High blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, involves about 20% of the world’s population.
Angiotensin-1-converting enzyme (ACE) converts angiotensin 1 to angiotensin 11. Blocking of the ACE enzyme by ACE enzyme inhibitors is one method of controlling blood pressure. Synthetic ACE inhibitors have a high rate of side effects. Therefore, researchers are looking for more natural sources of ACE inhibition.
Food proteins contain amino acid chains that have many effects on the body. The effects may be released by digestion, fermentation or food processing. In fermented sauces, such as blue mussel sauce and oyster sauce, microorganisms have altered the proteins and no further processing is needed to make them biologically active.
Marine-derived bioactive peptides are antihypertensive, antioxidant, anticoagulant and/or antimicrobial. Some have been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk. Some can reduce ACE activity by as much as 50%. The antihypertensive effect of these chemicals has been repeatedly demonstrated in rats, without side effects. Hydrolysis can greatly increase the ACE inhibitor activity.
Chitin comes from crustaceans, insects and fungal cell walls. Most commercial chitin comes from crabs and shrimp. Chitooligosaccharides (COS) are mostly units of glucosamine prepared from chitin. COS have effects of “ACE enzyme inhibition, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, immuno-stimulant, antidiabetic, hypocholesterolemic, hypoglycemic, anti-Alzheimer’s, anticoagulant and adipogenesis inhibition.” Various forms of chitosan are being studied for their ACE inhibitory activity.
Phlorotannins are being studied for ACE inhibitory activity. Marine brown algae and red algae are sources of phlorotannins, with Ecklonia cava being the richest source. Phlorotannins are “antioxidant, anti-HIV, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, radioprotective, antidiabetic, anti-Altzheimer’s disease, antimicrobial and antihypertensive.”
CONCLUSION: Bioactive peptides, chitooligosaccharide derivatives (COS) and phlorotannins, from marine sources, have been found to be natural ACE inhibitors. They are being developed as ways to control hypertension.
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