Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Gray, Michelle

Committee Member/Reader

Hunt, Sharon

Committee Member/Second Reader

Sullivan, Amanda


Introduction: Blood pressure is a critical indicator for a number of health risks and conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, and stroke. Decreasing blood pressure occurs by vasodilation (relaxation) of blood vessels. The consumption of high amounts of protein is hypothesized to have a correlation with the vasodilation of vessels, thus creating a decrease in blood pressure. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to relate blood vessel diameter to habitual protein consumption. Our findings have the power to make individuals more aware of the effect their habitual protein intake can have on cardiovascular health. Methods: This study was comprised of 20 individuals between the ages of 18-23 years (15 females, 5 males), divided into distinct categories based on self-reported 24-hour dietary recall values. Categories were classified as the following in grams of protein for kilogram of body weight: <1.2 and >1.2. While continuing their normal dietary habits, blood vessel diameter was evaluated with an ultrasound machine before and after a 5-minute occlusion to determine vessel response to flow mediated dilation (FMD). Diameter measures were taken during a relaxed state with the participant lying in the supine position for a total of 9 minutes. Twelve measurements on the participant’s brachial artery of the right arm were obtained pre-occlusion and 12 post-occlusion. The average of the 12 measurements was used in all analyses to determine a pre-occlusion average value and post-occlusion average value. Results: The Repeated Measures ANOVA statistical analysis of vessel diameter change between participant groups of varying habitual protein intake was found to have no statistical significance (p > .05). When analyzed for sex-related differences, pre- and post-diameter values presented a trend for statistical significance with a value of ( p= .06) between men and women. Conclusion: When analyzing the association between blood vessel diameter and habitual protein consumption with the use of FMD and ultrasound, our findings indicate there was no significant effect. As evidenced by the trend for statistical significance, there is potential for sex-related differences. This trend suggests a possible relationship between sex-related responses to vasodilation, pre- and post-occlusion; thus, further investigation is warranted.


hypertension, vasodilation, ultrasound, protein