How rotten eggs could lower blood pressure

Tue, 03 Feb 2015
There is a certain gas that makes rotten eggs smell the way they do and it could lead to the development of new treatments for cardiovascular problems caused by diabetes.

The gas contains a new compound called AP39, which creates very small amounts of hydrogen sulphide in cells. In cases of high blood pressure and other blood vessel diseases, which can develop as a result of diabetes, natural hydrogen sulphide is depleted. Increasing it with small amount of AP39 provides notable health benefits.

The study was published in Nitric Oxide, and conducted with the support of the Slovak Research and Development Agency.

When the researchers administered AP39 to animals with high blood pressure, they observed significant decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, and blood vessel stiffness, all of which can be exacerbated by diabetes.

The research into AP39 could lead to more effective treatments for one of the most common complications of diabetes.

Professor Matt Whiteman, of the University of Exeter Medical School, and leader of the study said, "The research significantly adds to our growing body of evidence that hydrogen sulphide could hold the key to new and effective therapies in humans. We are still at an early stage, but so far the key to success appears to be getting hydrogen sulphide delivered to the right place inside cells and mimicking the way the body naturally produces this gas.

"The mechanism may be through blocking a calcium channel on the heart that regulates heartbeat, slowing it down. Clinically used drugs which also block this channel have similar effects, but more than 10 fold higher doses are required."

Future research will investigate AP39's effects on other heart and blood vessel diseases, including heart attacks and cardiac arrest. It is good news for people with diabetes, who may be able to receive much better treatment for common cardiovascular diabetic complications in the future.
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