Watermelon supplement improves arterial stiffness in obese postmenopausal women

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday April 27, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Menopause suggests that taking L-citrulline supplements may drastically improve arterial stiffness in obese postmenopausal women who would otherwise worsen the condition as they age.

A. Figueroa from the Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences, The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and colleagues conducted the study and found brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), the indicator for arterial stiffness, was decreased by 1.2 m/s in obese postmenopausal women after watermelon supplementation.

 L-Citrulline is an alpha amino acid naturally occurring in the rind of watermelon. The compound in the form of citrulline malate is commonly sold as a dietary supplement to enhance athletic performance.   Citrulline may also boost men's sexual performance as it has a positive effect on the blood pressure, according to other studies. 

The authors said the study was intended to "examine the effects of L-citrulline-rich watermelon supplementation on baPWV, wave reflection characteristics, and aortic systolic blood pressure (SBP) in postmenopausal women." 

Enrolled in the randomized cross-over study were 12 postmenopausal women at a mean age of 57 years and with a mean body mass index of 38.1 kg/M2 and a mean SBP at 153 mmHg.   The subjects used watermelon supplementation (L-citrulline/L-arginine 6grams per day) or a  placebo for six weeks.  Then a series of biochemical parameters were measured at baseline and the end of the study including "baPWV, aortic SBP, aortic diastolic blood pressure, aortic SBP2, radial SBP2, and aortic and radial augmentation indices."

The L-citrulline/Arginine supplement reduced baPWWV by 1.2 m/s, aortic systolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg and aortic diastolic blood pressure by 7 mm Hg after the 6-week watermelon supplementation, compared with the placebo.

The L-citrulline/Arginine supplement also decreased radial and aortic second systolic blood pressure (SBP2) by 10 mm Hg although the radial and aortic argumentation indices remained unchanged.

The authors concluded "Watermelon supplementation reduces arterial stiffness and aortic SBP by reducing pressure wave reflection amplitude in obese postmenopausal women with hypertension."

Keep in mind that the supplement used for the study also contains another active ingredient L-arginine, which has been known to lower blood pressure and also enhance men's sexual performance.

More readings on citrulline.

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