Chicken Legs and High Blood Pressure

December 27, 2008

Chicken Legs and High Blood Pressure 

 Competency # 14 SUPERFOOD                           ReferenceSaiga et al, Journal of Agric Food Chem 2008: 56, 9586-9591 Competency #2: Dash Diet 

 Once in a while this column just has to give you something right down close to home……   This is just too good to be true.  I read this and just fell out of my chair laughing.  This is hilarious.  Chicken legs reduce blood pressure!  Can’t you see it, “Buffalo Wings Saves Your Heart”?  So, what is this all about? 

 Actually, this is real research.  It turns out that chicken cartilage has sequences of amino acids in them that actually act like ACE inhibitors.  Drs Saiga et al from Hiroshima University in Japan worked on dissolving cartilage out of chicken legs.  They were using the feet part, not the bones, but it was still the cartilage section.  They actually found four short chains of amino acids that had ACE inhibitor activity.  Gly-Ala-Hyp-Gly-Leu-Hyp-Gly-Pro is an 8 amino acid sequence that has the most potency that is plentiful in chicken cartilage.  

When you take these sequences and give them to rats, their blood pressure drops for not just a few hours, but actually several weeks. Can’t you see the rats with little blood pressure cuffs around their tails?   Now, rats have a higher pressure than humans but they had a 50 point drop in their pressure at 6 hours.  50 points!  That’s not an insignificant measurement.  This is a real drop with real results.  And the peptides survive going through the stomach.  They are effectively absorbed and have real action on the arteries in the rats. ACE inhibitors are some of our very best high blood pressure medications.  They relax your arteries and reduce the load of work off your heart in a way nothing else does as effectively.  In fact, the use of ACE inhibitors is one of the critical actions we advise all doctors to use for heart disease patients.  They are key to our control of high blood pressure.  

Control of our blood pressure is one of the critical actions for all of us.  The DASH Diet was designed to have an integrated approach of multiple combined components to give you the best way to lower your blood pressure.  We now can add chicken legs, another superfood,  to the formula. Now, this is not research on all the parts of the chicken but our modern chicken farming uses young chickens that are barely 6 and 7 weeks old.  Most of their bones are still very soft and composed of a good deal of cartilage.  Grandma used to make you chicken noodle soup that is essentially all a wonderful mix of boiled chicken bones with all that yummy cartilage in it. You know how I adore Grandma. 

 WWW:  What will work for me?  Well, to be truthful, I like chewing the cartilage part off of chicken bones.  I think it’s delicious.  Now I’m going to have justification at Thanksgiving for chewing on the ends of the turkey bone too.  Think how delicious that breast bone section could be.  Imagine a whole new line of gourmet cooking.  What do you think…..what would you like with your fine French Wine?  Chicken legs?   And how would you like them served?   Straight up!  When you’ve finished choking over this, consider how well your blood pressure drops when you fall out of your chair laughing!  I’ve finally found a topic to rival Vitamin D.  

This column written by Dr. John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI (262-784-5300)