High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health problem that usually responds well to lifestyle changes and self-help measures.
Studies have shown that nutritional supplements can help to reduce blood pressure in some hypertensive patients, particularly when combined with a change in lifestyle. The modern diet is often lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, making supplementation even more important. Here are the 7 best nutritional supplements to beat high blood pressure.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralise cell damage caused by harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals contribute to arterial damage and the development of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. An increased daily intake of vitamin C can significantly reduce free radical damage to the blood vessels and arteries. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin C contribute to high blood pressure readings, with some studies suggesting that hypertensive patients can benefit from daily supplementation of up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C. However, taking high doses of vitamin C can irritate the digestive tract and may interact with other medications, so always check with a medical professional before supplementing more than 500 mg per day.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent cell damage. Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of vitamin E supplementation on patients with a history of heart attack. One study reported a seventy percent drop in the risk of having a further heart attack in patients taking a daily vitamin E supplement for two years. While some nutritionists advise taking between 100 and 600 mg of vitamin E every day, a daily supplement of just 70 mg can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to forty percent.
Selenium is a mineral that helps to protect against high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. Selenium has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system by reducing blood clotting. Levels of selenium in the body are generally lower in patients with hypertension and heart disease, although the reasons for this are not yet understood. Taking a daily supplement of selenium, particularly when combined with antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins C and E, can help to lower blood pressure. However, high doses of selenium can be toxic, so it is important to talk to a health professional before taking supplements.
Magnesium is a mineral that helps to control blood pressure and balance salt levels within the body. Low levels of magnesium in the body increase the risk of several health problems, including high blood pressure, angina and even heart attack. Daily magnesium supplements can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of long-term complications associated with hypertension, such as damage to the blood vessels. As magnesium and calcium work in conjunction to maintain healthy muscle contraction and a regular heartbeat, taking a daily supplement of both magnesium and calcium will produce the best results.
Research into the effects of co-enzyme Q10 on blood pressure is still ongoing, but some studies have shown that a daily supplement of 100 mg can significantly reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Co-enzyme Q10 improves the energy production of cells within the body and improves cardiovascular function. While some nutritionists prescribe doses of up to 600 mg of co-enzyme Q10 a day, taking as little as 10 mg per day could help to reduce blood pressure levels.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant that helps to enhance the beneficial effects of other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E. Alpha lipoic acid helps to counteract the effects of excess salt in the body, a common cause of high blood pressure. Alpha lipoic acid is also thought to help protect against kidney damage caused by long-term hypertension. Alpha lipoic acid is available in supplement form, often in combination with an amino acid called l-carnitine.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 fish oil contains the essential fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), which help to reduce blood stickiness and lower harmful triglyceride levels in the body. Essential fatty acids also help to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels and arteries, increasing blood flow around the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fish oil supplements are safe for most people, particularly when taking less than 500 mg per day. However, some fish oil supplements can have an adverse affect on people with diabetes.
Nutritional supplements can be highly effective in the reduction and prevention of high blood pressure, particularly when combined with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight and taking more exercise. However, some nutritional supplements can interact with prescription medications or have an adverse affect on those suffering from particular medical conditions, so it is important to consult a medical professional before taking any supplements.