Health Category

Understanding Blood Pressure - Natural Blood Pressure Supplements, Herbs & Nutrients


 

The High Blood Pressure Epidemic

You might be surprised to learn that right now one in five adults in Canada are living with hypertension, that’s over six million Canadians (1). Another worrisome fact is that hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is among the most common reasons to visit a doctor. In 2007 alone, 21.1 million visits to community physicians in Canada were made for high blood pressure (2). It’s also startling to contemplate that the lifetime risk for developing hypertension among adults aged 55 to 65 years with normal blood pressure is 90% (2). Additionally, many people are suffering with high blood pressure at this very moment and yet are unaware of this silent and deadly health threat, making the true prevalence of this health condition even higher.

There’s no doubt that dealing with high blood pressure is a common health problem that ignites a fearful feeling in many people. Perhaps you’re worried about how to control high blood pressure, or you might have aging parents, other family members, or friends who are currently trying to manage high blood pressure also known as hypertension. Ask yourself, do you need to or does someone else in your family need to have a blood pressure test? Knowing your blood pressure measurement could be one of the most important health decisions you make.

Sometimes it’s a struggle maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and managing high blood pressure, but doing so could save your life and preserve the quality of your life by reducing your risk of developing serious health complications such as heart attack and stroke. Consider this, having a high blood pressure level doubles or even triples your risk for heart disease and is often the cause of heart failure (3). It can damage the walls of arteries in your heart, brain, abdomen, and legs causing an alarming array of other health problems. This arterial damage can also cause a loss of eyesight, kidney failure and aneurysms. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked by your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider who can assist in understanding blood pressure levels.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that people without health conditions get their blood pressure level checked every year (4). However, if you have a related medical condition or are currently being treated for high blood pressure, you need to check your blood pressure range more regularly. Knowing your blood pressure numbers can be particularly important since most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. If you know how to help control high blood pressure, you’re taking action to protect your health and you can cut your risk of stroke by up to 40% and heart attack by up to 25% (3). You can’t cure high blood pressure but rest assured there are ways to help maintain a normal blood pressure range.

A blood pressure test measures the pressure of blood against the walls of your arteries. The top number reflects the pressure of the heart contracting and pushing blood out (systolic blood pressure) and the bottom number represents the lowest pressure when the heart relaxes between beats (diastolic blood pressure).

A blood pressure reading that is consistently above 140/90 mm Hg when measured in the doctor's office, or 135/85 mmHg when measured at home is considered high. In diabetics, 140/90 mm Hg is considered a high blood pressure reading. A high-normal blood pressure range between 130/85 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg is a warning sign that you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure (4).

Many people try and understand the relationship between salt and high blood pressure, smoking and high blood pressure and looking for the best diet for high blood pressure. The main causes of high blood pressure are high sodium intake, excess alcohol intake, lack of physical activity, poor diet, smoking and being overweight. Having an underlying medical problem and being under increased stress can also cause high blood pressure. While you can’t control certain factors that could be the cause of high blood pressure, such as ethnicity, family history, genetics or age, the good news is that you can learn how to support healthy blood pressure levels by making dietary and lifestyles choices. The most powerful way you can help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure range is by having healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.


References:
1) Heart and Stroke Foundation.Web. 2016.
2) Public Health Agency of Canada. Web. 2016.
3) Heart and Stroke Foundation.Web. 2016.
4) Heart and Stroke Foundation.Web. 2016.
5) Heart and Stroke Foundation.Web. 2016.
Additional References
Arun Chockalingam. Worldwide epidemic of hypertension. Can J Cardiol. 2006 May; 22(7): 553–555.
Government of Canada. Web. 2015.

 

How to Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally through Lifestyle Changes

It’s important to stop using nicotine-containing products such as cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff and nicotine-containing gum to help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure range. Additionally, reduce or eliminate your exposure to second hand smoke. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and heart rate, stresses the heart, increases risk of blood clots and narrows your arteries and hardens their walls.

It’s important to stop using nicotine-containing products such as cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff and nicotine-containing gum to help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure range. Additionally, reduce or eliminate your exposure to second hand smoke. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and heart rate, stresses the heart, increases risk of blood clots and narrows your arteries and hardens their walls.

Since stress is a contributor to high blood pressure as well as many other health problems, you need to learn to manage and minimize the stress in your life. Sometimes it can be helpful to spend time doing activities you enjoy with people you like being around and to avoid situations that cause you to feel stressed.

Making healthy dietary choices is very important for regulating your blood pressure level. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is easy to follow and is designed to be a dietary guideline for people to follow to obtain or maintain a healthy blood pressure level. This diet is not overly restrictive and is abundant in nutrient rich foods which are relatively low in calories.

Designed by top experts from several health institutions, this dietary plan is high in healthful sources of dietary nitrates such as those found in beetroot and spinach and which naturally help to regulate blood pressure range. Unlike common diets that encourage you to eat less, the DASH diet actually encourages you to eat more health promoting foods.

Your diet can significantly affect your blood pressure level. The DASH diet is rich in nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium and fibre, while being low in sodium, saturated fat and total fat. It includes at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, at least 2 servings of lower-fat dairy products each day and whole grain breads, cereals and baked goods. It limits high-sugar, high-fat and overly salty foods. Healthy fats such as olive and nuts are also recommended to be eaten. To maintain a healthy blood pressure level, you should not consume more than 2300mg of sodium per day.

Enjoying 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week will help you to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, losing even a moderate amount of weight can help to reduce your blood pressure. Losing only eight to ten pounds can reduce systolic blood pressure by about seven points and diastolic blood pressure by about six points.

References:
Hord NG, Tang Y, Bryan NS. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;90(1):1-10.
Heart and Stroke Foundation. Web. 2016.
Heart and Stroke Foundation. Web. 2016.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Web. 2016.

 

How to Maintain Blood Pressure Naturally?

If you suffer from hypertension or are experiencing symptoms of hypertension helping your body maintain healthy blood pressure levels is critical and natural blood pressure supplements could play a significant role in how to maintain a normal blood pressure range naturally. Natural nutrients and herbs have long been studied for their ability to help lower blood pressure naturally, safely and effectively. Find out more about natural ways to help support healthy blood pressure to optimize and protect your heart’s ability to do its very important job of keeping you alive.

 

Make it Easier to Obtain Optimal Blood Pressure Ranges With Natural Supplements

Nitrates, the same healthful components found in dark green leafy vegetables such as beetroot and spinach are converted by the body into nitrites, which are then converted into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a very important molecule in the body, and is vital for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. It’s a potent vasodilator, meaning that it widens the blood vessels, thereby helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure range. For example, beetroot juice, which is very high in nitrates, has been shown to help decrease systolic blood pressure by as much as 10.4mmHg and reduce diastolic blood pressure by as much as 8.1mmHg, with the effect becoming noticeable just one hour after consumption (1). Another study found that administration of sodium nitrate to human volunteers resulted in a significant drop in diastolic blood pressure (2).

Hibiscus is a medicinal plant that is highly effective at maintaining healthy blood pressure levels naturally. The anti-hypertensive effect of hibiscus is thought to be attributed to the anthocyanin components of the plant. Its anti-hypertensive properties have been documented in a variety of in vitro, animal and human studies. In one study including 54 human subjects, treatment with a hibiscus tea caused dramatic improvements in their blood pressure in just 12 days. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 11.2% and diastolic blood pressure by 10.7% (3). In another study, supplementation with Hibiscus (standardized to contain 9.6mg anthocyanins) was found to be as effective as the drug captopril at helping to support a normal blood pressure range naturally. Patients taking hibiscus for just four weeks experienced a reduction in systolic blood pressure from 139.05 to 123.73 mmHg and in diastolic blood pressure from 90.81 to 79.52 mmHg, on average. Furthermore, their blood pressure levels were not significantly different from the group taking captopril (4). Hibiscus can help high blood pressure in at least three ways, including vasodilation (possibly through a nitric oxide mediated pathway), a diuretic effect, and through the blocking of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). ACE is an enzyme that produces angiotensin, a molecule that is a potent vasoconstrictor. For this reason, blocking ACE is one of the key ways to reduce hypertension and is the goal of many anti-hypertensive drugs.

A review of several research studies concluded that garlic is superior to reducing blood pressure levels compared to placebo (5),(6). Garlic is believed to help regulate blood pressure ranges by relaxing the arteries through increased nitric oxide production. Additionally, garlic works in a similar manner as drugs called ACE inhibitors to help maintain a healthy blood pressure range. Another benefit of garlic is its ability to reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides, which can create blockages in blood vessels and arteries leading to an increased blood pressure level.

The amino acid L-Theanine is found in green tea and is an excellent natural way to support normal blood pressure levels. L-Theanine indirectly increases the production of GABA, a key inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which works in helping to maintain a normal blood pressure range. GABA induces blood vessel relaxation helping to support healthy blood pressure levels. In one study, investigating the effects of orally administered L-theanine on mental task performance and physiological activities under conditions of physical or psychological stress in humans, it was demonstrated that L-theanine significantly inhibited blood-pressure increases (7). Animal studies have also found blood pressure reductions in rats supplemented with L-Theanine (8),(9).

Green (unroasted) coffee bean extract rich in chlorogenic acid, a dietary phenol, has more recently been discovered to have blood pressure lowering and cholesterol-reducing benefits. Research has demonstrated that chlorogenic acid significantly reduces systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension (10). In a study including 117 men with mild hypertension, supplementation with 180mg of chlorogenic acid for 28 days resulted in significant 5.6 mmHg and 3.9 mmHg decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure respectively (11). In rats, chlorogenic acid also helped to prevent the negative effects of high blood pressure including the inability of blood vessels to properly control dilatation and constriction and unhealthy changes in the body’s network of blood vessels.

This Ayurvedic herb has been proven to have multiple cardiovascular benefits. Studies have shown that extracts of Terminalia arjuna produce sustained blood pressure lowering effect and slowed heart rate. They have also been shown to increase the force of contraction of the heart (12).

Pharmacologic research studies have established that forskohlin significantly lowered high blood pressure in different animal species, as well as humans. In addition, it positively alters the force of heart muscle contraction. The anti-hypertensive effects of forskohlin are attributed to the relaxation of the smooth muscle in arteries (13).

The fruits from this plant benefit the heart and act as coronary vasodilators. Hawthorn is known to dissolve deposits in thickened and sclerotic arteries. Various clinical studies have shown increased cardiac performance and output, decreased peripheral resistance, decreased pulmonary arterial and capillary pressures, reduced blood pressure at rest and during exercise, and improved metabolic functions (14).

For high blood pressure, diuretics, commonly known as "water pills," help your body get rid of unneeded water and salt through the urine. Getting rid of excess salt and fluid helps lower blood pressure and can make it easier for your heart to pump. Boerhaavia diffusa provides powerful diuretic activity to positively support the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure (15).

 

Strengthen Your Heart and Shield it From Damage with Natural Supplements

Magnesium Orotate is a very effective yet relatively unknown chelate combination containing orotic acid. This combination is highly bioavailable and has been studied specifically for heart health. Orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Orotates increase the formation of RNA and DNA which can help heart cells repair and therefore improve heart function. This combination has been shown to strengthen the heart, improve heart failure, symptoms of angina and exercise performance in clinical trials (16), (17).

High Blood Pressure is referred to as the “silent killer” because it often goes unnoticed until a major cardiac event. This type of event, which can be life threatening, can occur for a variety of different reasons, including high viscosity of the blood, narrowing of the arteries, and weak heart muscle. CoQ10 can help support healthy blood pressure by addressing each of these concerns. It helps the blood to be less viscous, thus making flow through arteries and veins with less force being exerted on blood vessel walls. By reducing the oxidation of cholesterol, CoQ10 reduces the progress of the narrowing of the arteries. As the most important muscle in the body, the heart requires Q10 more than any other. A 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with twice daily administration of 60 mg of oral CoQ resulted in a average reduction in systolic blood pressure of the CoQ-treated group was 17.8 mm Hg (18). Research demonstrates that coenzyme Q10 protects the heart against stress and improves left ventricular function in patients with heart failure (19), (20).

Also known as ashwagandha, it has been described as the most important medicinal plant in India. This herb has been the focus of hundreds of clinical studies and is one of the most exhaustively researched herbs. The anti-stress activity of the roots has been reported in multiple clinical studies. Ashwagandha has been used as a treatment for the most debilitating diseases and is included for its cardioprotective activity. In addition, Type A personalities or people under consistent high stress conditions are more prone to high blood pressure, which is an independent risk factor for heart disease, making ashwagandha an ideal herb for protecting the heart from oxidative damage (21).

References:
1) Kapil V et al. Hypertension. Epub 2010 Jun 28. Inorganic nitrate supplementation lowers blood pressure in humans: role for nitrite-derived NO. 2010 Aug;56(2):274-81. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.153536.
2) Bahra M et al. Inorganic nitrate ingestion improves vascular compliance but does not alter flow-mediated dilatation in healthy volunteers. Nitric Oxide. 2012 May 15;26(4):197-202. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Jan 20.
3) Hopkins et al. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia: a comprehensive review of animal and human studies. Fitoterapia. 2013 Mar;85:84-94. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 17.
4) Herrera-Arellano, A et al. Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized extract from Hibiscus sabdariffa in patients with mild to moderate hypertension: a controlled and randomized clinical trial Phytomedicine. 2004; 11(5):375-382.
5) Karin Ried, et al. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008; 8: 13. Published online 2008 Jun 16. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-8-13PMCID: PMC2442048
6) Nahida Tabassum and Feroz Ahmad. Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 30–40. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.79097 PMCID: PMC3210006
7) Ai Yoto, et al. Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 2012; 31(1): 28. Published online 2012 Oct 29. doi: 10.1186/1880-6805-31-28 PMCID: PMC3518171
8) Yokogoshi H, et al. Reduction effect of theanine on blood pressure and brain 5-hydroxyindoles in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1995;59:615–618. doi: 10.1271/bbb.59.615. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
9) Yokogoshi H and Kobayashi M. Hypotensive effect of γ-glutamylethylamide in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Life Sci. 1998;62:1065–1068. doi:10.1016/S0024-3205(98)00029-0.
10) Watanabe T, et al. The blood pressure-lowering effect and safety of chlorogenic acid from green coffee bean extract in essential hypertension. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2006 Jul;28(5):439-49.
11) Kozuma K, et al. Antihypertensive Effect of Green Coffee Bean Extract on Mildly Hypertensive Subjects. Hypertension Research. 2005; 28: 711–718.
12) Bharani A, et al. Salutary effect of Terminalia Arjuna in patients with severe refractory heart failure. Int J Cardiol 1995 May; 49(3): 191-9.
13) Ammon HP and Muller AB. Forskolin: from an ayurvedic remedy to a modern agent. Planta Med 1985 Dec; (6): 473-7.
14) Miller AL. Botanical influences on cardiovascular disease. Altern Med Rev 1998 Dec; 3(6): 422-31.
15) Gaitonde BB, et al. Diuretic activity of punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) Bull Haffkine. 1974;2:24–5. http://www.srisriayurveda.nl/media/pdf/IJRPC-Punarnava.pdf 16) Stepura OB et al. Orotic acid as a metabolic agent. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2002; (2): 39-41.
17) Geiss KR et al. Effects of magnesium orotate on exercise tolerance in patients with coronary heart disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep; 12 Suppl 2:153-6.
18) Burke BE et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in isolated systolic hypertension. South Med J 2001 Nov; 94(11): 1112-7.
19) Munkholm H et al. Coenzyme Q10 treatment in serious heart failure. Biofactors 1999; 9(2-4): 285-9.
20) Rosenfeldt FL et al. Coenzyme Q10 protects the aging heart against stress: studies in rats, human tissues, and patients. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2002 Apr; 959:355-9; discussion 463-5.
21) Reuland DJ et al. Upregulation of phase II enzymes through phytochemical activation of Nrf2 protects cardiomyocytes against oxidant stress. Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Mar;56:102-11. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.11.016. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Additional References
Borghi C and Cicero AF. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 6. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12902. [Epub ahead of print] Nutraceuticals with clinically detectable blood pressure lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta-analyses.
Webb, A., et al. Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Hypertension. 2008;51:784-790.



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