The heart is responsible for supplying the organs and tissues of the body with blood. To do so, it exerts pressure by contracting and pumping the blood through its chambers and into the blood vessels. The heartbeat is the contraction of the heart muscle as it forces blood out through the blood vessels.
The force of the heartbeat is expressed as systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is when the heart is contracting and pumping blood whereas the diastolic blood pressure is when the muscle is relaxing and refilling with blood ready for the next beat.
Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and it is an important measure of health. Blood pressure measures can pick up abnormalities, which can be a sign of an underlying ailment. However, blood pressure will fluctuate for a number of normal reasons such as when waking up or during exercise.
High blood pressure is called hypertension and this is classified if the systolic value is over 140 mmHg and the diastolic is over 90 mmHg. If blood pressure remains high it can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Hypertension can put severe strain on the heart and will result in serious damage to the blood vessels.
Hypertension is a serious medical condition that can lead to a number of different diseases, including renal disease (kidneys), cerebrovascular accident (stroke), or a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Blood Vessels and Blood Pressure
Vasodilation and vasoconstriction describe how the blood vessels naturally control blood pressure as well as a number of other important health benefits.
Vasodilation is when the smooth muscles in the blood vessel wall relax and it widens (reduces vascular resistance) whereas vasoconstriction is when the smooth muscles in the blood vessel walls constrict and it becomes narrower (increases vascular resistance).
Vasodilation is important for lowering blood pressure as well as an important process in eliminating excess body heat. Vasoconstriction on the other hand is important for raising blood pressure as well as retaining heat in cold climates.
Nitric oxide is a compound produced in the body that plays a major role in regulating blood pressure. The activity of nitric oxide is to dilate arterial blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure.
Impairment in the process nitric oxide synthesis is a component of hypertension and clinical studies suggest that repairing the mechanisms that produce nitric oxide has implications for the treatment of hypertension.
How to measure blood pressure?
It is important to measure blood pressure more than once due to normal fluctuations that can occur. For example, blood pressure is sensitive to temperature, stress, pain, physical exertion and many types of medication.
Ideally, it is better to measure blood pressure in both arms when the subject is sitting down and feeling relaxed. Measurements should also begin after a few minutes of quiet time sitting down to ensure that blood pressure is stable.
What causes high blood pressure?
For the majority of cases, the cause of hypertension cannot be determined. This is known as essential hypertension. It is linked to risk factors such as family history or susceptibility based on age, ethnicity or sex.
Essential hypertension is also closely associated with the following risk factors:
- High sodium (salt) intake
- High alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Old age
- Family history
- Chronic kidney disease
Secondary hypertension is where there is a known condition underlying the high blood pressure. Kidney disease is the most common cause but cancer of the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys, can cause hormones to be secreted that also increase blood pressure.
Health benefits of blood pressure supplements
To help treat your blood pressure there are a number of things a person can do:
- Eat a healthy and varied diet
- Include more dietary fibre
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get enough exercise
- Don’t smoke
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Natural supplements that can help lower blood pressure
Blood pressure supplements are a natural remedy that can be used to treat or reduce the symptoms of high blood pressure. As alternatives to medication, supplements are a natural option that could safely and effectively lower blood pressure.
Magnesium is an important element that is involved in many key processes that are designed to keep the human body functioning correctly. Without magnesium, serious health consequences can occur and these include extreme weakness, seizures, poor memory and cardiac arrhythmias (heart palpitations).
Magnesium is important for blood pressure because it acts as a calcium agonist on smooth muscle tone and therefore causes blood vessels to expand (vasodilation). There is already an established relationship between low magnesium levels causing contraction of blood vessels and raising blood pressure.
Studies show that magnesium supplementation may significantly decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In a meta-analysis of seven clinical studies involving 135 hypertensive patients, magnesium supplementation had a clinically significant effect.
Magnesium health benefits include:
- Reduction in diastolic and systolic blood pressure
- May help insulin sensitivity and type II diabetes
- Improves blood vessel health and prevents blood vessel dysfunction
- Improves exercise-induced muscle blood volume
Arginine is an amino acid that is the principle substrate of nitric oxide synthesis. Nitric oxide plays a major role in regulating blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. Patients with disrupted nitric oxide synthesis have a blunted arterial vasodilatory response resulting in arterial stiffness and hypertension.
Arginine is therefore involved in lowering blood pressure with numerous studies showing that acute or chronic arginine supplementation has a beneficial role by reducing systemic blood pressure in cases of hypertension.
Arginine supplements have many health benefits in relation to enhancing blood vessel dilation and reducing blood pressure.
- Reduces blood pressure
- May help modulate insulin sensitivity
- May lower plasma glucose levels in diabetics
- Improves blood flow during exercise
- Enhances muscle strength during resistance training
The pomegranate fruit (Punica granatum L.) has been used for thousands of years by many religions as a sacred symbol and as a treatment for a variety of diseases. In particular, pomegranate was used to help treat tapeworm and other parasitic infections.
More recently, studies into the pomegranate fruit show it to be enriched in antioxidants as well as other simple organic components that have therapeutic uses. In particular, pomegranate extracts have been observed to have antihypertensive, antiatherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pomegranate is often used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels with clinical evidence suggesting that it can prevent and treat high blood pressure. The cardioprotective benefits of pomegranate fruit also include significantly reducing the chance of developing atherosclerotic lesions in the walls of blood vessels.
- Reduces systolic blood pressure
- Helps prevent cardiovascular disease
- Potent anti-oxidant properties
- Anti-atherosclerotic abilities
4. Maqui Berry
Maqui berries (Aristotella chilensis) are found in Chile and have been used by the natives for centuries as a traditional remedy for all types of fevers. Research has shown that the Maqui berries are polyphenol-rich with high anti-oxidant capacity that can exert significant heatlh-promoting effects.
The polyphenol compounds are called anthocyanins and these are responsible for many of the floral colors common in fruits. Anthocyanins have been clinically shown to reduce oxidative stress and therefore this may help relieve symptoms in disorders such as cardiovascular disease.
Epidemiological studies have shown, that population,s that consume more anthocyanins have a significantly reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It is suggested, that these compounds, which are highly enriched in maqui berries, can influence nitric oxide synthesis and thereby exhibit antihypertensive properties.
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improvse blood flow
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Protecst blood vessels from atherosclerosis
- Potent anti-oxidant properties
- Supports the immune system
- Helps healthy ageing
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) are a group of bioflavonoids that have potent antioxidant properties. OPCs are found in many natural extracts, including grape seed, red wine, pine bark and green tea.
The bioflavanoid compounds in OPC help the body defend against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are the byproducts of cellular reactions and are notoriously reactive and toxic. They are unstable radicals that are implicated in various degenerative diseases.
Hypertension is a chronic vascular disease that is pathologically associated with oxidative stress. OPC may increase oxidative resistance as they are a naturally enriched source of antioxidants such as proanthocyanidin, which can scavenge free radicals thus inhibiting oxidative stress.
OPC supplements have also been shown to be a natural regulator of nitric oxide synthesis. The active components in OPC can help improve the production of NO in blood vessels and thereby promote vascular health and reduce the risk of developing hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Help regulate blood pressure
- Reduce arterial plaque formation
- Inhibis disease-associated blood clotting
Ubiquinol is more commonly known as coenzyme Q10 and is found in all organs and tissues of the body but is enriched in the heart. It is a potent antioxidant and is a necessary and vital co-enzyme needed to maintain healthy cellular energy production.
With age, ubiquinol levels decrease and this decrease is associated with unhealthy ageing and cardiovascular disease. Studies show that ubiquinol deficiencies are associated with hypertension and heart failure.
At present, supplementation with ubiqionol has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with type II diabetes. In these studies, blood sugar control was also improved.
In healthy individuals, ubiquinol supplementation can lower the systolic and diastolic pressure without any significant side effects either on its own or in conjunction with other hypertensive medication.
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Significantly lowers blood pressure
- Safe at high doses
7. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K complex consists of two fat-soluble compounds known as vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found enriched in leafy green vegetables whereas Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is found enriched in dairy products, eggs and meat.
Vitamin K is a co-factor for an enzyme that is critical in cellular processes such as protein biosynthesis. Vitamin K acts as a co-factor, that helps catalyze the synthesis of proteins that are involved in blood coagulation, bone formation, and soft tissue calcification.
Vitamin K2 has a protective effect on the heart and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of CVD. There is a close relationship between vitamin K2 levels and its ability to inhibit calcification of blood vessels. This process of vascular calcification is associated with high arterial blood pressure and heart disease.
Vitamin K2 is also particularly helpful at protecting the heart through its ability to strengthen bones. Vitamin K2 assists in maintaining calcium levels in the bone and through this, vitamin K 2 ensures that the calcium is kept in the bones and not in the arteries where it calcifies and hardens the blood vessel walls.
Vitamin K2 health benefits include:
- Protects the walls of the blood vessels
- Supports healthy heart
- Improves stability and elasticity of blood vessels
- Strengthens bones
Who should use supplements to prevent or treat high blood pressure?
Blood pressure supplements can naturally benefit your health by protecting the heart and blood vessels from cardiovascular disease.
Blood pressure supplements are beneficial for:
- People suffering from hypertension
- People who have risk factors for hypertension and/or cardiovascular disease Type II diabetics
- Businessmen and women who have stressful work conditions
Blood Pressure Supplement Side Effects and Risks
Blood pressure supplements are safe and non-toxic with no side effects when taken at the recommended dosages. However, lowering blood pressure is not advised if you already have low blood pressure.
Pomegranate may cause an allergic reaction in people with plant allergies.
Blood Pressure Supplement Interactions
Vitamin K2 supplementation which contain more than 45 mcg Vitamin K2 may negatively interact with anticoagulant treatments such as warfarin. Therefore, this parameter should be watched regulary.
Blood Pressure Supplement Combinations
- Increasing magnesium and potassium intake, whilst reducing sodium intake is more effective in reducing blood pressure
- Combine ubiquinol with magnesium, vitamin K2 and OPC extract for additional support of the heart and blood vessels
Why take blood pressure supplements?
Blood pressure supplements can naturally assist in protecting the heart and arteries from cardiovascular diseases.
- Prevent hypertension
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Reduce blood pressure
- Provide the heart and blood vessels with essential nutrients