(NaturalHealth365) Do you suffer with hypertension? Today, we’ll outline for you exactly how to lower blood pressure – without the need for toxic medications.
Roughly 70 million Americans have high blood pressure – a condition which often shows no symptoms, but can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, heart failure and kidney damage. And, over thirty percent of hypertensive people have an additional problem – they don’t experience what researchers call “the dip:” a normal, beneficial nighttime drop in blood pressure that would otherwise mitigate the damaging effects of constant high blood pressure by offering needed relief to stressed blood vessels and organs.
In fact, studies show that “non-dippers” have a significantly higher rate of heart disease and death – highlighting the importance of controlling blood pressure both day and night. Thankfully, researchers have identified three different natural substances that can work with (or without) prescription blood pressure medication to help regulate blood pressure around the clock.
As many as half of all Americans have “prehypertension”
Concern over high nighttime blood pressure is deepened by the fact that one out of three Americans actually has “prehypertension” – measurements between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg. Blood pressure values that don’t reach the medically accepted threshold of “high blood pressure” – 140/90 mmHg and higher – can still pose a threat to health and raise risk of heart disease.
Many natural health experts maintain that the systolic – or top number – should not exceed 120 mmHg, and point to 115/75 mmHg as an optimal value to strive for. In this article, we’ll take a look at three natural compounds that work to lower blood pressure – in many cases – as effectively (and safer) than prescription antihypertensive medications.
Quercetin and other flavonoids can lower blood pressure – safely and effectively
Quercetin, myricetin and myricitrin are plant-based compounds, or polyphenols, that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. All three are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce the oxidative damage that leads to heart disease, and researchers are crediting them with blood pressure-lowering effects.
In a systematic review of controlled trials recently published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the authors noted that quercetin reduces blood pressure – especially at doses over 500 mgs. In a study published in Journal of Nutrition, 730 mgs of quercetin a day significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with Stage 1 hypertension – by 7 mmHg in the systolic and 5 mmHg in the diastolic. And, 500 mgs of quercetin a day was found to lower systolic blood pressure in women with type 2 diabetes.
Two similar flavonoids function like pharmaceutical angiostenin inhibitors to lower blood pressure
Myricitrin, found in fruits, vegetables, and black and green teas, has been found to have anti-anxiety effects in animal studies. A recent review of studies found that increased intake of flavonoids like myricitrin could decrease the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and stroke caused by high blood pressure.
In the intestine, myricitrin is converted to a related compound called myricetin.
Myricetin can help to reduce the “stickiness” of blood platelets that can cause atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease. In addition, myricetin has properties similar to angiotensin-blocking drugs such as telmisartan, binding to and blocking the receptors for a blood pressure-raising hormone called angiotensin.
In a review published in 2014 in Biomedical Research International, myricetin reduced systolic blood pressure in hypertensive rats. It also was found to suppress weight gain and fat accumulation, and inhibit the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol. In a clinical study, 600 mgs a day of myricetin extract lowered systolic blood pressure by a very significant 11 mmHg.
A non-caloric sweetener provides blood pressure benefits
Steviosides are derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, the source of the non-caloric sweetener stevia, research shows that steviosides slow calcium signaling and block calcium channels in smooth muscle cells in the vascular system, thereby relaxing blood vessels in a way similar to that of prescription calcium channel-blockers.
In a recent review of studies, the authors reported that supplementing with 750-1500 mgs of stevia a day for a year or longer caused a drop of blood pressure of 11.9 mmHg. In the same way that modern calcium channel blockers are combined with angiotensin inhibitors for maximum effectiveness, steviosides can be combined with flavonoids to effect natural blood pressure control.
When it comes to suppressing blood pressure at night, however, one hormone excels. (keep reading)
Melatonin lowers blood pressure and regulates circadian rhythms
Melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland, helps to reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels and interfering with signals from the sympathetic nervous system. In controlled-release form, melatonin can help control nighttime blood pressure – in addition to protecting the kidneys and other organs from long-term consequences of chronic high blood pressure.
It is important to use melatonin in the proper form. In an analysis of seven trials published in Vascular Health Risk Management, researchers reported that while immediate-release melatonin had an insignificant effect on blood pressure, controlled-release melatonin markedly reduced systolic and diastolic nighttime blood pressure. Noting that melatonin was both effective and safe, the authors called for more studies to explore the long-term benefits of melatonin supplementation.
If you have the “non-dipping” blood pressure pattern, nighttime could be a time of increased stress for your body – rather than a time of rest and recovery. You can increase the odds of well-controlled, round-the-clock blood pressure – and enhance the effectiveness of prescribed blood pressure medications – by using these three types of natural compounds.
As always, discuss supplementation first with your doctor before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or nutritional supplement routine.
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