Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover affected ambulatory blood pressure and forearm vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal type 2 diabetic women.
Design: Sixteen postmenopausal type 2 diabetics treated with diet or oral hypoglycaemic therapy completed a randomized double-blind crossover trial of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover (approximately 50 mg/day) for 4 weeks compared to placebo. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure recordings and forearm vascular responses to acetylcholine, nitroprusside and L-nitromonomethylarginine (L-NMMA) were measured at the end of each treatment period.
Results: Mean daytime systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lower during isoflavone therapy compared to placebo (-8.0 +/- 3.4 and -4.3 +/- 1.9 mmHg respectively, p < 0.05). The increase in forearm vascular resistance following L-NMMA was significantly greater during isoflavone supplementation (20.9 +/- 6.5) than placebo (3.7 +/- 2.9 arbitrary units, p < 0.05), suggesting an improvement in basal endothelial function. Plasma lipoproteins, glycated haemoglobin and forearm vascular responses to acetylcholine and nitroprusside did not differ significantly between isoflavone and placebo therapy.
Conclusion: Isoflavone supplementation from red clover may favourably influence blood pressure and endothelial function in postmenopausal type 2 diabetic women.