According to the findings of a two-month pilot study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, this mixture counteracted hypertension-related arterial stiffness through mechanisms likely dependent on oxidative stress downregulation and autophagy stimulation.
“These natural activators of autophagy may represent favorable adjuvants for prevention of the hypertensive cardiovascular damage,” the team of Italian researchers wrote.
The study was supported by grants from the Italian Ministry of Health and the Italian Ministry of Research.
Pro-autophagic and antioxidant properties
Arterial stiffness, which is attributed to biological aging and arteriosclerosis, can lead to the narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart, reducing blood flow or stopping it all together. This can cause a variety of events, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke.
“Trehalose, spermidine, nicotinamide, and polyphenols are natural substances that exert pro-autophagic and antioxidant properties,” the researchers wrote. “Their role in blood pressure (BP) regulation and preservation of vascular function in essential hypertension is unknown.”
They cited previous studies showing that the combination of ingredients reduced platelet activation, and oxidative stress in platelets isolated from patients with atrial fibrillation and metabolic syndrome, or who were smokers. It has also been shown to increase the production of nitric oxide, the formation of new blood vessels, and cell viability in the cells that line all blood vessels.
Polyphenols are known to counteract the endothelial dysfunction through a reduction of oxidative stress, and nicotinamide was shown correct mitochondrial dysfunction to decrease the occurrence of cerebrovascular events such as hypertension and higher predisposition to stroke. Spermidine also exerted beneficial effects through autophagy stimulation in several contexts and reduced cardiovascular aging.
The researchers also pointed to evidence that trehalose protects the cardiovascular system from common health problems through autophagy stimulation and improved resistance artery endothelial function in healthy middle-aged and older adults.
The pilot study assessed 37 hypertensive patients who were either assigned to consume the multi-ingredient supplement or to a control group. Blood samples were collected at baseline and after the 60-day test period.
“The mixture of nutraceuticals did not influence BP levels,” the researchers reported. “Patients receiving the mixture showed a significant decrease of oxidative stress, stimulation of autophagy, increased NO bioavailability and no increase of the AI@75, in contrast to what observed in hypertensive patients not receiving the mixture.”
This was substantiated by reduced levels of NOX2 and H2O2 compared to patients in the control group. Consistently, the HBA level, which is a marker of increased antioxidant status, was higher in the hypertensive patients following the 60-days of supplementation. Patients in this group also showed improved autophagy as documented by the increased plasma Atg5 and decreased P62 levels.
The researchers acknowledged limitations including the small cohort size and limited study period and called for extended studies in larger cohorts to further explore relevant differences regarding vascular function and structure, as well as the clinical effects.
Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
“Effects of two-month treatment with a mixture of natural activators of autophagy on oxidative stress and arterial stiffness in patients with essential hypertension: A pilot study”
Authors: Giuliano Tocci et al.