|Amino Acid / Protein|| Theanine (L-Theanine)
| ||High blood pressure is a feature of stress that can be lowered by lowering the stress. The simple act of drinking a cup of tea (which contains theanine) can lower blood pressure by forcing a person to slow down and relax.|
| ||Vasotensin is the proprietary name of a product from Metagenics. It supports healthy vascular function for optimal blood flow and healthy blood pressure levels by supplying bioactive peptides from bonito fish. It helps prevent the formation of angiotensin II a potent vasoconstrictor through their interaction of bonito peptides with angiotensin converting enzyme.|
Fast-acting formula that provides a clinically effective dose in just 2 tablets twice daily. No rebound effect observed in human clinical trials when supplementation is discontinued. Excellent safety profile no adverse effects associated with bonito peptides have been reported.
May be used as a complement to other heart support programs including prescription drugs.
Fish Oil / Krill
| ||In a review of 36 clinical studies, just under 4gm of fish oil per day was associated with modest reductions in both systolic and diastolic pressure, especially if subjects were older and had hypertension. [Journal of Hypertens 2002;20(8): pp.1493-1499]|
Grape Seed Extract / Resveratrol
| ||A study published in the October 2006 journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree reduced edema, a typical side-effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications.|
According to Dr. Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study, more than 35 percent of patients taking antihypertensive medications are believed to suffer from edema as a side-effect. This happens because the antihypertensive medications cause blood vessels to dilate, which allows easier blood flow and thus lowers blood pressure. However, as a side-effect this causes blood to pool in the vessels of the lower legs. In result they stretch and liquid seeps into tissue causing swelling (edema). Hypertension is a serious risk factor for developing severe cardiovascular incidents some time in the future and thus the necessity for treatment justifies the development of edema as a side-effect.
Antihypertensive medications reduce pressure by inhibiting constriction of blood vessels. "The larger the blood vessel diameter, the easier blood will flow with less pressure," said Dr. Belcaro. "In order to avoid blood pooling in the lower legs and feet (edema), blood vessel diameters must adjust when a person changes positions from laying down to standing up. Results of this study show Pycnogenol to improve blood circulation, avoiding blood pools and reducing edema."
| ||One effect of Ginkgo extract is that of promoting vasodilation and blood flow.|
Chlorella / Algae Products
| ||Fifty-five subjects with fibromyalgia, 33 with hypertension, and 9 with ulcerative colitis consumed 10gm of pure chlorella in tablet form and 100mL of a liquid containing an extract of chlorella each day for 2 or 3 months. Daily dietary supplementation with chlorella was seen to reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing and enhance immune functions. Researchers concluded that the potential of chlorella to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and normalize body functions in patients with fibromyalgia, hypertension, or ulcerative colitis suggests that larger, more comprehensive clinical trials of chlorella are warranted. [Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 May-Jun; 7(3): pp.79-91. Review]|
| ||In an Israeli study, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 21% after one year of pomegranate juice consumption. This effect is believed to be related to the particularly potent antioxidant properties of pomegranate polyphenols. [Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):pp. 423-33]|
A similar study at the same research facility examined consumption of pomegranate juice to ascertain its effectiveness in lowering blood pressure. Researchers studied the effect on hypertensive patients of daily consumption of 50 ml of pomegranate juice. After two weeks, a 5% reduction in systolic blood pressure was noted, along with a 36% decrease in serum angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity. Reduc-tion in serum ACE activity has previously been shown to attenuate atherosclerosis, independent of its effects on blood pressure. The study authors concluded, “Pomegranate juice can offer wide protection against cardiovascular diseases, which could be related to its inhibitory effect on oxidative stress and on serum ACE activity.” [Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):pp. 195-8]
| ||One study found that aged garlic extract at 7.2gm per day reduced total and LDL cholesterol, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure.|
Mistletoe (Viscum album)
| ||Mistletoe is known to relieve pain from headaches caused by high blood pressure. Mistletoe reduces the heart rate, and at the same time strengthens the capillary walls. Its cardiotonic action is thought to be due to the lignans, while the hypotensive action is believed to be due to a choline derivative related to acetylcholine. Choline derivatives bring about parasympathetic stimulation and vasodilatation.|
| ||A diet high in fructose can increase uric acid levels, but allopurinol may help lower the resulting high blood pressure, researchers say.|
Men who took the drug to mitigate the effects of a high-fructose diet did not experience the increase in blood pressure observed among men on the same diet who did not take the drug, Richard Johnson, MD, of the University of Colorado, and colleagues said at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Chicago.
"These results support the idea that fructose, such as present in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, could have a role in the epidemic of obesity and metabolic syndrome," Johnson said. "Further, they suggest that [the two sweeteners] could have a role in high blood pressure, and that this might be mediated by uric acid."
Eating a lot of fructose -- typically from sugary drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup -- has previously been associated with increased levels of uric acid.
"It has been known for a long time that fructose can raise uric acid levels, and in the last few years epidemiological studies have also confirmed that those with the highest fructose intake have higher uric acid levels," Johnson said.
"Reducing sugar intake was an old treatment for gout as well, and was even espoused by Sir William Osler," the renowned physician widely credited with advancing modern medicine.
Robert Lustig, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, was a co-author on a paper in the Journal of Pediatrics published last summer (2008) that found evidence of this link in adolescents. The more sugary beverages the teens consumed, the greater their serum uric acid levels and, hence, their systolic blood pressure.
"The fact that this paper addresses this mechanism in humans rather than just rats is extremely important," Lustig said.
But he cautioned that uric acid is likely not the only cause of the metabolic syndrome.
"I absolutely think that uric acid is the main driver of hypertension" with regard to fructose consumption, Lustig said. "But it may not be the driver of the visceral adiposity, the dyslipidemia," and other components of the metabolic syndrome.
Still, Johnson and colleagues wanted to know whether allopurinol, which is primarily used to treat gout, could combat the blood-pressure-increasing effects of a high-fructose diet.
So they evaluated 74 adult men who were put on a diet that included 200 grams of fructose a day, on top of their regular diet (typically, people in the U.S. consume about 50 to 70 grams of fructose per day).
Half of the men were randomized to allopurinol.
After two weeks, those who weren't on the drug had a 6 mm Hg-increase in systolic blood pressure and a 3 mm Hg-increase in diastolic pressure (P<0.004 and P<0.007, respectively).
On the other hand, those on allopurinol had no increase in diastolic pressure and a nonsignificant 1 mm Hg-increase in systolic pressure, Johnson said.
The drug also lowered serum uric acid levels compared with controls (P<0.0001).
In addition, markers of the metabolic syndrome increased among men eating lots of fructose but not taking allopurinol. Incidence of the disease jumped from 19% at baseline to 44% after two weeks, Johnson said.
For this group, mean fasting triglycerides increased by about 55 mg/dL while HDL cholesterol fell by about 2.5 mg/dL (P<0.002 and P<0.001, respectively).
Fasting insulin and HOMA scores (which quantify insulin resistance and beta-cell function) increased, but plasma glucose didn't change, the researchers said.
For those on allopurinol, Johnson said there was a lowering of LDL cholesterol compared with controls. But there was no reduction in HOMA scores or triglyceride levels.
"I think there's more to it than just uric acid," Lustig said. "Uric acid is responsible for hypertension, but dyslipidemia is due to other effects in the liver on lipid pathways. There are other ways fructose induces these problems."
Fructose is one of the sweetest naturally occurring sugars and is frequently found in fruits, some vegetables, honey, and some other plants. What makes it different from other sugars is how the body treats it.
Lustig noted that fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, unlike glucose, which can be used by all organs of the body.
In the liver, fructose is phosphorylated, which depletes phosphate levels in the liver and increases uric acid production, he added.
"The liver is under greater substrate pressure with fructose than with glucose, which means you'll gen[erate] more uric acid for the same number of calories," Lustig said.
Once in the bloodstream, uric acid inhibits endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), thus reducing the production of the nitric oxide essential for keeping the vessels flexible. In turn, that leads to high blood pressure, Lustig said.
Either way, Johnson added, the take-home message is that "we should probably reduce our intake of added sugars, and that the benefits may be greater than simple weight loss."
Raw Food Diet
| ||In a study of 32 patients whose diets were changed to include 62% of calories from raw foods, their mean diastolic pressure reduction was 17mm Hg. This study was conducted over a period of 6 months. Of these patients, 28 were also overweight. [South Med J 1985 Jul;78(7): pp.841-4]|
Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption
| ||Fruit and vegetable consumption (minimum of five portions daily) was associated with modest reductions of systolic and diastolic blood pressures in a controlled study of 690 healthy people ages 25-64. [Lancet May 28, 2002]|
Soy Isoflavones (genistein, daidzein)
| ||Soy milk consumption (about 2 cups twice per day) reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in a double-blind study of 40 men and women with mild to moderate hypertension, when compared to cow's milk. [J Nutr 2002;132(7): pp.1900-1902] The average systolic blood pressure was reduced 18.4mm Hg, diastolic 15.9mm Hg and mean blood pressure 16.7mm Hg.|
The mechanism of action may be independent of isoflavone content, as another study showed no blood pressure lowering benefits with the use of isoflavones alone.
| ||Fasting is a way to correct high blood pressure without drugs. Fasting will normalize blood pressure in the vast majority of cases; the blood pressure will remain low after the fast if a person follows a health-supporting diet and lifestyle.|
High/Increased Fiber Diet
| ||A study suggests that oatmeal can improve blood pressure and reduce drug costs for 60 million hypertensive Americans. The study found that 73% of participants, each of whom who ate oat cereal daily for 12 weeks, were able to reduce or eliminate their need for blood-pressure medication. Consumption of high-fiber cereals is an easy and simple way for a person|
to increase total and soluble fiber intakes, thus helping to reach the dietary fiber goal of 25-30gm per day. [Preventive Medicine in Managed Care; March 1, 2002]
Low Fat Diet
| ||The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods and reduced in total and saturated fat . It also is reduced in red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing drinks. It is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein.|
One month of a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and reduced sodium intake were each associated with reduced blood pressure in untreated hypertension (systolic blood pressure of 120-160 mm and diastolic blood pressure of 80-95 mm. DASH diet plus reduced sodium intake produced the greatest reductions in blood pressure. [Ann Intern Med 2001;135(12): pp.1019-1028]
Sugars Avoidance / Reduction
Cabbage Family Vegetables
| ||Researchers put broccoli sprouts to the test and found that they contain high levels of glucoraphanin, also known as sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). In addition to being a cancer preventative, SGS boosts production of Phase 2 enzymes, which are part of the body's antioxidant system. This extra boost lowers blood pressure and the body's inflammatory response, leading to better cardiovascular health overall. Just 5 grams of broccoli sprouts contain concentrations of SGS equal to that found in 150 grams of mature broccoli.|
| ||An increased risk of developing hypertension was associated with drinking five or more cups of coffee per day in a large study of former white male medical students followed for an average of 33 years. [Arch Intern Med 2002;162(6): pp.657-662]|
| ||The relationship between dietary fats and blood pressure is not definitively answered. However, evidence suggests that the multiple components of the Mediterranean diet, i.e. low saturated fatty acids (SFAs), high monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), and carbohydrate, fiber, and micronutrient content have favorable blood pressure effects, and therefore that this diet is desirable for health. Dietary MUFAs may have a greater protective effect than initially realized.|
In 207 men without hypertension, 175 men with hypertension, 406 women without hypertension and 232 women with hypertension, the risk of hypertension was positively and independently associated with the intake of cooking oil polar compounds (read polyunsaturated oils), and inversely related to blood levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (read primarily olive oil). [Am JClin Nutr. 2003;78: pp.1092-1097]
Examples of foods high in MUFA are olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanuts, peanut oil, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, and avocados.
| ||While bromelain is considered to have very low toxicity, caution is advised when treating individuals with hypertension. One report has indicated that those with pre-existing hypertension might experience tachycardia following high doses of bromelain. [Hawaii Med J 1978;37: pp.143-146]|
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||While hypertension may be controlled naturally, if you have very elevated pressure and are having trouble getting it down, prescription drug use may be necessary. When additional factors in your live change down the road, you can try tapering off your medication to see if it is still needed. It is best to do this with your doctor's help. The dangers of untreated hypertension are too great to ignore.|
Hypertension is caused by a variety of factors, and different classes of drugs are used to treat these different factors. The main classes of hypertension drugs and the added benefits they can provide are listed below.
Diuretics (furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, others). Commonly referred to as water pills, diuretics reduce the amount of fluid in your body. They cause your kidneys to excrete more sodium in your urine than they would normally. The sodium takes with it water from your blood. This means there's a smaller volume of blood pushing through your arteries and, consequently, less pressure on your artery walls.
Beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, others). Beta blockers primarily work by blocking the effects of certain adrenaline-related chemicals in your body, causing your heart to beat more slowly and less forcefully.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (benazepril, enalapril, lisinopril, others). ACE inhibitors help relax your blood vessels by blocking the formation of a natural chemical inside your body that narrows blood vessels.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB) (candesartan, irbesartan, losartan, others). ARBs act in a manner similar to ACE inhibitors, but they block the action of the chemical instead of the formation of the chemical.
Calcium channel blockers (calcium antagonists) (amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil, others). These medications help relax blood vessel muscles. Some slow your heart rate.
Each of these classes may have additional benefits which will help your doctor select the one that is the most appropriate for you.
| ||GHB should be avoided in cases of severe hypertension.|
| ||One device that could be considered using feedback methods has been proven to lower blood pressure through changing breathing habits. Information about RESPeRATE can be found here.|
RESPeRATE is the first and only non-drug medical device clinically proven to lower high blood pressure with no side effects. It provides you with a new option for lowering blood pressure, and can be safely used along with your current medication(s) and lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise.
Plant Sterols / Sterolins (Phytosterols)
| ||Postmenopausal women with hypertension who walked 3km per day experienced an 11 point drop in systolic blood pressure over 6 months. [Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;33(11): pp.1825-1831]|
| ||Researchers discovered that if men take melatonin before bedtime, their blood pressure may decrease as much as if they were taking a antihypertensive drug. The participants in the study took 2.5mg of melatonin for a three week period. As expected, melatonin also increased their quality and quantity of sleep. [Hypertension. 2004 Feb;43(2): pp.192-7]|
The authors of this study caution that melatonin should not be used for treating hypertension based on this single trial, and that more studies are required.
Test Uric Acid Levels
| ||New research shows that higher levels of uric acid are strongly associated with high blood pressure in blacks, suggesting that a simple blood test could predict risk and that treatments to lower uric acid may be a novel way to reduce hypertension-related complications in this population.|
Uric acid levels are influenced by dietary factors, such as high levels of protein, and by the breakdown of the body's cells. Most uric acid is eliminated in urine. However, if excess uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys cannot remove enough of it, levels build up in the blood.
Very high levels of uric acid cause gout, but recent animal and human studies suggest that modest elevations of uric acid are one cause of hypertension. Currently, studies are under way to evaluate whether lowering uric acid prevents hypertension.
"If these studies show that lowering uric acid is an effective treatment, our research suggests that it may be especially appropriate for blacks," said Mellen.
Uric acid can be lowered by medications such as allopurinol and newer agents under development. [Hypertension Nov 7, 2006]
Salt Intake Reduction
| ||If you have high blood pressure, reducing the level of salt in your diet may reduce your blood pressure. In some people with mild high blood pressure this could free them from blood-pressure-lowering medications entirely. In people with marked high blood pressure, it should mean that a reduction in medications is possible. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, particularly diuretics, let your doctor know that you are reducing your salt intake.|
Salt restriction is recommended for those individuals with hypertension who are "salt-sensitive" or are prone to retaining sodium, gaining weight, and developing a rise in blood pressure as a result of a high-salt diet. Those who are "salt-resistant", on the other hand, do not experience change in weight or blood pressure on either high- or low-salt diets. For the salt-sensitive population, extreme amounts of salt restriction are not needed for improvement of blood pressure. Several studies have shown that diets containing 1600 to 2300mg of sodium per day are associated with average reductions in systolic pressure of -9 to -15mm Hg and in diastolic pressure of -7 to -16mm Hg in salt-sensitive individuals. Thus, salt restriction in this range is recommended in the dietary management of most individuals with hypertension.
However, for those who like salt, it was found in a review of many studies, that the degree of reduction in sodium intake and change in blood pressure were NOT related. This review included a total of 2,326 normotensive people, 387 with untreated hypertension and 801 being treated for hypertension [BMJ 2002;325(7365): pp.628-632]. So you may not have to limit salt strictly, but you will need to experiment to find out if, and to what degree, you are sensitive.
| ||The blood pressure lowering effect of supplemental potassium may be greater in patients receiving a high-salt diet. The amount of dietary potassium required to achieve this effect is, however, not easily obtained.|
| ||In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, it was demonstrated that oral magnesium resulted in a significant dose-dependent reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. A mean reduction of 6mm Hg in diastolic pressure in patients with hypertension results in approximately 10% lower risk of coronary artery disease, and a 40% reduction in risk of strokes.|
When magnesium levels are low, more calcium flows into the vascular muscle cells, which contracts them - leading to tighter vessels and higher blood pressure. Adequate magnesium levels prevent this.
Increased Salt Consumption
| ||Eighty-three hypertensive patients were treated with either coenzyme Q10 (60mg bid with 150IU of vitamin E) or placebo with vitamin E. The coQ10 treated group experienced an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of 17.8mm without any significant side effects. [S Med J, November 2001;94(l]): pp.1112-1117]|
| ||A doctor Arabinda Das, MD reported using acupuncture points LIV-3, SP-9 and GB-34 bilaterally. After 2-3 visits he sutured the points. He reported immediate and lasting normalization of pressure in 80% of cases.[Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Aug/Sept 2002; p.66]|
A separate study suggests 12 treatments over a course of 6 weeks.
It was found that acupuncture at the Heart otoacupoint produced marked immediate depressor effects, with a short-term effective rate of 100% and long-term effective rate of 63%. [Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1992 Jun, 12(2): pp.133-6 ]
Calming / Stretching Exercises
| ||The relaxation and exercise components of yoga have a major role to play in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure. A combination of biofeedback and yogic breathing and relaxation techniques has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce the need for high blood pressure medication. In 20 patients with high blood pressure who practiced biofeedback and yoga techniques, 5 were able to stop their blood pressure medication completely, 5 were able to reduce significantly the amount of medication they were taking, and another 4 experienced lower blood pressure at the end of the 3 month study.|
| ||Researchers reported that consuming dark chocolate and cocoa improves the function of blood vessels. In one study, consumption of cocoa in healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 77, resulted in significantly improved vascular responsiveness. The measure the researchers used looked at the "stiffness" of blood vessels. In patients whose blood vessels that are "stiff," hypertension is common. The beneficial effect was most pronounced in patients over 50 years of age and was due to the high flavonoid (polyphenol) content of dark chocolate.|
In a second study, after volunteers ate 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of dark chocolate vascular responsiveness was again significantly improved. Investigators postulate that it is the flavonoids in chocolate that causes vascular improvement. Dark chocolate contains more flavonoids than lighter chocolate - and adding milk to chocolate (milk chocolate) inhibits the absorption of flavonoids. Any benefit gained by eating chocolate may be limited to dark chocolate (and cocoa).
These short-term studies demonstrated an immediate benefit, but it remains to be proven if there will be a long-term benefits. Polyphenols are a broad class of phytochemical compounds, to which flavanols belong. [JAMA, August 27, 2003]
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
| ||A 1999 study found that in systolic and diastolic hypertension as well as elevated pulse rate, blood plasma vitamin C levels were reduced.|
30 adults with adult onset diabetes experienced reduced blood pressure and improved arterial stiffness with 500mg of vitamin C per day. [Hypertension 2002;40(6): pp.804-9]
However, vitamin C at 50mg or 500mg had no effect on blood pressure in a controlled study of 439 Japanese patients. These patients had atrophic gastritis. [Hypertension 2002;40(6): pp.797-803]