High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is also thought to be a silent killer. It is thought that a third of all Americans suffer from varying degrees of hypertension: like obesity, it is considered a modern epidemic. Normal blood pressure tends to be around 120 over 80, though this can vary between people, dependent on lots of things including fitness and diet. As there are few obvious symptoms of hypertension, it isn’t until the effects impact us more seriously than we know. These impacts can be stroke, heart attack, metabolic syndromes, and vision loss. This makes regular blood pressure checks and maintaining a healthy level through our diet, exercise and supplements crucial.
Unfortunately, modern lifestyles make the chance of hypertension much higher. The increase in processed sugar and some grain products are a dangerous mix for our blood pressure. In actual fact, it is fructose more than anything that can cause blood pressure to rocket. So fruit, yes, fruit – as well as any type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes and rice can impact on your blood pressure. The suggestion from your doctor will always be to modify your diet and to increase your exercise, to cut out caffeine and stress. However, once you have done this you will want to include other supplements to help.
There are lots of options out there. Here are ten different supplements that can support a healthy blood pressure level.
- Potassium Gluconate
A normal level of potassium in your blood is important for all sorts of reasons, not least that a low potassium is a major cause of cramp in our muscles. Our levels of potassium are easily managed in a balanced diet, however, diarrhea, vomiting and certain diuretics such as water pills can cause a drop in potassium levels. Some nutritionists also claim that a modern Western diet is low in potassium – so a supplement is often necessary.
Potassium is important for the healthy beating of your heart. In fact, low potassium can cause problems with an abnormal heart rhythm. This has an obvious impact on your blood pressure, which measures the expanded beat and then the rest between beats. Therefore, taking potassium can lower blood pressure.
This supplement is an amino acid that helps to produce dopamine and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters help to reduce stress and the consequences of stress, including high blood pressure. The supplement is a stimulant and is most commonly used to improve cognition when the body is under extreme stress from the cold or from climbing at high altitudes. However, studies have also proven that the supplement can reduce blood pressure. Some studies question whether this is a placebo effect or an impact of a reduction in stress, which in turn is likely to reduce blood pressure. Whether it is a direct impact on blood pressure or merely a happy extension of reduced stress: L-Tyrosine has some positive effects.
Like L-Tyrosine, L-Arginine is an amino acid that can be obtained from a balanced diet, as it is rich in foods including dairy, meat, poultry, fish, and nuts. It is necessary for the body’s ability to get rid of ammonia and stimulates the release of insulin. For our purposes, which is to reduce blood pressure, L-Arginine is useful for making nitric oxide which is a compound that relaxes the blood vessels in our body. This makes the use of L-Arginine a suggested treatment for angina and congestive heart failure, both as a result of the control of blood pressure. Doctors are keen to point out that L-arginine can be useful but should not replace the use of prescribed medications.
- Chromium Picolinate
This supplement replaces chromium in the body. Some would say this is clear in the name. However, chromium is really quite important in the process of metabolizing protein, carbohydrates and lipids, therefore a handy mineral to have around. Chromium deficiency can cause insulin resistance and metabolic abnormalities. It is often taken by bodybuilders to help with the efficiency of protein and also to help them become more lean, as carbs are also processed quicker. The prevention of hypertension and therefore the reduction in risk of heart disease. Doctors are cautious about the use of chromium, as taken in large doses it can cause damage to organs. However, the dosage suggested on labels will be well below the upper value that might cause harm. The benefits to blood pressure are enough to outweigh the possible side effects.
- DGL Licorice
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, or DGL Licorice, has been used in food and medicine for centuries. Licorice root is 50 times sweeter than sugar but it can be used to treat things as simple as the common cold or something as complex as liver disease. Long-term use of Licorice can cause issues with hypertension but over time, in the short term, it can act as an adrenal that supports blood pressure. The advice is to use it whilst keeping a close check on your blood pressure. You should also consult your doctor and allow constant checking.
Gaba sounds like an alien from a Star Wars film but in fact is a pretty useful supplement. GABA actually stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and are a class of neurotransmitters. It is a downer, in other words, it is a depressive and a sedative which is critical for relaxation. GABA supplement doesn’t really affect our mood, as orally taken supplements struggle to leap the blood-brain barrier. However, it can calm anxiety and acts as a natural tranquilizer.
The reduction in hypertension has been proven in a study by Shimada et al who noted that it was a useful control of blood pressure. The diastolic blood pressure decreased after taking GABA. The results of the study were such that the researchers were able to conclude that GABA was a useful prevention of and the treatment for hypertension.
- Vitamin B8
Also known as Inositol, Vitamin B8 is vital for health, as it is an important component of cell membranes. The phospholipids created by Vitamin B8 are important for electrical current and nutrient transports within cells. It is found in our brain, liver, heart, spleen, stomach and kidneys: therefore, pretty crucial to our whole body.
It controls hypertension by helping effective blood flow via arteries. However, it also helps with psychological problems including anxiety and depression. These can directly impact on the blood pressure of sufferers; therefore, Inositol is a useful tool on multiple fronts.
- 7 Keto
7 keto DHEA or 7 keto dehydroepiandrosterone is a chemical that is naturally stored in the body. Many people take this supplement because it helps to increase the metabolism and therefore helps with weight loss. With obesity being a cause of high blood pressure, this is in itself a useful supplement. However, 7 Keto is one of the most useful of the adrenal hormones because it can also reduce stress, another contributory factor in high blood pressure.
However, as we grow older our blood concentration begins to decline. In fact, it starts to decline from the age of 39 and is reduced to up to 50% by the time we reach 50. This means that other content can begin to dominate, including cortisol, which can increase the effects of aging and contribute to heart disease – all of which contribute to blood pressure.
- Vitamin E
The vitamin is an antioxidant, which can have an effect on mild hypertension by attacking the free radicals that can be harmful to our bodies. A study by Boshtam et al (2002) found that giving patients 200mg of Vitamin E supplement for 27 weeks had a remarkable effect on the blood pressure of the participants. The vitamin was proven successful in reducing both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as heart rate, at a dosage of 200 international units daily. However, as the vitamin is fat soluble, the body is able to store Vitamin E and therefore the recommended daily intake should be at least 224 international units daily.
Vitamin E also helps to produce nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels through vasodilation. This means that the pressure on the arteries and veins are reduced. This can be both a treatment for hypertension and also a preventative measure, as healthy veins and arteries are much more likely to help us live without high blood pressure.
Advice from experts suggests that natural forms of Vitamin E supplements are better than synthetic forms. Therefore, when checking the label you should look for “d-“ rather than “dl-“. So, d-alpha-tocopherol or d-beta-tocopherol.
- Basil, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic and ginger…
This sounds like the ingredients list from a decent curry. Each of these herbs and spices is used regularly in our food and all of them can have a positive impact on our blood pressure. Now, before you take a trip to your local curry takeaway, with a call to the wife that it is good for your health: stop. Remember that one of the major contributory factors to high blood pressure is obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are results of a high sugar diet. If you can guarantee that your local takeaway embraces healthy eating practices, then go for it. However, in all likelihood, you will need much healthier sources for these herbs and spices.
Basil can lower blood pressure, although only for short time – but it is a handy herb to use in a lot of cooking – therefore keeping a pot handy won’t be too difficult. Similarly, people found to have cinnamon daily saw a significant reduction in hypertension, the same with cardamom seeds. Both of these spices are wonder foods really, in fact, thought to actually warm the blood. The same with ginger. However, ginger also improves blood circulation and helps to relax the muscles surrounding the blood vessels.
Garlic has long been known to be good for the heart. It is thought to lower blood pressure by helping blood vessels to relax and dilate. The obvious downside to your breath can be overcome by buying it in supplement form. It is likely one of the few ways of getting an appropriate dosage to help with your blood pressure.
So many choices…
With hypertension being one of the biggest health concerns of modern times, it is comforting to know that there is a whole host of supplements that can be taken each day to help. A healthy diet and an exercise regimen are important factors in controlling our blood pressure. Remember it is the increase in processed foods that have raised rates of cases – therefore a more natural diet – something similar to the paleo diet – will help your body regulate its own systems.
However, as our body from the age of 30 onwards naturally lessens the concentration of our blood, it is a matter of common sense to suggest as we grow older we will become more susceptible to hypertension. Taking supplements will help us to stave off the worst effects of age and mean we can continue to live a fulfilling life.
Which supplements to choose when there is so much choice should not be a chore. Many supplements come with multiple benefits – so choose the one that best suits you and your needs. If you want to lose weight, as well as improve blood pressure, then 7-Keto might suit. If you are also worried about heart disease and stroke, then taking L-arginine will help relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Checking the label and the dosage will give you an idea of what you should take. You might also want to speak to your medical professional. It is likely that the best approach will be a mixture of factors. It could mean taking a good multi-vitamin, maybe some good herbs and spices in your food, a brisk walk each evening with the dog and not too much processed food in the diet. Whatever you choose you will be making a positive choice for your health.
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