Researchers have developed a transgenic rice strain which lowers blood pressure [acs.org] in laboratory rats. Genes from unrelated organisms were artificially introduced into the rice to cause production of ten different blood pressure affecting peptides.
In the future, taking your blood pressure medication could be as simple as eating a spoonful of rice. This "treatment" could also have fewer side effects than current blood pressure medicines. As a first step, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have made transgenic rice that contains several anti-hypertensive peptides. When given to hypertensive rats, the rice lowered their blood pressure.
The rice contains natural ACE inhibitors which help to regulate blood pressure and don't have the side effects often associated with pharmaceutical ACE inhibitors such as "dry cough, headache, skin rashes and kidney impairment."
Two hours after treatment, hypertensive rats showed a reduction in blood pressure, while rats treated with wild-type rice proteins did not. Treatment of rats over a 5-week period with flour from the transgenic rice also reduced blood pressure, and this effect remained 1 week later. The treated rats had no obvious side effects in terms of growth, development or blood biochemistry.
In the United States, Hypertension affects almost half of the adult population and is a primary or contributing cause of death for about half a million people per year.
Hypotensive Activity of Transgenic Rice Seed Accumulating Multiple Antihypertensive Peptides, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.0c01958 [doi.org])