Can Supplements Lower Your Blood Pressure? If So… Which Ones?
Written by Eli Ben-YehudaOn August 11, 2019
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
High Blood Pressure in the United States
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
About 75 million American adults (32%) suffer from high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.
About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.
High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
But despite these statistics, many people are still not willing to get their high blood pressure under control. According to former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once put it with his customary forthrightness, “Drugs don’t work in people who don’t take them.”
The number one reason for non-compliance with taking blood pressure medication is the side effects that people experience. Now not everyone experiences side effects from medications. I myself have to take a very low dose of medication. One for my blood pressure and one for my hearts electrical system. The side effects I have experienced so far. Not one. Something I am very grateful for.
Maybe you are one of those people who has had a bad experience with medication and you just will not subject your body to them anymore. Or maybe you are one of these people who want to find a more natural approach to controlling high blood pressure. Great! Then today’s article will help you understand supplements better and provide you with 7 supplements to lower blood pressure.
7 Myths & Facts about supplements to lower blood pressure
You can receive all the nutrients you need from supplements.
Supplements alone do not provide all the nutrients that foods can provide. However, supplements can be a good alternative for people who have a hard time eating all the necessary foods to meet the required nutrition guidelines.
Supplements were designed to be food substitutes
Supplements were designed to provide people with the extra nutrients they need and that they are not getting from whole foods. The drawback of supplements is that they deliver the prescribed vitamin(s) and nothing more.
Meaning, the vitamins found in fruit, vegetables and other foods come with thousands of other phytochemicals, or plant nutrients that are not essential for life, but may protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure and other chronic ailments. Studies have shown that the combination of all these nutrients, as found in foods, is more effective than taking one supplement or nutrient in a pill form.
Supplements are for everyone
If you are healthy and eat a well-balanced diet, you generally do not need supplements. Supplements are recommended for certain health problems that can not be addressed just through healthy eating. Supplements should be prescribed by a health care provider to assure that you are taking the right vitamins, doses and avoid the risk of interactions with other medications or health conditions.
One can lose weight, reduce stress, and increase energy by taking supplements.
Supplements are designed to fill in nutrition gaps and add to your diet. They are not to be used as a replacement for a healthy diet or lifestyle. No matter how many supplements you take, you still need to eat and live healthy to see improvements where necessary. So do not expect, as many health professionals will also advise, that supplements will do more than what they were designed for.
Supplements prevent chronic disease.
Studies on the effect of supplements on preventing chronic disease have demonstrated an ability to possibly lower the risk of chronic disease.
However, supplements are used to help reduce the symptoms of chronic diseases, especially cancer, and have proven beneficial in numerous cases. Note that there are studies indicating taking to many supplements can lead to an increase in health risks in the future.
Supplements are risk-free and FDA Approved in the United States
Unlike drugs, which must be approved by the FDA before they can be marketed, supplements do not require pre-market review or approval by the FDA. However, the FDA does require that supplement manufacturers have evidence that their products are safe and their labels truthful and not misleading, but they are not required to provide the FDA with such evidence before entering the market.
According to the National Institute of Health, the FDA does periodically inspect facilities that manufacture dietary supplements. There have been various studies demonstrating that certain supplements can be harmful and they should, therefore; be taken with caution and under the supervision of a health care provider.
Furthermore, when taking supplements it is important to take the recommended dose otherwise you run a risk of health complications.
Supplements to lower blood pressure are safe to take with any medication
Many supplements to lower blood pressure have proven problematic with certain medications and it is important to read labels before mixing them.
Discuss an effective supplement regimen with your doctor and be sure to inform him of all medications you are taking and the health conditions you have. For example, large doses of calcium supplements can interfere with some high blood pressure medications such as Thiazide diuretics and Calcium channel blockers.
7 Supplements To Lower Blood Pressure
If you’re looking for a natural remedy for high blood pressure and you haven’t had your Vitamin D levels checked recently, now is the time. It’s likely you have a vitamin D deficiency and are in need of vitamin D supplements to help lower your blood pressure, according to the results from two recent studies.
Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it comes in contact with ultraviolet B radiation from the sun. We also obtain Vitamin D through dietary sources, however, it is not widely found naturally in food sources and food fortification has been found to be largely inconsistent or inadequate as reliable sources.
While we rely on sun exposure primarily for our Vitamin D absorption, depending on where you live, the time and day and what you are wearing, you may not be getting as much as you need. In fact, an estimated that 45-70% of our population is deficient in Vitamin D.
Those with high vitamin D levels had lower blood pressure and therefore a reduced risk of hypertension. For every 10 percent increase in vitamin D levels, there was an 8 percent decrease in the risk of developing hypertension. The results are part of the data from a study known as D-CarDia, a large-scale study involving numerous centers in Europe and North America. The D-CarDia study ultimately aims to establish the causal role of low vitamin D on cardiovascular disease using genetic markers.
CoEnzyme Q10 is primarily found in the mitochondria, which is responsible for converting energy into forms that the body’s cells can utilize.
CoQ10’s main function is to help synthesize adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a nucleotide necessary for many biological activities including the production of protein and muscle contraction. CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant, helping the body neutralize free radicals, compounds that may be responsible for hastening the aging process and contributing to the onset of major health conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
According to the clinical trials the researchers analyzed, coenzyme Q10 has the potential to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and the diastolic blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg.
Coenzyme Q10 is often used as a supplement to help lower blood pressure, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it may take up to 4 to 12 weeks before any positive effects may be seen.
Magnesium helps regulate hundreds of body systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and muscle and nerve function. We need magnesium to help blood vessels relax, and for energy production, bone development, and transporting calcium and potassium. Just like potassium, too much magnesium can be lost in urine due to diuretic use, leading to low magnesium levels.
Magnesium: It’s hard to get sufficient levels of this critical mineral in your diet, which is why you must supplement. Magnesium helps regulate heart health, so it’s best to take 400 mg of magnesium every day.
**Note: Take magnesium after meals. If you have kidney problems, don’t take supplemental magnesium without your doctor’s approval.
Potassium: is a key mineral that the body relies on heavily to function properly. It helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. Your kidneys help to control your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure.
Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
Increasing potassium through diet is recommended in adults with blood pressure above 120/80 who are otherwise healthy. Potassium can be harmful in patients with kidney disease, any condition that affects how the body handles potassium or those who take certain medications. The decision of whether to take excess potassium should be discussed with your doctor.
Resveratrol is part of a group of compounds called polyphenols. They’re thought to act like antioxidants, protecting the body against damage that can put you at higher risk for things like cancer and heart disease.
It is found in the skin of red grapes, but you can also find it in peanuts and berries. Its effects on blood pressure are not surprising if you consider the fact that resveratrol may reduce irritation and improve blood flow through vessels.
Resveratrol may even support hormones that play a role in blood pressure. Foods high in resveratrol may also contain a number of other beneficial compounds and nutrients, like antioxidants and fiber, that are responsible for supporting blood pressure.
French Maritime Bark Extract:
A University of Arizona study documented 50% reduced the need for blood pressure medication in diabetic participants taking 125 mg of French Maritime Bark Extract per day. Interestingly, there was a 23.7 mg/dL drop in blood sugar and 0.8% reduction in hemoglobin A1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar control). Another study demonstrated a reduced need for calcium blocker medication in participants given 100 mg per day.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA–found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements–reduce blood pressure as effectively as lifestyle changes such as exercising more, cutting back on salt, or limiting alcohol, according to a recent meta-analysis published in American Journal of Hypertension.
The analysis found that hypertensive study participants who received the Omega 3’s DHA and EPA had an average decrease in systolic pressure (the top number in the reading) of 4.51 mm Hg, while diastolic pressure fell an average of 3.05 mm Hg, compared to the placebo group.
Controlling your high blood pressure is in your hands. With so many natural ways to lower blood pressure including diet, exercise, weight loss, quitting smoking, decreasing salt intake, and various other ways we really are without excuse.
We have an obligation to ourselves, our families, and friends to take care of our selves and get our high blood pressure under control.
Sources for this article on supplements to lower high blood pressure:
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