High Blood Pressure
Introduction: High blood pressure (hypertension) exists in our society in epidemic proportions. More than one half of those over the age of 60 are afflicted with it, and even some teens have it. Hypertension accelerates the arteriosclerotic process, leads to strokes and heart attacks, and causes kidney damage in diabetics. It is very important to keep hypertension well controlled, but the drugs that are usually used are prone to side effects, generally very expensive, and have certain dangers. Natural means of blood pressure control often work very well, get at the root of the problem, and don’t have the expense, side effects, and dangers of drugs. Cause of hypertension: At least 90% of hypertension cases are due to life-style problems. There are populations of people around the world in which the incidence of hypertension is less than 2%. When the diets of these groups are compared to the diets of those who get hypertension, there are some glaring differences. Those groups don't eat refined foods and they are getting far more fiber, fruit, and vegetables in their diets than ours. They also get 3 times more potassium than sodium in their diets, while we get 3 times as much sodium as potassium. Lack of nutrients appears to be a big contributor of hypertension, along with lack of exercise and obesity. High stress levels and toxic heavy metals may also contribute to hypertension.
Monitoring blood pressure: We believe that people get the best results when they monitor their pressure regularly and record it. It is probably best to have your own blood pressure monitoring devise at home, but it can be done in the work place, at a pharmacy or grocery store, or other places that have these systems available. Test blood pressure at various times to see what effect stress, exercise, and other factors have on it. For many years high blood pressure has been defined by the medical community as 140/90 or above. It has recently been shown that any pressure above 120/80 may cause progressive damage.
Treatment of hypertension: Diet is extremely important. You should eat at least 3 or 4 times daily, using mostly fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grain products, and healthy fat and protein products. Vegetables should be lightly steamed to preserve the nutrients. Salt should be used in moderation only (not severely limited, as this may be dangerous). Refined sugar and white flour should be eliminated or severely limited, especially soda pop. More details about diet can be obtained from our dietitian or from the book "High Blood Pressure Solution" by Richard Moore M.D., PhD. There is no one diet ideal for everyone. The ideal diet for you may be quite different than the ideal diet for your neighbor.
Improving digestive tract function may be very important. A healthy diet is only effective when the nutrients are broken down and transported across the gut lining into your blood stream. A good balance of beneficial bacteria are important for producing B vitamins and vitamin K. Eliminating unhealthy gut microbes and replacing them with a good balance of beneficial bacteria appears to be very important in controlling blood pressure and for good health in general. Normalizing gut flora may be important to stop the heartburn, which may allow you to get off medications that suppress stomach acids and may interfere with nutrient absorption. A digestive enzyme may also be helpful in the break down and utilization of your food.
Exercise on a regular basis which is defined as at least 3 times weekly for 30 minutes or more, using aerobic activity which is rhythmic and sustained. Walking, jogging, treadmill, exercise cycle, stair steppers, cross country simulators, health riders, rowing machines, and many other forms of exercise can be effective. Exercise not only lowers blood pressure, but usually also reduces weight, and promotes the development of collateral coronary arteries to prevent heart attacks.
Weight loss is often helpful but only if it is done without severe food restriction, since hypertension appears to be at least in part a nutritional deficiency state. Experimental animals will develop hypertension if they are repeatedly put on a restrictive diet followed by re-feeding them (like many humans do to themselves by repeated dieting). Eating a good healthy diet, avoiding refined sugar and white flour, and effective exercise will generally help most people to lose weight.
Nutritional supplements may be very helpful. Potassium may be the most important mineral to supplement, but can only be obtained in small amounts over-the-counter. A prescription potassium is usually preferred in the range of 10 to 20 mg. daily (750 to 1500 mg.). Calcium at 800-1200 mg. daily and magnesium at 600-1000 mg. daily are also important minerals. Vitamin B6 at 150 to 400 mg. daily also seems to help. Nutrients which reduce other cardiovascular risks may also be useful. These nutrients include multiple B vitamins to lower homocysteine, anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamins C and E, vitamin D to assist uptake of calcium, other trace minerals, and fish oil. An excellent therapeutic multi vitamin-mineral product which contains a good balance of all of these products is Prime multiple. P5P is a high-potency source of vitamin B6 and its first breakdown product.
Herbal - Botanical products may be useful if the above diet, exercise, and vitamin-mineral products are not enough. These products include Carditone, an Ayruvedic product including 3 botanical compounds. Other products which have been shown to be useful include CoQ10, Garlic, Hawthorne berry.
If you follow the guidelines above, you may be able to control your blood pressure without the need for drugs, or at least reduce the amount of medication needed. The dangers, side-effects, and cost of drug therapy increases with the amount of any drug that is used, and with the number of different drugs required. Drug therapy is used on an individual basis. Those with an intolerance to many drugs may find our allergy testing system effective to identify drugs which might be better tolerated.