Effects of watermelon supplementation on aortic hemodynamic responses to the cold pressor test in obese hypertensive adults

Am J Hypertens. 2014 Jul;27(7):899-906. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpt295. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Background: Cold-induced increases in aortic blood pressure (BP) may cause adverse cardiac events in hypertensives by increasing ventricular afterload. L-citrulline supplementation reduces BP at baseline and during the cold pressor test (CPT), but the effect on wave reflection (augmentation pressure (AP) and index (AIx)) is controversial. Our aim was to assess the effect of L-citrulline-rich watermelon supplementation on aortic hemodynamic responses to CPT in hypertensive adults.

Methods: Brachial systolic BP (bSBP) and aortic systolic BP (aSBP), AP, AIx, AIx adjusted to 75 beats/min (AIx75), reflection time (Tr), first (P1) and second systolic peak (P2; wave reflection magnitude), heart rate (HR), and systolic time index (STI; myocardial oxygen demand) at baseline and during CPT and magnitude of the response from baseline to CPT were evaluated in 13 individuals (10 women; 57±1 year; bSBP 151±5 mm Hg). Participants were randomized to a 6-week watermelon or placebo supplementation in a crossover design.

Results: Watermelon reduced (P < 0.05) bSBP, aSBP, P1, and P2 at baseline and CPT compared with placebo; thus, increases from baseline to CPT were unaffected. Watermelon did not affect AP, AIx, AIx75, and STI at baseline but decreased (P < 0.05) AP and STI during CPT and the increases in AP (~5mm Hg) and AIx75 (~7.3%) from baseline to CPT.

Conclusions: Watermelon supplementation reduced aortic BP and myocardial oxygen demand during CPT and the magnitude of the cold-induced increase in wave reflection in obese adults with hypertension. Watermelon may provide cardioprotection by attenuating cold-induced aortic hemodynamic responses.

Clinical trials registration: Clinicaltrial.gov register, NCT01185041.

Keywords: aortic blood pressure; augmentation index; augmented pressure; blood pressure; hypertension; myocardial oxygen demand..

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Citrulline / pharmacology
  • Citrullus*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Vascular Stiffness / drug effects*


  • Citrulline

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01185041