Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a globally popular vegetable and its significant health effect has not been reported in randomized controlled trials. Recently, we reported that eggplant was rich in choline esters, including acetylcholine (ACh), and had an antihypertensive effect in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Here, we evaluated the effects of a continuous intake of eggplant powder on blood pressure (BP), stress, and psychological state (PS) in 100 stressed participants with normal-high BP or grade 1 hypertension in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparative study. The participants were randomly assigned to the eggplant or placebo group. Participants in the eggplant group ingested capsules containing eggplant powder (1.2 g/day; 2.3 mg of ACh/day) for 12 weeks, whereas participants in the placebo group ingested placebo capsules. The primary outcome assessed was hospital BP. Secondary outcomes were stress and PS. Eggplant powder intake significantly decreased the hospital diastolic blood pressure (DBP) at week 8 overall and in the normal-high BP group, and the systolic blood pressure (SBP) and DBP at week 12 overall and in the grade 1 hypertension group, compared to those of the placebo group. It also improved negative PSs at week 8 or 12 in the normal-high BP group. This is the first evidence of the BP- and PS-improving effects of eggplant intake in humans. The functional substance responsible for the effects was estimated to be eggplant-derived choline ester, namely ACh.
Keywords: acetylcholine; blood pressure; eggplant; psychological state; randomized controlled study.