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Food and health

Effects of full-fat dairy products on subclinical vascular function in adults with elevated blood pressure: a randomized clinical trial



High consumption of low- and non-fat dairy products improves vascular dysfunction associated with elevated arterial blood pressure (BP). Currently, it is unknown if conventional full-fat dairy products improve vascular functions.


To determine if adding whole milk and full-fat dairy products to the normal routine diet improves vascular function in adults with elevated BP.


Sixty adults (age ± SEM; 58 ± 2 years) with elevated BP (systolic/diastolic; 120–159/ < 99 mmHg) were randomized into a controlled crossover intervention trial consisting of two 4-week dietary periods. The high dairy condition consisted of adding four daily servings of whole milk or full-fat dairy products to the normal diet and eliminated all dairy intake during the control (no dairy) condition. A 2-week washout period separated the dietary conditions.


Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) did not differ significantly between high dairy (11.3 ± 0.3 versus 10.9 ± 0.3 m/sec) and no dairy conditions (11.2 ± 0.3 versus 11.0 ± 0.3 m/sec). The results were consistent when ultrasound-derived vascular distension measures (arterial compliance, beta-stiffness index, and elastic modulus) were evaluated. Cardiovagal baroreceptor sensitivity (via Valsalva maneuver) demonstrated no significant difference for either dietary condition. Brachial arterial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) did not differ significantly during the high dairy (5.7 ± 0.5 versus 5.4 ± 0.6%) and no dairy conditions (6.5 ± 0.5 versus 5.6 ± 0.6%).


The solitary addition of whole milk and full-fat dairy products has no effect on subclinical vascular function in adults with elevated BP.

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Supported by a research grant from the National Dairy Council.

Author information




The authors’ contributions were as follows: SJR, LAD, and HT designed research; SJR, SSL, and BDB conducted research; SJR, BGF, BDB, SSL, JAS, and DDG analyzed data; SJR and HT wrote the manuscript; HT was primarily responsible for final content of manuscript; LAD served as the licensed dietician; all authors read and approved the final version of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hirofumi Tanaka.

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Roy, S.J., Fico, B.G., Baker, B.D. et al. Effects of full-fat dairy products on subclinical vascular function in adults with elevated blood pressure: a randomized clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 74, 9–16 (2020).

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