Blood Pressure Regulators

There are natural ways to keep hypertension,
a major cardiovascular risk factor, in check


February 2012


It is called “the silent killer” for a good reason. High blood pressure (hypertension) often damages artery walls without symptoms until something drastic—such as a heart attack or stroke—occurs.

That’s why keeping your pressure at normal levels, even if you feel fine, is crucial to maintaining your health. One recent study found that treating prehypertension, a reading that falls between 120 to 139 mg/Hg systolic (the top number) and 80 to 89 diastolic, can reduce stroke risk by 22%. Researchers have also discovered that controlling pressure in middle age can reduce your lifetime risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

As with other cardiac risk factors, proper blood pressure control starts with healthy diet, adequate exercise and regular stress relief. In addition, natural remedies exist that can help keep your pressure at normal levels.

Nutrient/Herb What It Is How It Helps Arterial Health
Arginine An amino acid (protein building block) known to facilitate wound healing and hormone function Helps the cells that line blood vessels create nitric oxide, which helps improve blood flow by dilating vessel walls; may improve exercise tolerance among people with angina; also appears to inhibit plaque buildup within arteries
Bilberry
Vaccinium myrtillus, a relative of the blueberry best known for supporting healthy vision Contains anthocyanins, which help facilitate vascular relaxation and may inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a substance that constricts blood vessels
Coleus
Coleus forskohlii, in the same family as ornamental coleus; often used to support weight loss Contains forskolin, which helps to lower blood pressure and relax muscles; also appears to help increase the force of cardiac contractions, which improves heart function
CoQ10
A vitamin-like compound found throughout the body but concentrated in heart muscle cells Helps lower blood pressure (may be especially helpful in people who have diabetes); has contributed to improved cardiac function in people with congestive heart failure
Garlic
Allium sativum, used for centuries as a kitchen herb and medicinal remedy Acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect blood vessel walls from free radical attack, and may help fight inflammation, a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease; also helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Hawthorn
Members of the Crataegus family, found throughout western Asia, North America and Europe Has lowered both systolic and diastolic readings in studies and may improve outcomes after heart attack or stroke; used for centuries in traditional medicine as a cardiac tonic
Magnesium A mineral that helps maintain normal muscle, nerve and immune function, and helps keep bones healthy Helps relax the muscles that control blood vessel dilation, allowing blood to flow more freely; also helps coordinate heart muscle activity and prevent spasms of the coronary arteries
Nattokinase An enzyme derived from natto, a Japanese fermented soyfood Has helped reduce blood pressure in studies; may also help keep blood from becoming too thick and clot-prone
Niacin A member of the B-complex of vitamins (vitamin B3) best known for its ability to lower cholesterol levels Supports blood vessel dilation and may fight vascular inflammation; in addition to lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels has shown an ability to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol
Potassium A mineral that helps regulate water balance and neuromuscular function Helps maintain normal pressure through its role as an electrolyte; studies have found an association between increased potassium intake and reduced stroke risk
Reishi Ganoderma lucidum, a mushroom native to China that has shown anti- cancer and anti-microbial properties May help keep smooth muscle cells, the kind found in blood vessel walls, from becoming overly prolific; also helps fight inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood stickiness
Resveratrol Best known as the healthful component in red wine; Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) contains greater amounts Improves function of the blood vessel lining and helps protect lining cells against damage; may support the action of nitric oxide on vessel walls; also appears to have anti-aging properties

NOTE: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner for help in designing
a supplementation program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
Do not stop taking prescription medications of any kind without your practitioner’s assistance.

 

 

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