4 Supplements to Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a silent killer. You can have high blood pressure without noticing because this disease doesn’t make you feel bad or slow you down. But high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
I’m going to recommend four nutrients that, along with diet, exercise, and stress reduction, can lower your blood pressure naturally, without a prescription.
If you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure, please do not stop suddenly. Talk with your physician about a plan to control your blood pressure with lifestyle changes instead of medication.
Blood Pressure 101
A number of factors, including age and genetics, affect blood pressure. While we can’t change our birth dates or family histories, other blood pressure risk factors come from our lifestyles, including:
- Excess weight
- High levels of stress
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
- Drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol
Heart disease and diabetes are also risk factors.
But controlling your blood pressure isn’t just about keeping your numbers in line—it can save your life. And the longer you leave your high blood pressure unchecked the more damage you can do.
Since high blood pressure has few symptoms, my patients are often surprised to hear they have a problem. Unfortunately, I can’t show a patient that their hearts are working too hard or that their arteries have “hardened” from plaque deposits. Unlike other heart conditions, you’re unlikely to experience fatigue, shortness of breath, or pain. But people with high blood pressure live five fewer years than those with normal blood pressure!
Blood Pressure Guidelines
|Blood Pressure Condition||Blood Pressure Reading|
|Low Blood Pressure (hypotension)||<60/<90|
|High Blood Pressure (hypertension)||>140/>90|
Occasional spikes in blood pressure — ironically, getting your blood pressure checked by a doctor can cause such a spike! — aren’t true hypertension. A diagnosis of high blood pressure involves consistently high readings. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting accurate readings at the doctor’s office, or if you just don’t know what your blood pressure is, many pharmacies now offer screenings or have blood pressure devices you can use yourself.
Now, let’s dig into the four supplements I tell my patients to try to naturally lower their blood pressure.
In addition to reducing your risk factors (such as excess weight, smoking, stress, and poor diet), here’s a simple plan that has improved blood pressure for many of my patients: eating more fruits and vegetables. Why? Because these foods are excellent sources of the mineral potassium, a key element in counterbalancing sodium’s effect of raising your blood pressure.
A few examples of potassium-rich produce include:
- orange juice
- dried apricots
- beans of any type
- dark green leafy vegetables
This supplement derived from the Japanese fermented food natto is a powerful blood thinner. It also prevents unhealthy clotting and supports flexible blood vessels. Take 50 mg a day of this key nutrient.
Magnesium is a first line protector for your cardiac system. Specifically, it regulates enzymes which relax blood vessels and control the action of your heart muscle. Magnesium deficiency cannot be tested for with a conventional blood test, as the magnesium in your body is largely bound within your bones and cells. Take 350 to 500 mg per day.
4. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 reduces the homocysteine levels in your body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can accumulate in the bloodstream. High levels of homocysteine can irritate and damage the tender linings of your blood vessels. The lesions created by this damage allow clusters of cholesterol plaque to collect in blood vessels, where they can continue to grow larger, blocking blood flow, or break lose and enter the blood stream, where they can cause a stroke or heart attack. Take 50 mg a day.
There’s also supplements you should be taking for general heart health. I’ve talked about them before, but as a reminder:
- Coenzyme Q10: 100-200 mg daily
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 2-4 grams daily
- Vitamin D: 1500 IU daily
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reduce high blood pressure. I hope you’ll make it a point to get yours checked soon, so you can start on the lifestyle changes to keep five great years of your life.