication which works by decreasing or inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme. The A/CE gene has a common variant referred to as the A/CE deletion/insertion. To determine your variant of A/CE deletion/insertion, check rs4343.
- A/A: A/CE insertion/insertion
- A/G: heterozygous – A/CE deletion/insertion
- G/G: A/CE deletion/deletion
The study found that overall, A/CE 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 A/CE genotype, the study found that those with the G/G genotype (A/CE deletion) had twice the average A/CE 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 A/CE deletion (rs4343 G/G), 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 A/CE 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