Many studies around the world have shown that hypertension or high blood pressure might be a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and early death among people. Experts say that understanding how cells around arteries and blood vessels function to regulate blood pressure is key to treat people with conditions such as chest pain or stroke. Earlier, health experts have underlined the value of metals such as potassium and calcium in controlling blood pressure. Now a team of scientists has found that zinc might as well be quite beneficial in keeping blood pressure in control. As per the team, the role of zinc in maintaining normal blood pressure has been underappreciated and essential for a long time. Experts have said that the metal can provide a potent pathway for therapies to treat hypertension. The authors of the study have said that almost all functions of the body depend on arteries that channelize oxygen-rich blood and energy throughout the body. Muscle cells present in blood vessels are responsible for how fast or slow the blood reaches its end. The blood pressure rises when muscles contract and constrict arteries and as the muscles loosen up, arteries get bigger, the blood pressure drops. Experts say that if blood pressure drops too much, the blood flow will not be sufficient to provide the body enough oxygen and nutrients. Blood vessels can be damaged or ruptured if the blood pressure is too high. The new study has shown that zinc has many beneficial effects on blood pressure. The findings of the study have been released in the journal called Nature Communications.
The lead author of the new study, Ashenafi Betrie has said that many past discoveries have confirmed that the levels of potassium and calcium in the muscle around blood vessels are responsible for the contraction and expansion of blood vessels. Senior author of the study Scott Ayton has said that potassium maintains the levels of calcium in the muscle and calcium is crucial for the narrowing of arteries and blood vessels that raise blood pressure and limit blood flow. Experts have said that other cells that are present around blood vessels such as endothelial cells and sensory nerves as well regulate the levels of potassium and calcium in the muscle of the artery and these cells are also controlled by these metals present inside them. The authors of the study have been studying the effect of zinc-based medicine on brain function in Alzheimer’s disease and they have found that the drug has been able to reduce blood pressure drastically in mice. The authors of the study have found that corresponding action by zinc within sensory nerves, endothelial cells, and in the muscle of the artery cause reduced levels of calcium in the muscle of blood vessels. This process relaxes blood vessels; shoots up blood flow and reduces blood pressure. The study authors have noted that blood vessels in the brain and heart have been more sensitive to zinc as compared to the vessels of other parts of the body.
Dr. Scott Ayton has said that especially zinc has the reverse effect to the calcium on blood pressure and flow. The study has been able to find another surprising fact that genes that regulate the levels of zinc in cells are linked to cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Hypertension is a common side effect of zinc deficiency, said the experts. Experts from the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine and TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital in China have joined hands to come up with the new study.