Background and aims: Public health campaigns recommend increased fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption as an effective means of cardiovascular risk reduction. During an 8 week randomised control trial among hypertensive volunteers, we noted significant improvements in endothelium-dependent vasodilatation with increasing FV consumption. Circulating indices of inflammation, endothelial activation and insulin resistance are often employed as alternative surrogates for systemic arterial health. The responses of several such biomarkers to our previously described FV intervention are reported here.
Methods and results: Hypertensive volunteers were recruited from medical outpatient clinics. After a common 4 week run-in period during which FV consumption was limited to 1 portion per day, participants were randomised to 1, 3 or 6 portions daily for 8 weeks. Venous blood samples for biomarker analyses were collected during the pre and post-intervention vascular assessments. A total of 117 volunteers completed the 12 week study. Intervention-related changes in circulating levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), von Willebrand factor (vWF) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) did not differ significantly between FV groups. Similarly, there were no significant between group differences of change in homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) scores.
Conclusions: Despite mediating a significant improvement in acetylcholine induced vasodilatation, increased FV consumption did not affect a calculated measure of insulin resistance or concentrations of the circulating biomarkers measured during this study. Functional indices of arterial health such as endothelium-dependent vasomotion are likely to provide more informative cardiovascular end-points during short-term dietary intervention trials.
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