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Dr Douglas Street: Supplements that lower blood pressure

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Hypertension is a very common illness in almost every society. It is normally treated with medication but there are many persons who prefer to use natural supplements instead. This is because of their general mistrust of medications because of fear of side-effects.

As a matter of fact, supplements, because of their mechanisms of action, usually have additional benefits other than blood-pressure reduction. They are safe to use but may require some guidance. Some supplements will be discussed here.

Studies have shown that the development of hypertension, and its complications, is due to chronic low-grade hypertension. Therefore, measures and supplements that reduce inflammation will also reduce blood pressure.

Co-enzyme Q10 is one of the supplements that have been well-studied for the treatment of hypertension. It also has benefits for those with heart disease. A daily dose of 200mg can be use. It is quite safe as it's a substance actually produced by the body.

Garlic is another supplement frequently used in the treatment of hypertension. It also helps with treatment of a wide range of infections, reduces cholesterol, reduces inflammation, helps the body manage stress and improves circulation. A recommended daily amount is 600-1200mg.

Reishi mushroom helps to modulate the immune system, reducing the negative impact (eg allergies and inflammation) and enhancing the positive impact. It can be used in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia, among other conditions, because of its effects on the immune system. A recommended daily amount is about 1000mg.

Grapeseed extract (especially muscadine grape) has also been found to be very useful in the management of hypertension. It is also helpful for persons with diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune conditions (such as lupus), dyslipidemia and many other conditions. A recommended daily dose is 1000mg or more.

Probiotics (and prebiotics) improve the function of the microbiome (normal flora) of the gut. This can help to improve blood pressure by reducing inflammation. It is also helpful in the management of other chronic illnesses. The dosage varies widely so just follow the manufacturers' instructions.

Omega-3 supplements and sources have also been found to be helpful in the management of hypertension. Some of these sources (eg flaxseed) are also good sources of soluble fibre, which also helps to reduce blood pressure.

Calcium, magnesium and potassium sources and supplements can also reduce blood pressure.

I will discuss other supplements in the next article.