JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Dietary supplementation with whey protein improves systemic microvascular function in heart failure patients: a pilot study

A De Lorenzo, E M Dos Santos, A S Bello Moreira, G V B Huguenin, E Tibirica
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 2021, 54 (6): e10577
33886810
Endothelial dysfunction is a well-known component of the pathophysiology of heart failure (HF), with proven prognostic value. Dietary supplementation with whey protein (WP) has been widely used to increase skeletal muscle mass, but it also has vascular effects, which are less understood. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of WP supplementation on the systemic microvascular function of HF patients. This was a blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial that evaluated the effects of 12-week WP dietary supplementation on systemic microvascular function, in patients with HF New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes I/II. Cutaneous microvascular flow and reactivity were assessed using laser speckle contrast imaging, coupled with pharmacological local vasodilator stimuli. Fifteen patients (aged 64.5±6.2 years, 11 males) received WP supplementation and ten patients (aged 68.2±8.8 years, 8 males) received placebo (maltodextrin). The increase in endothelial-dependent microvascular vasodilation, induced by skin iontophoresis of acetylcholine, was improved after WP (P=0.03) but not placebo (P=0.37) supplementation. Moreover, endothelial-independent microvascular vasodilation induced by skin iontophoresis of sodium nitroprusside, was also enhanced after WP (P=0.04) but not placebo (P=0.42) supplementation. The results suggested that dietary supplementation with WP improved systemic microvascular function in patients with HF.

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