Dietary influence on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the TwinsUK cohort

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Background: Nutrition plays a key role in blood pressure (BP) regulation. Here we examine associations between nutrient intakes and BP in a large predominantly female population-based cohort.
Methods: We assessed the correlation between 45 nutrients (from food frequency questionnaires) and systolic BP/diastolic BP (SBP/DBP) in 3,889 individuals from TwinsUK not on hypertensive treatments and replicated in an independent subset of monozygotic twins discordant for nutrient intake (17-242 pairs). Results from both analyses were meta-analysed. For significant nutrients, we calculated heritability using structural equation modelling.
Results: We identified and replicated 15 nutrients associated with SBP, 9 also associated with DBP, adjusting for covariates and multiple testing. 14 of those had a heritable component (h2: 27.1% - 57.6%). The strongest association with SBP were with riboflavin (Beta(SE)=-1.49(0.38),P=1.00x10-4) and tryptophan (-.31(0.01),P=5.x10-4); while for DBP with alcohol (0.05(0.07),P=1.00 x10-4) and lactose (-0.05(0.0),P=1.3x10-3). Two multivariable nutrient scores, combining independently SBP/DBP-associated nutrients explained 22% of the variance in SBP and 13.6% of the variance in DBP. Moreover, bivariate heritability analysis suggested that nutrients and BP share some genetic influences.
Conclusions: We confirm current understanding and extend the panel of dietary nutrients implicated in BP regulation underscoring the value of nutrient focused dietary research in preventing and managing hypertension.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2020


  • Nutrients; hypertension; blood pressure; management; prevention; diet


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