9 supplements for optimal blood pressure management
(NaturalHealth365) Half of all Americans over 60 suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. In fact, research shows that even small increases in blood pressure increase the danger, with every 20/10 mmHg rise over optimal levels (115/75 mmHg) causing heart disease risk to double! And, while conventionally-trained physicians tend to prescribe drugs to reduce blood pressure, these medications can produce toxic side effects.
Fortunately, a variety of vitamins and nutrients can significantly reduce blood pressure. To discover the top 9 natural supplements for blood pressure control, keep reading.
Vitamin D: The “sunshine vitamin” shines in its ability to help you to stay healthy
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. Experts say that this important fat-soluble nutrient helps to suppress a blood pressure hormone known as renin.
Unsurprisingly, vitamin D deficiency (blood levels under 20 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3) raises the risk of high blood pressure. To avoid deficiency, natural health experts recommend getting at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight two or three times a week. You can also boost dietary levels with cold water (wild caught) salmon, organic mushrooms or pasture-raised eggs.
However, to achieve “optimal levels,” your integrative healthcare provider may recommend supplementation. Although individual needs can vary depending on gender, body mass, age, state of health and climate, some natural health experts maintain that most people need about 5,000 – 8,000 IU per day, to correct deficiencies in vitamin D.
The “mighty mineral” magnesium: A great way to improve your cardiovascular health
Magnesium, an essential mineral, is vital for regulating heart rhythm and blood pressure – and is particularly beneficial for people with cardiovascular disease.
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In one study involving patients with advanced heart disease, magnesium supplementation caused a 9 mmHg drop in systolic blood pressure. The systolic, or top measurement, records the pressure during heartbeats, while the diastolic reveals blood pressure between beats.
For people who are low in magnesium in the first place, supplementation can have even more dramatic effects on blood pressure. In one study of low-magnesium patients, supplementation with 450 mg of elemental magnesium a day dropped systolic levels a whopping 20.4 mmHg.
Can fish oil help to relax the arteries?
Extensive studies have shown that fish oil – which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA – promotes the relaxation of arteries while reducing arterial inflammation. The result?
This natural supplement can cause modest (but still meaningful) reductions in blood pressure. To lower blood pressure, natural healers typically advise between 1,000 and 2,000 mg of fish oil a day. Just be sure to use a quality source of fish oil to avoid toxicity concerns.
CoQ10 is widely known as a “winner” when it comes to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system
A vitamin-like nutrient that is essential for heart health, coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant that can promote healthy blood pressure. Extensive research has shown that doses between 30 mg and 360 mg a day of CoQ10 can drop the systolic reading by as much as 16.6 mmHg.
And, not only can CoQ10 lower blood pressure, but it can help reverse resultant damage by decreasing abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. By the way, if you take a statin drug to lower cholesterol, natural health experts strongly advise supplementing with C0Q10.
Typical dosages range from 200 to 300 mg a day.
Beat high blood pressure with beet juice
At first glance, this brilliantly colored scarlet liquid might resemble the sort of sugary, artificial, chemical-laden drink that those with high blood pressure should avoid. But there is nothing artificial about beet juice, especially as it relates to its ability to decrease blood pressure.
Beets are rich in inorganic nitrate, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds called betalains. Both may help you get high blood pressure under control.
In an important 2015 study, researchers found that a cup of beet juice a day for four weeks lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension, causing improvement within hours of consumption.
Get extra helps from anthocyanins
Anthocyanins, flavonoids found in intensely colored fruits such as blueberries and blackberries, inhibit production of blood pressure-raising ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) while increasing production of beneficial nitric oxide.
One study found that two servings of anthocyanin-rich berries a day caused significant drops in systolic blood pressure – along with a rise in beneficial HDL cholesterol.
As a side note: if fresh berries are inconvenient or pricey, no worries. Powdered berry extracts can give you similar health benefits.
Mellow out with melatonin: A natural sleep aid promotes better blood pressure control at night
Melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” is often taken to promote restful, natural slumber. It can also do double duty by lowering harmful blood pressure “spikes” that can occur during sleep.
In a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, the team found that nocturnal hypertension has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events. In fact, several studies have shown that 2 mg of melatonin, taken before bedtime, can significantly lower blood pressure during sleep.
Don’t forget the value of cinnamon
To access this blood pressure-lowering natural nutrient, you need look no farther than your spice rack.
Cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde, an antioxidant compound that is being researched for its ability to decrease both blood pressure and blood sugar. In a 2013 systematic review published in Nutrition, the authors referenced the “notable” blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon on diabetic and prediabetic patients.
By the way, the amounts used in studies have ranged from a fraction of a teaspoon to two teaspoons a day.
Cinnamon is generally regarded as safe when taken in amounts typically added to food, so go ahead and sprinkle this tasty spice over organic oatmeal or use it to add a little “zip” to your favorite smoothie.
Discover the healing power of eating garlic
Garlic contains an active constituent called allicin, which increases the body’s production of beneficial nitric oxide -in turn enhancing dilation of blood vessels. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, garlic is truly a heavy hitter.
In a meta-review published in 2016 in Journal of Nutrition, the authors examined 50 years of controlled trials involving almost a thousand participants and concluded that garlic lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 8.7 and 6.1 mmHg respectively.
As an added “bonus:” garlic can help to reduce total and LDL cholesterol.
Just remember: If you would like to try managing your blood pressure with any of the above supplements, check with your integrative doctor first.
Manage blood pressure with simple lifestyle changes
Of course, one can’t overlook the potential of proper nutrition and exercise to reduce blood pressure.
Natural health experts suggest doing away with highly-processed foods, refined sugars and sugary drinks from your diet, and replacing unhealthy trans and hydrogenated fats with beneficial (non-toxic) fats, like avocados.
Managing blood pressure is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. These natural supplements can be powerful allies.
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