Heart disease is primarily caused by high blood pressure. While prescription medication is often necessary, some patients are exploring natural supplements as an additional line of defense. First, you must understand the health implications of uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). Pressure in the arteries consistently higher than 130/80 mmHg damages blood vessels, and organs, and lead to:
- Stroke – Pressure damages arteries in the brain.
- Heart attack – Increased strain on the heart causes atherosclerosis.
- Kidney failure – Arteries in the kidneys become damaged.
- Vision loss – Retinal blood vessels are impacted.
- Dementia – Cognitive decline is associated with long-term hypertension.
Reducing blood pressure is crucial to avoid these debilitating complications. Lifestyle changes should be the priority, but certain supplements may provide additional support when combined with diet, exercise, and medication if needed. Although supplements for high blood pressure already have the strongest evidence, other natural remedies have early promise as well.
- Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is vital for cellular energy production. Some research indicates that CoQ10 supplements up to 300 mg per day may improve blood pressure, especially when combined with omega-3s. However, other studies show little effect. More research is still needed.
- Gingko biloba – This herb may enhance blood flow and reduce inflammation. However, the evidence is mixed. Some trials found that ginkgo extracts lowered systolic BP, while others showed no benefit. Dosages up to 240 mg are used, but more data is required.
- B-complex vitamins – Getting enough B vitamins is essential for cardiovascular health. In particular, vitamins B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12 seem to help lower homocysteine levels, a risk factor for hypertension. For high homocysteine patients, B vitamin supplementation may aid blood pressure control.
- Reishi mushrooms – Early cell studies suggest reishi mushroom extracts inhibit ACE, the enzyme that causes blood vessel constriction. It leads to vasodilation and lower blood pressure. However, human data is limited, so more research on reishi mushrooms is needed.
While the strength of evidence varies for different supplements, any natural aids that help reduce dependence on blood pressure medications are worth exploring. Being able to lower dosages of prescription drugs helps limit side effects and adverse reactions. Never stop taking blood pressure medication or alter dosages without consulting your physician first. However, discuss complementary supplementation with your doctor as part of a holistic treatment plan. Controlling hypertension often requires attacking it from multiple angles with lifestyle changes, drugs, and natural therapies working together.
When paired with a healthy lifestyle, certain natural supplements can provide additional support for controlling high blood pressure:
- Hawthorn, garlic extract, omega-3s, magnesium, and beetroot have the strongest clinical research behind their blood pressure-lowering effects.
- Effects are typically mild-to-moderate, with average reductions between 5-10 mmHg for systolic and diastolic pressure.
- Those with elevated BP near the threshold for hypertension are most likely to see major benefits from supplementation.
Discuss supplement options with your physician and do not replace prescribed medication without medical guidance. But, natural remedies may help gain additional control over your blood pressure.