33% higher irrespective of the protein source 43% higher for animal protein sources 49% greater for dairy proteins 17% higher for plant protein sources Only fish and egg-specific proteins were not associated with an increased risk of heart failure among middle-aged men, researchers noted in their study. Proteins obtained from eggs, as well as fish, showed no link with risk of heart failure in the study, the researchers further said.
The research investigated the association between protein intake and survival in 2,281 patients, with an average age of 68 years, and who were all diagnosed with heart failure.
There was a trend toward increased risk of heart failure with higher intake of total protein (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio in the highest versus lowest quartile, 1.33; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.95 to 1.85; P-trend = 0.05). "Long-term interventions comparing diets with differential protein compositions and emphasizing differential protein sources would be important to reveal possible effects of protein intake on risk factors of heart failure".
However, the researchers stressed that more studies are needed in diverse populations to confirm the findings.
The study, published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, included 2,441 men, aged between 42 and 60 years who were examined over a period of 22 years.
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"As many people seem to take the health benefits of high protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks and benefits of these diets", said Dr Jyrki Virtanen, study author and an adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland. Participants were divided into four groups depending on the total amount of protein they received on a daily basis from their diet.
The researchers found 334 cases of heart failure diagnosed in the study and 70% of the protein consumed came from animal sources and 27.7% was vegetable. Heart failure happens when the body is not able to pump the required amount of oxygen as well as blood in order to remain healthy.