Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
See also Arteriosclerosis, Cardiovascular Disease, Weight Loss and Hyperinsulinemia
When there is excessive arterial tension, the heart has to pump harder in order for the blood to reach the extremities of the body. This results in high blood pressure. When this happens, most people start taking high pressure medication prescribed by their doctor.
For example, all of the following have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce blood pressure: consuming sufficient amounts of pure water, increasing dietary fiber, losing weight, reducing salt consumption, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, exercising, consuming Omega-3 essential acids, and balancing intake of calcium and magnesium. These are all options individuals can utilize. In addition, they can examine the specific causes of hypertension and choose other supplements and diet and lifestyle changes that address their individual situation.
High blood pressure is a symptom of other imbalances,
not a disease in itself. The job of the heart is to pump blood
throughout the body. The blood has to reach every part of
the body, including the fingers and toes. When the heart
is beating harder, raising the blood pressure, it is usually a
signal that something is restricting the flow of blood to the
extremities of the body. Using a medication that decreases
the pressure does not remove the obstructions interfering
with blood flow. The result is decreased blood pressure with
poor circulation to the extremities. We have simply traded
one health problem for another.
If we can determine why the heart is pumping harder and increasing the blood pressure. then fix the cause, the heart will stop pumping harder. If we can make it easier for the blood to flow to the extremities, the pressure will automatically drop. So. let's examine some of the factors that impair circulation and cause the blood pressure to rise.
Hardening of the Arteries
Arterial plaque creates obstructions in the blood vessels. Like hard water deposits in a water pipe, these deposits reduce the size of blood vessels and restrict blood flow. As a result the heart is forced to pump harder to get the blood through the narrower "pipes."
When hardening of the arteries is the cause of high blood pressure, there is a very effective solution-oral chelation using Mega-Chel. The instructions for this effective chelation program are found here.
Blood vessels have muscular walls that can either tense or relax. When they tense, there is vasoconstriction. It's very similar to the problem asthmatics have when the bronchial "pipes" constrict reducing the flow of air into the lungs. They begin gasping for oxygen. Vasoconstriction does the same thing to the arteries. The constricted artery walls limit the flow of blood, and the heart pumps harder trying to force the life-giving blood through the constricted vessels. There are several root of vasoconstriction each with its remedies.
In response to stress, real or perceived, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active and the body tenses. We have all felt the results of this fight-or-flight response when someone suddenly startled us and adrenaline started pumping. The heart started beating harder and blood pressure rose as the body went on "red alert." This sensation is due to the release of a hormone and neurotransmitter called epinephrine (or adrenaline).
Nerve receptors that react to epinephrine are called adrenergic receptors. There are two types, alpha and beta. When the beta adrenergic receptors are stimulated, they cause blood vessels to contract and the heart to beat harder. Perhaps you have heard of beta blockers. These are drugs that help to lower blood pressure, and they work by blocking these beta adrenergic receptor sites.
Caffeine and other Stimulants
Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and causes the release of more epinephrine. So excessive caffeine consumption increases stress responses and raises blood pressure. Other substances that trigger a sympathetic nervous reaction and stress response include alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, cheese, sugar, alcoholic beverages, and cured pork products such as ham and sausages. All of these substances can contribute to hypertension.
Contrary to what most people believe, the number one mineral deficiency in most Americans is not calcium-it is magnesium. When muscles contract, calcium ions flow into the muscle cells; as the muscle relaxes, there is an exchange of magnesium for calcium. In other words, calcium helps muscles contract and have tone, while magnesium helps muscles relax. This is why calcium channel blockers are sometimes used to lower blood pressure. These drugs block calcium from entering the muscle tissues, causing them to be more relaxed. Taking extra magnesium usually creates the same results. It helps blood vessels relax and increases blood flow.
Hyperinsulinemia or Syndrome X
High insulin levels in the blood due to the consumption of refined carbohydrates cause inflammation in the blood vessels which constrict blood flow. Simple sugars also react with proteins to reduce elasticity, causing blood vessels to lose flexibility. Eliminating simple carbohydrates from the diet can be very helpful for preventing and reversing high blood pressure.
Magnesium Complex can be used in conjunctuon with
vasodilative herbs to dilate blood vessels and reduce blood
pressure. Hawthorn and ginkgo have both been found to dilate peripheral blood vessels and improve blood flow to the
extremities, thus reducing hypertension. Numerous studies have also shown that garlic can reduce blood pressure.
Taken regularly, garlic will usually reduce blood pressure by
10-15 points. Besides having a vasodilative effect, it also decreases blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Onions also have
this effect, as do many pungent spices and herbs, which can
all be safely consumed as part of the regular diet.
Solstic Cardio contains L-arginine, an amino acid that acts on a chemical messenger called nitric oxide which dilates blood vessels. It has proven helpful in many cases of hypertension.
Lobelia contains a compound called lobeline which acts as a natural beta blocker. It combines well with capsicum and a small amount of black cohosh to reduce cardiac stress and angina, improve circulation to the heart, and lower blood pressure caused by tension. Other nervines like kava kava and black cohosh may also help.
Adaptogens can also help to reduce blood pressure. These include Eleuthero root, American and Korean ginseng, schizandra (found in Nutri-Calm and Nervous Fatigue Formula) and SUMA Combination.
Water Retention and Kidney Function
When the tissues of the body are filled with fluid, this will put pressure on the blood vessels, again constricting blood flow. The kidneys also have an influence on the heart, so problems with the kidneys can also cause the blood pressure to rise. This is why diuretics are sometimes being used to bring down blood pressure. Where fluid retention is a problem, diuretics like Chinese Kidney Activator can be used as part of a blood pressure lowering program. Reducing table salt consumption and replacing it with an all-natural sea salt can also help reduce fluid retention. Kidney issues are often an undiagnosed issue behind blood pressure problems.
Excess weight alone can increase blood pressure simply because there are extra blood vessels the heart has to pump blood through. There is also a link between excess insulin production, which contributes to excess weight, and imbalances in messenger chemicals that cause arterial constriction. If you have excess weight start following the suggestions under weight loss.