Milk products, dietary patterns and blood pressure management

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Jessica A. Grieger, Kirsten F. Hilpert, Sheila G. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


High blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Inverse associations between dairy product consumption and systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) have been observed in cross-sectional studies; some studies, however, have reported an inverse association with only one BP parameter, predominantly SBP. Randomized clinical trials examining the effect of calcium and the combination of calcium, potassium and magnesium provide evidence for causality. In these studies, reductions in BP were generally modest (−1.27 to −4.6 mmHg for SBP, and −0.24 to −3.8 mmHg for DBP). Dairy nutrients, most notably calcium, potassium and magnesium, have been shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect. A low calcium intake increases intracellular calcium concentrations which increases 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and parathyroid hormone (PTH), causing calcium influx into vascular smooth muscle cells, resulting in greater vascular resistance. New research indicates that dairy peptides may act as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, thereby inhibiting the renin angiotensin system with consequent vasodilation. A growing evidence base shows that dairy product consumption is involved in the regulation of BP. Consequently, inclusion of dairy products in a heart healthy diet is an important focal point to attain BP benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103S-119S
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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