I will update this page as more information becomes available. If you have high blood pressure, please discuss with your physician before changing your medicines or adding supplements, especially if you have unstable or severe high blood pressure.
Fish Oils are useful for thinning the blood and improving circulation and it is now known that those whose diets are high in fish oils have a lower risk for high blood pressure. It would make sense that supplementing with one to five fish oil capsules a day could perhaps lower blood pressure, but we need more studies to confirm early findings.
Antioxidants may be helpful for long term health maintenance of arteries, but not necessarily to lower blood pressure in the short term. Doses can be kept low, such as vitamin C less than 300 mg a day, and natural vitamin E less than 200 units a few days a week. Take a natural vitamin E complex, rather than the synthetic dl-tocopherol.
Lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant in daily dosage of 10 to 50 mg or 50 mg once or twice a week.
Arjuna is an Ayurvedic herb that has promising effects in blood vessel dilation.
Quercetin is known as a very strong blood vessel dilator. Chronic oral quercetin exerts antihypertensive effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats.
Genistein is a type of flavonoid found mostly in soy. Genistein helps produce more nitric oxide, a powerful chemical in the blood stream that helps dilate blood vessels. Genistein is available as a supplement.
B vitamin and coenzyme complex — B6, folate, and B12 are crucial for the health of arteries and to lower homocysteine, an amino acid-like compound in the blood stream that can be toxic in high doses.
CoQ10 could be helpful in dosages of 20 to 50 mg. The coq10 study is discussed below.
Lycopene could be helpful
Calcium mineral and Magnesium are helpful in supporting healthy blood pressure.
Hawthorn extract may be helpful, see study below.
Ginkgo low dose, not more than 40 mg, in the morning, one option is to break a 40 mg or 60 mg tablet in half or use half a capsule
Dark, but not white, chocolate has polyphenols that may lower High blood pressure. You may consider taking a Cacao supplement to get the benefits of chocolate without the sugar and fat.
Melatonin may lower blood pressure overnight.
Drink hibiscus tea to lower high blood pressure.
Low dose baby aspirin
It has been known for decades that heart attacks and strokes occur most frequently in the early-morning hours. Blood pressure undergoes a 24-hour, or circadian, rhythm. This rise in blood pressure is amplified in patients with high blood pressure. The molecular clock is a complex set of genes located in a discrete brain area that tightly regulate circadian rhythms in behavior, temperature, and metabolism. Researchers now appreciate that this "master clock" also interacts with clocks in almost all types of tissues. Using mice in which the function of major clock genes have been disrupted, investigators found distinct and complimentary effects on blood pressure and its circadian variation. What's more, genes relevant to the production and breakdown of catecholamines – the hormones that equip mammals for "fight and flight" behavior were under the control of the clock. Catecholamines – norepinephrine and epinephrine – undergo a daily variation, but also rise in response to stress. Using a mouse model in which catecholamines and blood pressure were made to surge, researchers found that the rise in both blood pressure and catecholamines depended on the time of the stress. The greatest response occurred at a time that would correspond to the early morning hours in humans. Deletion of a core clock gene completely abolished both the catecholamine and blood pressure response to stress, irrespective of when the stress was applied during the daily clock cycle. This effect was specific to the catecholamines, as the stress response of another hormone – a steroid – was unaltered.
Taking a pill containing melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates sleep, at bedtime may enhance the drop in blood pressure that occurs at night, perhaps protecting the heart from damage. The normal decline in blood pressure at night may be related to the rise of melatonin levels in the body. Therefore, treatment with melatonin might be expected to lower blood pressure further. To evaluate the effect of melatonin on blood pressure changes in women, Italian researchers recruited nine healthy women and nine women who were being successfully treated with drug therapy for high blood pressure. For three weeks, the women were randomly assigned to pills containing melatonin or inactive "placebo." After the three weeks, the women crossed over to the alternate treatment. Melatonin treatment decreased nighttime blood pressure. As a result, the day-night blood pressure difference was more pronounced during melatonin use. Melatonin had no effect on daytime blood pressure or on heart rate. American Journal of Hypertension, December 2005.
Reduction of High Blood Pressure from Gastric Surgery
Gastric surgery to treat obese patients is associated with long-term reductions in blood pressure, which are most pronounced in patients who have untreated high blood pressure before surgery. Blood pressure improves when very obese individuals lose weight after surgery.
Medications and adverse effects, risks
Certain blood pressure medications may be linked to a modestly increased risk of cancer. The drugs in question are called angiotensin-receptor blockers or ARBs. ARBs block the chemical angiotensin II from having any effect on the heart and blood vessels, thus preventing blood pressure from going up. These drugs are commonly prescribed to patients with high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney disease.
High blood pressure Research studies
Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential High blood pressure.
Phytother Res. 2002 Feb;16(1):48-54.
This pilot study was aimed at investigating the High blood pressure lowering potential of hawthorn extract and magnesium dietary supplements individually and in combination, compared with a placebo. Thirty-six subjects with mild High blood pressure completed the study. At baseline, anthropometric and dietary assessment, as well as blood pressure measurements were taken at rest, after exercise and after a computer 'stress' test. Volunteers were then randomly assigned to a daily supplement for 10 weeks of either: (a) 600 mg Mg, (b) 500 mg hawthorn extract, (c) a combination of (a) and (b), (d) placebo. Measurements were repeated at 5 and 10 weeks of intervention. There was a decline in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in all treatment groups, including placebo, but ANOVA provided no evidence of difference between treatments. However, factorial contrast analysis in ANOVA showed a promising reduction (p = 0.081) in the resting diastolic blood pressure at week 10 in the 19 High blood pressure subjects who were assigned to the hawthorn extract, compared with the other groups. Furthermore, a trend towards a reduction in anxiety (p = 0.094) was also observed in those taking hawthorn compared with the other groups. These findings warrant further study, particularly in view of the low dose of hawthorn extract used.
Researchers in Israel have found that a daily dose of tomato extract helped lower blood pressure among 31 men and women with mild hypertension. On average, their systolic pressure -- the top number in a blood-pressure reading -- dropped 10 points, while their diastolic pressure, or bottom number, dipped four points. The supplement, sold as Lyc-O-Mato, contains several plant compounds found in tomatoes. Among them is lycopene. Antioxidants, such as lycopene and vitamins C and E, help neutralize oxygen free radicals -- molecules that are a natural byproduct of metabolism -- can damage body cells over time. This "oxidative stress" is thought to contribute to a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease. The study included adults ages 30 to 70 with stage 1 hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure between 140 and 159 mm Hg, and a diastolic pressure between 90 and 99 mm Hg. Blood pressure is considered normal when it is below 120/80; anything between that and 140/90 is considered "prehypertension." Study participants spent 4 weeks taking a placebo, or inactive, capsule each day, after which they were given a tomato extract capsule every day for 8 weeks. Finally, they spent another 4 weeks on placebo capsules. LycoRed-Natural Products Industries, the maker of Lyc-O-Mato, supplied the extract. During the treatment period, the group's average systolic blood pressure fell from 144 to 134 mm Hg, while their diastolic pressure dipped from 87 to 83 mm Hg. Eating a diet rich in tomato products and other antioxidant-containing fruits and vegetables is certainly a smart move. But, she added, a person would need to down about four tomatoes to get the nutrients in one tomato extract capsule. SOURCE: American Heart Journal, January 2006.
Higher intake of folic acid is associated with a decreased risk of developing High blood pressure, particularly among younger women.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in isolated systolic High blood pressure.
South Med J. 2001 Nov;94(11):1112-7.
Increasing numbers of the adult population are using alternative or complementary health resources in the treatment of chronic medical conditions. Systemic High blood pressure affects more than 50 million adults and is one of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This study evaluates the antihypertensive effectiveness of oral coenzyme Q10 (CoQ), an over-the-counter nutritional supplement, in a cohort of 46 men and 37 women with isolated systolic High blood pressure. We conducted a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with twice daily administration of 60 mg of oral CoQ and determination of plasma CoQ levels before and after the 12 weeks of treatment. RESULTS: The mean reduction in systolic blood pressure of the CoQ-treated group was 17.8 +/- 7.3 mm Hg (mean +/- SEM). None of the patients exhibited orthostatic blood pressure changes. Our results suggest CoQ 10 may be safely offered to hypertensive patients as an alternative treatment option.
Clinical efficacy of magnesium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):506S-509S.
Effects of magnesium (Mg) supplementation on nine mild type 2 diabetic patients with stable glycemic control were investigated. Water from a salt lake with a high natural Mg content (7.1%) (MAG21) was used for supplementation after dilution with distilled water to 100mg/100mL; 300mL/day was given for 30 days. Fasting serum immunoreactive insulin level decreased significantly. There was also a marked decrease of the mean triglyceride level after supplementation. The patients with High blood pressure showed significant reduction of systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure. The salt lake water supplement, MAG21, exerted clinical benefit as a Mg supplement in patients with mild type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on High blood pressure.
Arch Intern Med. 2004 Jul 26;164(14):1534-40.
Tea has long been believed to possess High blood pressure relieveing effects in popular Chinese medicine. However, conflicting results have been shown among human trials and animal studies on the relation between tea consumption and blood pressure. Epidemiological evidence about the long-term effect of tea on hypertensive risk is also inconsistent. We examined the effect of tea drinking, measured in detail for the past decades, on the risk of newly diagnosed High blood pressure in 1507 subjects (711 men and 796 women), 20 years or older, who did not have a hypertensive history during 1996 in Taiwan. RESULTS: Six hundred subjects (39.8%) were habitual tea drinkers, defined by tea consumption of 120 mL/d or more for at least 1 year. Compared with nonhabitual tea drinkers, the risk of developing High blood pressure decreased by 46% for those who drank 120 to 599 mL/d and was further reduced by 65% for those who drank 600 mL/d or more after carefully adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, family history of High blood pressure, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, lifestyle factors (total physical activity, high sodium intake, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and coffee drinking), and dietary factors (vegetable, fruit, unrefined grain, fish, milk, visible-fat food, and deep fried food intake). However, tea consumption for more than 1 year was not associated with a further reduction of High blood pressure risk. Habitual moderate strength green or oolong tea consumption, 120 mL/d or more for 1 year, significantly reduces the risk of developing High blood pressure in the Chinese population.
Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, improves endothelial function of hypertensive patients.
Life Sci. 2004 Jan 2;74(7):855-62.
A placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group study was performed with 58 patients to investigate effects of French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol, on patients with High blood pressure. Supplementation of the patients with 100 mg Pycnogenol over a period of 12 weeks helped to reduce the dose of the calcium antagonist nifedipine in a statistically significant manner. The intake of Pycnogenol decreased endothelin-1 concentrations significantly compared to placebo while concentrations of 6-keto prostaglandin F1a in plasma were significantly higher compared to placebo. Values for nitric oxide (NO) in plasma increased in both groups, but the differences were not significant. Angiotensin II concentrations in plasma were lowered in the placebo group to a larger extent than in the Pycnogenol group. Heart rate, electrolytes and blood urea nitrogen were not changed during treatment in both groups of patients. Unwanted effects observed in both groups were of mild and transient nature, such as gastrointestinal problems, vertigo, headache and nausea. Differences in rate of side effects were not statistically significant between the two groups. Study results support a supplementation with Pycnogenol for mildly hypertensive patients.
Additional herbs for high blood pressure
The following compounds may help lower high blood pressure but much more research is needed.
Flavonoids, diterpenes, alkaloids, glycosides, polysaccharides and proteins.
High Blood Pressure natural treatment questions
Q. Is vinpocetine safe for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure to take? If it dilates the blood vessels in the brain, is this dangerous for people who are at risk for strokes?
A. I have not come across studies evaluating the influence of vinpocetine on blood pressure. Vinpocetine is actually used to treat strokes.
Q. Is it okay to take an ace inhibitor with fish oil capsules for high blood pressure?
A. I don't see any problems with this combination.
Q. Is a nosebleed a high blood pressure symptom?
A. Bleeding from the nose can be a symptom of high blood pressure, but there are many other reasons for a nosebleed.
Q. Studies have show that green tea can lower high blood pressure. What are your thoughts?
A. There are many nutrients involved in lowering blood pressure. Small amounts of green tea should be healthy but more research is needed to determine the influence of green tea on blood pressure.
Q. I have high blood pressure. Is a multivitamin okay to take?
A. As long as the multivitamin is not loaded excessively with very high doses of B vitamins, it should not be a problem.
Q. I am a little confused regarding your information titled natural High blood pressure treatment Options. You indicate vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12 are crucial for the health of arteries and you recommend taking B complex. However, under your Q & A section when someone ask if it is okay to take a multivitamin, it indicates not if it has a high doses of B vitamins. I currently have high blood pressure and take a vitamin with extra B complex.
A. We think vitamin B, in a dosage of one to three times the RDA could be helpful for high blood pressue, but we don't think a B complex that has 10 times or more of the daily RDA requirement is a good option. Many B complex vitamin supplements are called B50. The RDA for vitamin B1 is about 2 mg, therefore people are ingesting 25 times the RDA which we don't think is necessary or beneficial.