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Health benefits

In the present study, we compared the effects of lupin and soy proteins on blood pressure and vascular function in two experimental animal models: one for type II diabetes (GK), and the other for salt-sensitive hypertension (DSS). In both studies the development of hypertension was accelerated by sodium loading. We showed for the first time, that in the diabetic animals both protein treatments lowered the elevated blood pressure to the level of normotensive controls and both of the protein treatments also normalised the impaired vasocontraction. However, only the lupin treatment improved the severely diminished vascular relaxation. These beneficial cardiovascular effects were hypothesised to be due to the high arginine content of lupin protein and the hypothesis was studied further in DSS rats. The lupin and soy protein treatments did not, however, show any beneficial effects in DSS rats, even though a comparable amount of L-arginine in the drinking water was able to produce favourable effects (data not shown).

The results of the studies have been presented in the Healthy ProFood meetings in Helsinki (8.-10.7.2004), Copenhagen (15.-16.4.2005) and Milan (9.-10.11.2005). An abstract presenting the results of both of the studies has been published in the book of proceedings of the final conference. A manuscript of the first study has been submitted to the Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

The possible beneficial cardiovascular effects of lupin protein in other animal models as well as in humans, and the mechanisms involved, should be studied further before the expected benefits of these results can be evaluated.

The influence of lupin protein on the cardiovascular disease risk markers and oxidative stress related to smoking and environmental hypercholesterolemia was assessed and clinical studies on influence of lupin protein on lipids, lipoproteins, markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were performed: The studied group consisted of 55 subjects. All subjects were heavy smokers. All study participants during 3 months (90 days) taken 2 glasses (2X 250 ml) of the lupin protein rich drink per day The lupin protein drink was prepared by TERRENA (France). The 2 glasses of lupin drink contained 36 g of lupin protein. This amount of lupin protein is similar to the amounts of soy protein for which significant metabolic effects were reported. During our nutritional experiments no adverse effects of the diet enriched in lupin protein were observed during clinical examination and no one of study participant have complained. Therefore, the consumption of lupin protein can be recognized as safety.

The studied group consisted of normolipemic and mildly hyperlipemic subjects. A significant drop in total cholesterol levels was noted and in more than 60% of studied subjects the mean serum cholesterol decrease was higher than 10% of initial value. Significant drop was also noted in LDL cholesterol concentrations. HDL cholesterol did not change significantly on lupin protein rich diet.In subjects with serum triglyceride levels >150mg/dl a significant drop in TG concentrations was noted and more than 90% of studied subjects were recognised as hyperresponders.

Significant changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was observed on diet rich in lupin protein. More than 50 % of studied subjects were recognized as hyerresponders. On the lupin protein rich diet significant decrease in glucose levels (p<0.001) was observed. On lupin rich diet significant decrease in urinary F2-isoprostane (the accepted marker of in vivo oxidation) and in ex vivo ROS (reactive oxygen species) production by different blood leukocyte subpopulations were observed. These changes suggest that lupin protein possesses antioxidant properties and decrease the possibility of development of inflammatory process, which plays an important role in development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Based on the results of performed studies lupin protein can be recognized as a factor, which significantly influences metabolic processes related to cardiovascular disease development. Lupin protein significantly decreases serum cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. All these parameters are well-accepted markers of enhanced CHD risk. Lupin protein consumption also significantly decreases serum glucose levels. Lupin protein can be recognized as factor, which significantly influences processes associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes development.

It can be concluded that food containing lupin protein helps to normalize lipid profile, glucose levels and blood pressure. Therefore, lupin protein might be recognized as functional food and might play a significant role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

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