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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UGA: Study Pinpoints Lifestyle Factors That Could Lead to Hardened Arteries

In one of the largest of its kind, a new study from the University of Georgia points to lifestyle factors that could lead to hardened arteries.

Hardening arteries, or arterial stiffness, is an independent risk factor for heart disease and death, but the mechanisms that contribute to arterial stiffening are not well understood.

The study performed an untargeted metabolomics profile of over 1,200 participants of the Bogalusa Heart Study to identify metabolites linked to the hardening of arteries.

“We were able to identify some environmental and lifestyle related-metabolites, build metabolite networks to shown how the body reacts to the environmental exposures, and more importantly, tested the effect of those metabolites on arterial stiffness,” said study author Dr. Changwei Li, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at University of Georgia College of Public Health.

The study found 27 new metabolites associated with arterial stiffness.

The majority of these were associated with other known risk factors of arterial stiffness like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. But some of these metabolites are food additives and cooking ingredients found in many U.S. kitchens.

“Our study raised possibility that those additives may cause arterial stiffness. Given the wide usage of those additives, future studies are warranted to investigate their role in arterial stiffness,” said Dr. Li.

The full report of the findings can be found in the current issue of the American Journal of Hypertension.