- Posted June 13, 2014 by
Protein may lower the risk of stroke
A new meta-analysis by Dr. Xinfeng Liu, MD, PhD, of Nanjing University School of Medicine in Nanjing, China and colleagues revealed that moderate intake of dietary protein can lower the risk of stroke.
In this meta-analysis researchers combined results of seven prospective cohort studies that were identified by searching PubMed and Embase through November 2013, and by reviewing the reference lists of retrieved articles. The studies consisted of 254,489 participants. Among the studies four were conducted in the U.S., Japan; two studies and Sweden one study with follow-up of an average of 14 years.
The pooled results of the studies showed that participants who consumed the most protein 0.80 had the lowest risk for stroke. Consumption of 20 grams dietary protein was linked to a 26% reduced risk for stroke (intracerebral hemorrhage). The protein showing the reduced risk was animal protein and not vegetable protein.
According to Dr. Liu "If everyone's protein intake were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke.”
Dr. Liu notes that this analysis does not support increased consumption of red meat which has been linked an increased risk of stroke. He also notes that the two studies in which were conducted in Japan where people eat less red meat than westerners do and consume more fish which has been linked to a lower risk of stroke.
"These results indicate that stroke risk may be reduced by replacing red meat with other protein sources, such as fish," Dr. Liu said.
The reduced risk of stroke was stronger for animal protein than vegetable protein.
Protein [Unlink] has the effect of lowering blood pressure, which may play a role in reducing stroke risk, Liu said.
“In an accompanying editorial Dr. Arturo Tamayo, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Neurology), University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and Dr. Luis Castilla-Guerra, MD, PhD, of the Hospital de la Merced in Seville, Spain write “The benefits were in animal protein sources rather than grains. The grain study population was small, and as the authors described, this could have been a factor for the inconsistent result. Therefore, labeling animal protein completely as beneficial is not helpful until more data are available. “
They did however, agree with patients benefiting from fish noting that several studies have shown that fish protected against ischemic stroke because of the overall favorable effects of long chain 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
They also added "The value of diet in stroke prevention is as complex as human diets. It does not rely exclusively on one portion of it, because multiple factors contribute positively or negatively in stroke prevention, along with multiple modifiable and non-modifiable factors."
In closing they write, “In the mean-time, it seems that evidence tilts toward the Cretan Mediterranean diet, although the amount of protein is yet to be determined. In other words, eating vegetables, fruits, and protein every day will help to keep stroke away.”