High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common disorder in which the heart has to work harder than necessary to pump blood due to increased pressure and stiffness in the arteries. This illness, which affects hundreds of millions of individuals globally — one in every four adults — frequently manifests itself without symptoms, leaving many people with high blood pressure undetected. Hypertension has been dubbed "the silent killer" for this reason. High blood pressure has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and renal disease, particularly when left untreated.
Blood pressure is a two-digit number that is generally expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic blood pressure is the first number, and diastolic blood pressure is the second. The systolic/diastolic blood pressure is 120/80.
The pressure your heart produces on your arteries when it pumps is known as systolic blood pressure.
Diastolic blood pressure: the pressure in the arteries during rest.
Individuals with high blood pressure should be monitored by their personal physician.
Blood Pressure Interpretation:
- Normal blood pressure: <120 / 80
- Elevated Blood Pressure: >120-129/ 80-89
- Hypertension (Stage 1): 130-139/ 80-99
- Hypertension (Stage 2): Over 140/90
*Children's values are different.
What Are the Causes of Hypertension?
Hypertension can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of physical exercise, an unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese, insulin resistance, prediabetes, diabetes, kidney disease, certain drugs, and heredity. However, it may arise as a result of aging in the absence of any other identifiable reason.
Can Hypertension Be Managed?
If your blood pressure is elevated or stage one, lifestyle changes may be sufficient to help normalize it — there are times when people with newly diagnosed hypertension can be treated solely through diet and exercise changes. This is typically reserved for those who have few risk factors and are committed to making urgent lifestyle changes, including home blood pressure monitoring with a digital blood pressure monitor.
Vegetable, nut, and fresh fruit-rich diets can be advantageous since they contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium, all of which assist maintain the circulatory system's balance and health.
Conventional Blood Pressure Treatment
Physicians and patients have been able to treat high blood pressure and, as a result, lessen the risks associated with it. Over the last several decades, medications to treat high blood pressure have been the predominant method of lowering higher levels.
The following is a list of commonly used blood pressure drugs, along with their class designation. While there is little doubt about their usefulness, many are concerned about their adverse effects. However, in the majority of cases, the advantages outweigh the risks. Often, an individual will take two or more drugs from different groups to regulate their blood pressure.
Medications for High Blood Pressure That Are Frequently Used
- Alpha-blockers (Clonidine)
- Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (Olmesartan, Losartan, Irbesartan)
- Vasodilators (Hydralazine)
- Beta-Blockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol, Carvedilol, Sotalol)
- Calcium Channel Blockers (Amlodipine, Diltiazem, Nifedipine)
- Diuretics (Hydrochlorothiazide, Triamterene, Chlorthalidone, Spironolactone) or “water pills”
- Ace Inhibitors (Lisinopril, Benazepril, Enalapril, Ramipril, Fosinopril)
Natural Blood Pressure Therapies
- Stress reduction and routine exercise
- Meditation and relaxation techniques, including prayer
- Diet rich in vegetables and fruits
- Weight loss
Supplements That Can Assist in Blood Pressure Reduction
L-arginine is an amino acid, which is a protein building block. It is found predominantly in red meats, seafood, poultry, and dairy products and is classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid. L-arginine is a precursor to NO, or nitric oxide, a powerful blood vessel vasodilator. According to studies, it may help lower blood pressure.
Benefits were demonstrated in a 2011 study published in the American Heart Journal. Eleven randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials were evaluated by the researchers. These studies examined 387 patients with hypertension in total. The daily dose of L-arginine was between 4 and 24 grams. Systolic blood pressure was decreased by 5.4 millimeters per hour, while diastolic blood pressure was decreased by 2.7 millimeters per hour.
Additionally, a 2017 study found that users of a L-arginine-containing supplement had lower blood pressure than those who took a placebo pill. According to a 2018 study, supplementing with L-Arginine and B vitamins can significantly lower overall blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Dosage range: 1,000 mg to 6,000 mg per day.
Fatty Acids Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids, alternatively referred to as polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs, are critical for overall human health. They are thought to have a variety of beneficial effects on the heart, brain, gut, and joints. Omega-3 fatty acids may also aid in blood pressure reduction. These critical nutrients are found in a variety of foods, including krill oil, fish (mackerel, cod, and salmon are particularly high in these nutrients), walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, avocado, and natto.
A 2009 randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Hypertension found that taking omega-3 fatty acids at a dose of 4 grams (4,000 mg) per day could help lower blood pressure. According to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, DHA/EPA decreased systolic blood pressure and, when taken in excess of 2 grams (2,000 mg) per day, also decreased diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number). This 2014 study evaluated a total of 70 randomized controlled trials.
Finally, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that consuming fish oil at a dose of as little as 700 mg per day can significantly help lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids, according to a 2017 study, resulted in significant improvements in both vascular function and blood pressure reduction.
Extract of Beetroot Juice
Numerous plants, like beets, contain a high quantity of nitrates, which can be converted to nitrites when ingested by bacteria found in the human mouth. Nitrites are dissolved in saliva, ingested, and taken into the bloodstream, where they are transformed to nitrous oxide, a very strong vasodilator of blood vessels. This is what causes the blood pressure to drop. Beet juice and extract, in particular, are high in inorganic NO3.
Beetroot consumption was compared to a placebo in a 2012 study published in The British Journal of Nutrition. When at least 100 grams of beetroot were consumed, the results indicated a considerable drop in blood pressure. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, drinking beetroot juice, which is high in inorganic nitrates, resulted in a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure. The studies reviewed comprised a total of 254 individuals.
In a 2014 study, the effect of beetroot supplementation on overweight patients was investigated. Those who took the concentrate experienced a blood pressure decrease of more than seven points. Additionally, a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition shown that beetroot supplementation increased endothelial function, which likely explains how blood pressure is reduced.
Finally, a 2017 meta-analysis published in Advances in Nutrition found that beet juice consumption led in a 3.55/1.22 mmHg reduction in overall blood pressure levels. This can have a significant impact on overall vascular health.
Dosage recommendation: As directed on the label.
Hawthorn berries are small fruits that grow on the crataegus genus of shrubs and trees. They have been used medicinally for centuries and can be traced all the way back to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These berries have traditionally been used to promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and also to treat digestive issues. Hawthorn berries are high in antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
A 2002 study of 36 people with hypertension found that 500 mg of hawthorn berry could help reduce diastolic (lower) blood pressure. However, this study found no benefit in terms of lowering systolic blood pressure, the highest reading.
According to a 2006 study published in the British Journal of General Practice, hawthorn berry benefits include lowering overall blood pressure values. The study divided 79 type 2 diabetes patients into two groups. Thirty-nine patients received 1,200 mg of hawthorn berry extract, while the remaining forty received a placebo pill. The subjects were followed for a period of sixteen weeks. The results indicated that those taking the hawthorn supplement experienced a three to five-point decrease in blood pressure, while those taking the placebo experienced no change. There were no reported side effects.
1200 mg once daily or 600 mg twice daily is recommended.
Up to 60% of adults are estimated to be magnesium deficient, and 45% are clinically deficient. Magnesium content has decreased in the majority of fruits and vegetables over the last century. Magnesium is involved in over 400 biochemical reactions in the human body and acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, a class of blood pressure-lowering medications discovered by pharmaceutical companies.
Magnesium was found to reduce blood pressure by 5.6/2.8 mmHg in a 2011 study, which is statistically significant and comparable to some prescription medications. Additionally, according to a 2011 study, "Oral magnesium acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, increases nitric oxide, improves endothelial dysfunction, and induces direct and indirect vasodilation." These are all the actions that a blood pressure-lowering medication is expected to perform.
Magnesium supplementation may help lower blood pressure, according to a 2016 meta-analysis of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Additionally, a 2017 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that magnesium supplementation significantly reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in individuals with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
Suggestions: 250-500 mg daily
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate, has been the subject of extensive research over the last half-century. Since the late 1960s, over 53,000 studies on vitamin C have been conducted, according to a search of the scientific literature. Their findings indicate that it contributes to the development of a strong immune system, as well as cardiovascular, brain, and skin health, among other benefits. Blood pressure control may also be a benefit, and low vitamin C levels are associated with high blood pressure.
According to a 2000 study published in the Journal of Hypertension, "high ascorbic acid intake has only a modest effect on lowering high systolic blood pressure in older adults, which may contribute to the reported association between increased vitamin C intake and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke."
Similarly, a 2012 study concluded that vitamin C supplementation may help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The study examined 29 trials and discovered a four to five-point reduction in SBP and a one to two-point decrease in DBP. Vitamin C was typically taken in doses of 500 mg per day.
Dosage: 500–1,000 mg per day
Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is an essential antioxidant nutrient found in nature. Coenzyme Q10 is required for the production of energy by cells. This is primarily accomplished in a region of the cell called the mitochondria, which serves as the cellular "power plant" for the generation of energy in the body.
Because the heart is the most active organ in the body, it produces and consumes the most CoQ10 to meet metabolic demands. However, higher levels of CoQ10 are required to help optimize function in those with cardiac disease.
According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, "coenzyme Q10 has the potential to reduce systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg in hypertensive patients without causing significant side effects." The study was a meta-analysis of 12 trials with a total of 362 patients.
After ten days, a 2015 double-blind, randomized controlled study of male Japanese athletes receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day observed a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure.
The Mayo Clinic also supports the use of CoQ10 to treat hypertension, as did a 2015 study published in the Annals of Medicine. However, a 2016 Cochrane review concluded that there was no evidence of a significant benefit in lowering blood pressure.
The effect may be subtle. According to a 2018 study, "CoQ10 supplementation may result in a reduction in Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) levels but had no effect on Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) levels among patients with metabolic diseases."
Suggestions range from 100 to 300 mg daily. Several hundred milligrams may be beneficial.