Myths – Foods and Supplements that Claim to Lower Blood Pressure
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Some dieticians claim that certain supplements and vitamins are highly effective at lowering high blood pressure. However, although many are able to reduce levels of hypertension, they may not lower them sufficiently enough to make any real change. They also only tend to work on mild to moderate cases of high blood pressures, which is 140/60 for mild hypertension and 140/180 for moderate hypertension. If you suffer from extreme levels of hypertension it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor and consider using a blood pressure monitor at home to take regular readings.
Below are some of the foods and supplements often recommended for those looking to lower their blood pressure.
Do or don’t they lower high blood pressure?
Garlic has also been known help lower high blood pressure and to help with other disorders of the cardiovascular system, including atherosclerosis and high cholesterol.
A recent study carried out by the University of Adelaide, Australia, claimed that members of the study into the effects of garlic upon high blood pressure found a significant decrease in the blood pressure levels, which was as high as the decrease provided by certain medication. However, many aspects of the study were overblown and the medication the results were compared to were actually inactive placebo pills rather than more effective medication, such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers.
Coenzyme Q10 is an enzyme that provides energy for the body. You couldn’t function without CoQ10 and the body manufacturers it throughout life, although this production decreases with age. Some studies show that people who are deficient in CoQ10 are more prone to high blood pressure and also found that CoQ10 supplementation could lower blood pressure. However, the effects weren’t experiences until a month to three months of supplementation. CoQ10 lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and its antioxidant properties help the vascular system. Some of the studies carried out, also found that only a slight improvement was found. One such study asked 79 patients with managed chronic congestive heart failure to take 100mg of CoQ10 or a placebo. After the study was completed, only a mild improvement was found in the quality of life of those taking CoQ10 in comparison to those taking the placebo.
Studies have also shown that people with mild blood pressure often have a mild lowering of their blood pressure when they take vitamin C supplementation. Some biologists believe this happens because vitamin C removes lead from the body, a toxin that may be responsible for high blood pressure. However, some studies aren’t clear as to whether vitamin C effectively helps with hypertension or cardiovascular disease and so it is always best to take Vitamin C, either through food or supplements, alongside your high blood pressure medication.
Vitamin B6 is used in the conversion of food into fuel and is involved in the body’s metabolism process. Research has also shown that Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, can lower blood pressure as it reduces high levels of homocysteine in the blood, which is implicated in the cause of heart disease. In one study, 20 people with hypertension were given 5 mg a day of B6 per 2.2 pounds of their body weight for a month. After the trial their blood pressure was shown to go down. However, doctors and medical researchers are still unclear about how Vitamin B6 actually affects heart conditions and how it reduces homocysteine. It is still important to make Vitamin B6 part of your diet, but it is recommended that you only take supplements if your doctor advises you to do so. Natural sources of Vitamin B6 include chickpeas, potatoes, fish, onions and spinach.
Therefore it is recommended that you stick to whatever your doctor has prescribed, rather than taking garlic as a complete treatment method.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Many studies have shown that an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure, whether through fish oil supplements or flaxseed oil. Some physicians believe that flaxseed oil is more effective and more cost effective in reducing hypertension than fish oil. Physicians also believe that regularly eating fatty fish like salmon and herring also helps lower high blood pressure.
17 studies upon fish oil and high blood pressure came to the conclusion that 3 grams of fish oil every day could lower blood pressure. However, a quantity of fish oil that high should only become part of your diet at the recommendation of your doctor.
In conclusion, the above supplements do seem to have some effect on high blood pressure, however the actual effectiveness of such dietary changes should be seen as a supplementation rather than an overall treatment and specific, prescribed medication is still the best treatment for high blood pressure.