High Blood Pressure Could Soon Be Treated With a Genetically Modified Rice

Researchers have developed a genetically modified rice to treat hypertension without the undesirable side effects of Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, a treatment commonly used for people with hypertension.



High blood pressure is the most common chronic disease in the US, affecting one in three adults. As the first preventable cause of stroke, hypertension is characterized by abnormally high blood pressure in the blood vessels and, when it occurs uncontrollably, is a major cause of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and neurodegenerative complications (heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease…).

Read Also: Working More Than 41 Hours Increases the Risk of Hypertension

Commonly prescribed treatments for hypertension include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), which dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. However, there are many undesirable side effects (headache, dry cough, dizziness, drowsiness, swelling of the face, mouth, and throat, etc.).

A food for treating high blood pressure without side effects

Researchers are now in the process of genetic modification of rice, one of the most consumed foods in the world, to introduce several Antihypertensive Peptides. Their work has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Specifically, they have introduced a gene consisting of nine ACE inhibitory peptides and one vasodilator peptide into rice plants.

Read Also: SDSU Researchers Discover a Protein That Can Repair Heart Damage After a Heart Attack

By testing their innovation in hypertensive rats for 5 weeks, researchers discovered that this genetically modified rice significantly reduced hypertension without causing undesirable side effects. “For a person weighing 68 kg, you would only need to eat half a tablespoon of this rice a day to prevent and treat hypertension,” they wrote. Although this discovery is spectacular, it requires further research, especially into the human organism.

Age and lifestyle

Hypertension is a silent disease that affects more people of advanced age: less than 10% of patients are between 18 and 34 years old, compared with more than 65% after the age of 65. It is estimated that half of the people with hypertension would not know it. According to the CDC, aging favors the loss of elasticity of the arteries, which is “the first unalterable risk factor. But other risk factors are determined by habits or lifestyles that can be modified: obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and high consumption of salt, tobacco, and alcohol.

Read Also: Women’s Risk of Heart Disease Increases as They Go Through Menopause


Hypotensive Activity of Transgenic Rice Seed Accumulating Multiple Antihypertensive Peptides

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