Hypertension, more commonly described as high blood pressure, can often go overlooked. In fact, according to the CDC, hypertension was a contributing factor in more than 490,000 deaths in 2018. Multiple variables affect whether you develop hypertension in your lifetime. As humans grow older, they sometimes develop increased sensitivity to salt. Recent studies have discovered a link between the expression of the Klotho protein and the risk of developing hypertension. Understanding this relationship might be the key to learning how to prevent high blood pressure for future generations.
What is the Klotho Protein?
The Klotho protein is produced by the kidneys and functions as a sort of anti-aging hormone by engaging with several different processes in the body, including the regulation of oxygen imbalances in your molecules. In a review of previous studies conducted to observe the anti-aging properties of the Klotho protein published by the National Library of Medicine, compelling evidence about the anti-aging properties of the Klotho protein was found. Experiments made to study the effects of Klotho deficiencies in mice found that subjects with reduced amounts of the protein exhibited symptoms of aging more quickly than usual. On the other hand, mice with excess amounts of it enjoyed longer lifespans. When observing the natural production of the Klotho protein in the human body throughout a lifetime, there are similarities. As we age, the amount of Klotho secreted by your kidneys decreases significantly.
How Does the Klotho Protein Affect Hypertension?
In basic terms, hypertension is triggered by excessive amounts of salt. However, what constitutes excess varies from person to person. Each person has their own salt sensitivity, and the higher the sensitivity, the more at risk they are of developing hypertension. Despite the differences amongst individuals, general trends show that younger people have lower sensitivity to salt, and as such, are far less likely to have high blood pressure. As we get older, that sensitivity can increase. Interestingly, deficiencies in Klotho protein indicate higher sensitivity and hypertension risk while having a healthy amount of Klotho lowers the risk of hypertension.
The relationship between the Klotho protein and salt sensitivity may allow us to use the concentration of Klotho in the body as an indicator of a person’s hypertension risk. Patients exhibiting deficient amounts may be more susceptible to developing hypertension and allow us to mitigate risks for aging patients.
By supplementing the body with an additional supply of Klotho, it’s possible that the body could have the necessary means to stave off some of the negative effects of aging, including salt sensitivity. While there is still ample research to be done, the possibilities look very promising.