Mattias Carlström receives SEK 6 million grant from the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation
Mattias Carlström, associate professor at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet, has been awarded the Prince Daniel research grant to promising young researchers of SEK 6 million from the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation. The grant will be used to study the ability of beetroot to decrease the risk of diabetes, renal failure and cardiovascular disease.
There is a correlation between high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and renal failure, and many argue that this link may be due to oxidative stress – that is, highly reactive oxygen compounds that damage cells and organs – in the body's small blood vessels. Mattias Carlström’s theory is that the condition can be alleviated by supplements of nitrate – a substance that occurs naturally in foodstuffs such as spinach, beetroot and rucola.
During a clinical study, patients with cardiovascular and renal disease or diabetes will drink beetroot juice twice a day. Carlström’s research group will then measure parameters such as the diet’s effect on blood pressure, kidney function and insulin sensitivity. If the study shows favourable results it may lead to beetroot being added to the list of possible treatments, or even entirely replacing pharmaceuticals that are both expensive and may cause side-effects.