Mary Ward RD PhD, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, presents as part of the Inaugural Professorial Lecture series
Hypertension or high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is one of the most important causes of premature death globally. A number of well-known nutrition and lifestyle factors contribute to high blood pressure; however, these do not explain all causes. Despite major advances in the management of hypertension, poor control rates are reported in up to 40% of treated adults. Further treatment (and prevention) strategies are thus an urgent priority.
Convincing evidence has emerged supporting an association between hypertension and a genetic factor, the MTHFR TT genotype, which is involved in the body’s handling of the B-vitamin folate. Adults with this genetic factor, 12% of the population in Ireland and the UK and up to 30% in some populations, have higher blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke. Novel work conducted by Nutrition researchers at Ulster has demonstrated that supplementation with another B-vitamin, riboflavin, closely linked with folate, can significantly decrease blood pressure in at-risk adults. The most recent studies conducted suggest that these benefits are not confined to CVD patients and may be particularly relevant to certain groups, including younger adults and women of child-bearing years.
This lecture will consider the evidence linking the MTHFR TT genotype with blood pressure throughout adulthood and the modulating role of B-vitamins in genetically at-risk adults. The clinical and public health implications of this non-drug, personalized approach for the prevention and treatment of blood pressure are considerable, given the high prevalence of this genetic variant worldwide.
The response will be delivered by Professor Mike Gibney, University College Dublin.
This event takes place in Lecture Theatre 8 and is open to everyone.