Over 65 million Americans suffer from High Blood Pressure - a very big and real problem - but like most real problems, it has real causes and real, natural solutions.
Most people are addressing the problem with medication, for example: Anything ending in -pril like Lisinopril, anything ending in -olol like Atenolol, diuretics like HCTZ, or blood thinners like Aspirin. Most typically prescribed hypertension drugs are: ACE Inhibitors, Diuretics, Beta Blockers, and Calcium Channel Blockers. These drugs all have major side effects, and they are often used in combination with other medications - even though certain combinations have proven to cause kidney failure! (ACE Inhibitor, Diuretic, and NSAIDs - “The Triple Whammy of Kidney Failure”)1
Fortunately, there are plenty of safe and effective ways to bring down your blood pressure and reduce your reliance on ACE inhibitors and other dangerous drugs. Among the scientific literature, there are hundreds and hundreds of natural substances and practices that have been proven to aid hypertension, like meditation and yoga. Some of the research-proven nutraceuticals that aren’t mentioned below include: flaxseed, cocoa products, grape seed extract, and L-arginine.
Here are my top 6 tips to safely and naturally reduce blood pressure (in no particular order):
- Vitamin D – a new study from the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology has shown that low levels of this essential hormone are a direct cause of elevated blood pressure. Most mainstream literature suggests supplementing with 2000 IU, I recommend taking at least 5,000 IU daily. But, you never know for sure until you get it measured! 50-70 ng/mmol is where I like to be and like my patients to be.
- Fish Oil – the blood pressure lowering effect of fish oil has recently been confirmed in a systematic review of 17 clinical trials (although the changes were small).8 The omega 3’s EPA and DHA from fish oil decrease inflammation and have been shown to reduce stiffness of your arteries.9 I typically recommend between 1000-2500mg/day, but I also strongly recommend that you get your Omega 6: Omega 3 levels and ratios tested!
- CoQ10 – taking 100 to 200 mg a day can reduce blood pressure by up to 17 mmHg systolic and 10 mmHg diastolic, and in a study of hypertensive patients taking 200+mg/day, 51% were able to get off at least 1-3 antihypertensive medications 4 months after beginning taking CoQ10.4 Make sure you take the most bioavailable form of CoQ10, known as Ubiquinol. When doing Customized Supplementation Plans using blood and urine lab testing, this is the single most common deficiency and most needed supplement in our patient base, and many experience great results after beginning taking CoQ10. THIS IS A MUST FOR PEOPLE ON STATINS FOR CHOLESTEROL!
- Garlic – has been found to reduce blood pressure in several studies, including one that showed time-released garlic tablets dropped total blood pressure by more than 10mmHg.5 I think it’s better to include it in your diet, the main ingredient allicin is only potent right after you have smashed it, so freshly smashed garlic is more potent than capsules or pills, although many people choose the capsules for their breath. But it’s good for you!
- Exercise -- Exercise has been shown to improve hypertension for many, many years and is the single most researched health intervention under the sun. There is very little that it hasn’t been shown to improve. I sometimes think it’s obvious, but it’s amazing how many people do not get enough exercise. This probably means you! That means movement, like walking, but it also means actually exercising and getting your heart rate elevated and giving your heart a good workout! THink about it - your heart is having to work harder to pump blood through your arteries. That’s high blood pressure. So what happens if you strengthen the heart? Lower the heart rate? Increase its efficiency? Exercise is a no-brainer for high blood pressure!
- Get Adjusted! There are now dozens of studies looking at chiropractic adjustments and the responses of the nervous system, the stress response, and particularly the cardiovascular system - including many on Heart Rate Variability and Blood Pressure.6 One study has shown a total drop in BP of 27mmHg after undergoing chiropractic care to the upper cervical area!7 Many of these studies are looking specifically at adjustments of the upper cervical area, specifically the occiput or skull and C1, or the atlas bone. The proposed mechanism for the drop in blood pressure is that adjusting the atlas and brainstem area cause a parasympathetic response, which lowers blood pressure, as opposed to a sympathetic response, or fight-or-flight response. Most people today are stuck in a sympathetic dominance from far too much stress (mental, physical, chemical), and the parasympathetic response elicited by an atlas adjustment can help much more than their blood pressure, as the parasympathetic nervous system also controls things like digestion, healing, and hormone balance. So get adjusted!
Article By: Dr. Taylor Krick
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26768241 - The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, news release, June 25, 2014
- Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study - Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21 (5): 347–352
- Pase MP (2011) Do long-chain n-3 fatty acids reduce arterial stiffness? A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials” in the British Journal of Nutrition doi:10.1017/S0007114511002819
Disclaimer: These statements are of a general nature and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any product.