High blood pressure effects 20-50% of dialysis patients, and can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and even life threatening symptoms such as, abnormal heart rhythms and diminished blood supply to the heart and brain. Scientists reported new evidence that a component of egg whites –– already popular as a substitute for whole eggs among health-conscious consumers concerned about cholesterol in the yolk –– may have another beneficial effect in reducing blood pressure.
The research suggests that there may be another reason to call it, "the incredible, edible egg." There is evidence from the laboratory that a substance in egg white –– it’s a peptide, one of the building blocks of proteins –– reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug.
They used a peptide called RVPSL. Scientists previously discovered that the substance, like the family of medications that includes Captopril, Vasotec and Monopril, was an angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. It has a powerful ability to inhibit or block the action of ACE, a substance produced in the body that raises blood pressure. The researchers used laboratory rats that developed high blood pressure and were stand-ins for humans with hypertension. The results of feeding the substance were positive, showing that RVPSL did not have apparent toxic effects and lowered blood pressure by amounts comparable to low doses of Captopril. These results supported and enhanced previous findings on this topic.
It was noted that the research was done with a version of the peptide that was heated to almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit during preparation — less than the temperatures typically used to cook eggs. There is evidence from other research, however, that egg whites may retain their beneficial effects on blood pressure after cooking. One, for instance, published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that fried egg protein, cooked at high temperatures, actually showed greater ability to reduce blood pressure than eggs boiled at 212 degrees F.
Once regarded as a food to avoid in a healthy diet, studies in recent years have concluded that many people can eat eggs without raising their blood cholesterol levels, benefiting from an inexpensive food low in calories and rich in protein, vitamins and other nutrients. The researchers believe that egg white peptides, either in eggs or as a supplement, could become useful as an adjunct to high-blood-pressure medication. For now, people with high blood pressure should consult their healthcare team before making any changes to their treatment plan.