Early research reveals that gluconic acid, an organic substance, may be used to detect excessive blood pressure and stroke risk in Black adults.
According to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2023 in Dallas, black adults may have a higher risk of hypertension and stroke if it is discovered that they have a high level of an organic substance called gluconic acid in their bodies (held February 8–10). A peer-reviewed journal has not yet published the study.
According to the study’s senior author, Naruchorn Kijpaisalratana, MD, PhD, a neurology researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, “It remains to be determined in a future study whether gluconic acid causes high blood pressure or vice versa. We believe that gluconic acid is a diet-related indicator of inflammation, and that people at higher risk of stroke would have higher levels of gluconic acid.
A Biomarker Associated with Lifestyle Habits
According to the findings, Black participants’ higher levels of gluconic acid may be linked to their dietary and exercise habits, as well as their preference for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (common components of the “Southern diet”). Education levels may also be related to lifestyle and health practices, according to Kijpaisalratana.
We believe that adopting healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity will reduce gluconic acid levels, she says. But to prove our hypothesis, we would need to conduct another experimental investigation.
Why researchers are interested in glutonic acid
Glutonic acid is a special type of metabolite. The body creates or uses metabolites when it breaks down food, drugs, chemicals, or its own tissues (for example, fat or muscle tissue). Metabolites have been shown to be associated with oxidative stress, a condition that can develop when the body produces too many unstable molecules called free radicals and not enough antioxidants to neutralize them. A growing body of research indicates that oxidative stress may contribute to the development of hypertension.
After examining 162 metabolites important to human metabolism, the researchers concentrated on gluconic acid because it was the only one to show ethnic disparities.
This metabolite was linked to socioeconomic determinants of health like nutrition, education, and exercise. “What shocked us was that we uncovered a metabolite that has racial differences in association with the diseases,” said Kijpaisalratana.
Given that it is present in meals (such as fruits, wine, and honey) and may be created by the gut flora, gluconic acid may be regarded as a dietary-related marker, claim the study’s authors. They underlined that at this stage, gluconic acid is merely a sign of inflammation and not a known cause.
According to Kijpaisalratana, “Our findings did not establish that gluconic acid by itself is dangerous.” “We showed that gluconic acid may serve as a marker for a number of health-related activities. As a result, we advise people to continue living a healthy lifestyle by eating well and working out often.
A potential tool for assessing heart disease risk
Gluconic acid could be a useful tool for health professionals to identify black adults at risk for stroke, according to Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., an American Heart Association volunteer expert and associate dean and professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.
The possibility of finding a new prognostic marker or therapeutic target is critical, according to Dr. Ovbiagele, who did not participate in the study. “It is extremely important to consider the long-standing higher risk of stroke in black adults than in white adults in the United States, a risk that to date has not been fully explained by a higher frequency of traditional stroke risk factors,” he says.
Gluconic acid, he continued, “may also be helpful to urge Black patients to adjust their lifestyles as needed to prevent stroke and serve as an objective measure to notify healthcare practitioners about how well their patients are doing in reducing hypertension and stroke risk.”