Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

Hypertension Causes

The causes of high blood pressure include:

  1. Atherosclerosis. This is the deposition of fatty materials on the lining of your arteries. Therefore, it “clogs” your arteries, and narrows the space for blood to travel through. If the same volume of blood is trying to squeeze through a smaller space, it increases the pressure in the arteries.  
  2. Damage to the lining of your arteries. Fatty deposits on the lining of your arteries may be due to damage to the endothelial lining. Risk factors for high blood pressure like smoking, caffeine, and alcohol contribute to atherosclerotic plaques that then block your arteries. 
  3. Aging. As we age, our ability to make healthy collagen declines. The walls of your arteries are made up of collagen. As collagen production decreases, the arterial walls get weaker. This leads to even more arterial plaque build-up.
  4. Kidney disease. The kidneys are responsible for filtering urine out of your blood. If your kidneys can’t filter out fluid effectively, water stays in your bloodstream.  The added volume causes pressure to build in your arteries.

Risk Factors for Hypertension

There are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of having hypertension.  We can help you tackle most of them:

  1. Smoking
  2. Being overweight or obesity
  3. Lack of physical activity
  4. Excess salt intake
  5. Excessive caffeine intake
  6. Increased alcohol intake
  7. High stress
  8. Being older in age
  9. Family history of hypertension
  10. Kidney, adrenal and thyroid disorders
  11. Sleep apnea

Natural Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Our naturopathic doctors can help to naturally lower your blood pressure without medications.  We use the scientifically validated diet, lifestyle and supplement treatments listed below.  Not sure?  Check out all the research at the bottom of the page that supports natural treatment for high blood pressure.

Diet for high blood pressure

The Dash Diet and Mediterranean Diet are two diet approaches to help you with your blood pressure.  What you eat can strengthen your heart and blood vessels and support your cardiovascular system.  Our naturopaths and Registered Dietitian can help with healthy eating for weight loss and treating blood pressure.

Exercise for hypertension

Our naturopathic doctors can advise on the best exercise to lower your blood pressure.

Herbs, Vitamins & Minerals

Supplements can be used to naturally lower blood pressure by addressing the underlying cause of why you have hypertension.  Check out the research below for natural remedies that can help:

  1. Arteriosclerosis – hardening of the arteries due to build up of plaque on the walls of the artery
  2. Kidney disease
  3. Stress/tension

Acupuncture, TCM and High Blood Pressure

Our TCM and acupuncture expert, Joy Walraven, can help naturally strengthen the cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese herbs.

Registered Massage Therapy

If blood pressure is high due to stress or tension, massage therapy is an excellent way to reduce stress.  It can promote relaxation and overall wellness.

Low Blood Pressure

Do you get dizzy or light-headed if you stand up too quickly?  That sensation you feel is likely from your blood pressure dropping.  It shouldn’t.  As you stand up your blood pressure should naturally come up to maintain adequate blood flow to your brain.

Your body’s mechanisms to increase low blood pressure include increasing your heart rate, constricting your blood vessels and retaining water.  Many of these tools are regulated by your adrenal glands.  These small glands sit on top of your kidneys.  Poorly working adrenal glands can negatively influence both high and low blood pressure.  The severe version of under-working adrenals is termed Addison’s disease.  However, there is a range of low adrenal function that is less severe than Addison’s.  Other causes of low blood pressure include kidney disease, heart disease, blood loss, shock, dehydration and medication side effects.

Our naturopathic doctors can help regulate both low blood pressure and high blood pressure. We can monitor your blood pressure readings to ensure your success.

Authored by Dr Pamela Frank, BSc, ND

Natural Remedy Research

Bisphenol A:

Bae S, Hong YC. Exposure to bisphenol A from drinking canned beverages increases blood pressure: a randomized crossover trial. Hypertension. 2015; 65(2):313-9.
● This study measured the effects of drinking beverages from BPA containing cans versus glass bottles.  Researchers found that after drinking from the cans urinary BPA levels increased by more than 1600% compared to drinking from glass bottles. Systolic blood pressure increased by 4.5 mmHg after consuming two canned beverages compared with glass beverages.

Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine:

Chei CL, Loh JK, Soh A, Yuan JM, Koh WP. Coffee, tea, caffeine, and risk of hypertension: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. Eur J Nutr. 2017; doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1412-4.
● This large prospective cohort study in an Asian population found an inverse U-shaped association between coffee intake and risk of hypertension.  Drinking one cup of coffee per day was associated with increased risk.  However, less than 1 cup of coffee per week or greater than 3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a decreased risk of hypertension.

Blueberries:

Johnson SA, Figueroa A, Navaei N, Wong A, Kalfon R, Ormsbee LT, Feresin RG, Elam ML, Hooshmand S, Payton ME, Arjmandi BH. Daily blueberry consumption improves hypertension and arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1-hypertension: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015; 115(3): 369-77.

Nitrates:

Kapil V, Khambata RS, Robertson A, Caulfield MJ, Ahluwalia A. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015; 65(2): 320-7.

Nattokinase:

Kim JY, Gum SN, Paik JK, Lim HH, Kim KC, Ogasawara K, Inoue K, Park S, Jang Y, Lee JH. Effects of nattokinase on blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial. Hypertension Res. 2008; 31(8):1583-8.
● Nattokinase supplementation in untreated subjects with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension resulted in a reduction in blood pressure, as well as a decrease in renin activity.

Ceylon Cinnamon:

Ranasinghe P, Jayawardena R, Pigera S, Wathurapatha WS, Weeratunga HD, Sirimal Premakumara GA, Katulanda P, Constantine GR, Galappaththy P. Evaluation of pharmacodynamic properties and safety of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) in healthy adults: a phase I clinical trial.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17:550.
● Blood pressure reduced significantly during the first month and was sustained throughout follow-up.
● There was a significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol at the end of the 3 months follow-up period

Garlic:

Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013; 67(1): 64-70.
● A study with a duration of 12 weeks.  Three garlic groups (1, 2 or 4 capsules per day of aged garlic extract) or placebo. Blood pressure (BP) assessed at weeks 4, 8 and 12
● Mean systolic BP decreased by 11.8 mmHg in the garlic 2-capsule group over 12 weeks; garlic 1-capsule group was not a significant difference and 4-capsule group was a borderline significant drop

Flaxseed:

Rodriguez-Leyva D, Weighell W, Edel A, LaVallee R, Dibrov E, Pinneker R, Maddaford T, Ramjiawan B, Aliani M, Guzman R, Pierce G. Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients. Hypertension. 2013; 62(6):1081-9.
● This study compared the effects of a diet containing 30 g milled flaxseed per day with the same types of foods not containing the flaxseed on hypertension. Study participants had peripheral artery disease. The flaxseed group demonstrated blood pressures of 10 mmHg systolic BP and 7 mmHg diastolic BP lower than placebo after 6 months.  In patients entering the trial with SBP    >140 mmHg, the flaxseed intervention group demonstrated a decrease in 15
mmHg SBP and 7 mmHg DBP.

Ginger:

Wang Y, Yu H, Zhang X, Feng Q, Guo X, Li S, Li R, Chu D, Ma Y. Evaluation of daily ginger consumption for the prevention of chronic diseases in adults: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition. 2017; 36:79-84.
● Overall, ginger consumption was associated with decreased risk for hypertension and coronary heart disease, where the probability of illness decreased when the level of daily ginger intake increased

Vitamin C:

Plasma levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) were found to be inversely associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure in women. Source: Nutr J, 2008; 7(1): 35.

Tomato extract/Lycopene:

In subjects with moderate uncontrolled hypertension, the addition of tomato extract to 1 or 2 anti-hypertensive drugs was found to significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Source: Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 2008 Dec 4.

Lycopene supplementation greater than 12 mg/day were found to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure. Source: Nutrients, 2013 Sept 18; 5(9): 3696-712.

Salt:

Sticking to a low-salt diet helped hypertension in women. The results suggest that older females with hypertension have a sensitivity to dietary sodium intervention. Source: J Hypertens, 2009; 27(1): 48-54.

Dietary salt intake (DSI) in normotensive populations was found to have a linear relationship with blood pressure (BP), emphasizing the strong deleterious effect of DSI on BP.  Source: Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012 Apr; 66(4):533-5.

Aged Garlic Extract:

Supplementation with aged garlic extract may help lower systolic blood pressure. Source: Maturitas, 2010 Jun 29.

Omega-3s:

Supplementation with omega-3 plant sterol esters for 12 weeks was found to decrease triglycerides by 19% and diastolic blood pressure and hs-CRP by 7%. Source: Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 2010 July 9.

Magnesium:

Supplementation with magnesium may prevent hypertension in women in the final trimester of pregnancy.   After 12 weeks of supplementation in pregnant women, those taking magnesium had significantly lower blood pressure than those in the placebo group. Source: Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2013 May 30.

Magnesium has subtle muscle relaxing properties as well as lowering blood pressure and has been found to increase the effectiveness of all types of antihypertensive medications. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.26, Issue 12, Dec. 2012

Supplementation with magnesium and potassium can improve the therapeutic effect, decrease dosage, and minimize side effects of antihypertensives. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.26, Issue 12, Dec. 2012

Research shows that supplementation with magnesium reduces blood pressure. Source: Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012 Apr; 66(4):411-8.

Vitamin C:

Supplementation with vitamins C and E in hypertensive men reduced blood pressure. Source: Clin Exp Hypertens, 2013 May 9.

Vitamin C supplementation in patients with essential hypertension significantly lowered systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressures. Source: Clin Sci (Lond). 2008 May;114(10):625-34.

Vitamin C supplementation for an average of 8 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure.  Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 April 4

Naringin:

Naringin, a flavonoid responsible for grapefruit’s bitter taste, was found to normalize systolic blood pressure and improve vascular dysfunction and vascular diastolic dysfunction.  Source: Nutrients, 2013 Feb 27; 5(3): 637-50.

Vitamin D:

A causal link between hypertension and vitamin D deficiency was discovered in a large-scale genetic study. Source: ScienceDaily, 10 Jun. 2013. Web. 15 Jun. 2013.

Serum concentrations of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone were independently associated with blood pressure and with the presence of hypertension or prehypertension.  Source: J Hypertens, 2010 July 5.

Resveratrol:

Supplementation with resveratrol may improve flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery in obese subjects with untreated borderline hypertension. Source: Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, 2010 Jul 29.

Lifestyle:

Researchers found that decreasing systolic blood pressure to lower than 130 mm Hg in patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. Diet and weight loss were found to be better alternatives for this population of patients. Source: JAMA. 2010;304(1):61-68.

L-theanine:

L-theanine was found to decrease blood pressure in high stress-response adults. Source: J Physiol Anthropol. 2012 Oct 29;31(1):28.

Qigong:

Quigong, a Chinese therapy close to Tai Chi involving movement and coordinated breathing patterns, was found to have a positive effect on blood pressure. Source: Complementary Prescriptions Journal, Vol.27, Issue 3, Feb 2013.

Vitamin E:

After supplementing with vitamin E, patients with essential hypertension had significantly lower systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressures. Source: Clin Sci (Lond). 2008 May;114(10):625-34.

Green Tea:

In hypertensive patients, green tea extract was found to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressures after 3 months. Source: Nutr Res. 2012 Jun; 32(6):421-7. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Sleep:

Disturbance of slow wave sleep or deep sleep links to cardiovascular dysfunction and increased risk of hypertension.  Source: Hypertension. 2011; 58: 596-603.

Beetroot:

Low dose (100g) beetroot juice supplementation reduced blood pressure. Source: Br J Nutr, 2012 Mar 14:1-9.

Protein:

Increased protein intake was found to reduce blood pressure in overweight adults with hypertension. Source: Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Apr; 95(4):966-71.

Folate:

Folate intake in young adults significantly lowers the incidence of hypertension late in life suggesting that folate has a long-term effect on blood pressure. Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr 4

Epicatechin:

Epicatechin, found in cocoa, was found to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure after ingestion. Source: Am J Clin Nutr; 2012 Jun; 95(6):1365-77.

Chocolate:

Higher intake of dark chocolate is associated with lower blood pressure. Source: Curr Drug Deliv, 2011 June 22.

Green Tea:

In patients with obesity-related hypertension, green tea extract was found to reduce cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Source: Nutr Res, 2012 Jun; 32(6):421-7.

Olive Bark Extract:

In patients with hypertension, treatment with Olive bark extract was found to reduce blood pressure. Source: Altern Med Rev. 2011 Dec; 16(4):338-47.