The TRUTH About High Blood Pressure Medication
Most people don't know this … but expensive and side-effect-ridden blood pressure drugs may not actually prevent heart attacks or strokes at all — or even prolong your life by a single day.
On the other hand, inexpensive foods, supplements, and other natural remedies can safely get to the root of high blood pressure and cure it for good. (You may already have some of them in your kitchen right now.) However, the drug companies don't want you to know about these simple solutions.
The $10-Billion High Blood Pressure Drug Machine
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that results largely from shrinking and stiffening arteries. As the arteries grow smaller, the heart works harder to pump the same amount of blood through a more restricted circulatory system — and with every beat, the heart exerts more effort than it should.
That's a formula that makes you a ticking time bomb — a candidate for a heart attack, aneurism, or stroke — all potentially fatal.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute estimates that 70% of strokes are a direct result of high blood pressure, and heart disease is still the leading killer of both men and women, killing 500,000 Americans a year.
It's no wonder that over the past 30 years, drug companies have found a cash cow in high blood pressure (HBP) drugs, a $10-billion-a-year industry according to the market analyst firm IMS Health.
Every year, millions of Americans are prescribed HBP drugs that tie them to a perpetual medication regimen, often for the rest of their lives. These medications work in several ways, including slowing down our hearts, increasing the size of our arteries, or diluting our blood to help it flow more easily.
HBP Drugs are Hazardous to Your Health
Evidence shows that manipulating such essential body functions with highly aggressive drugs comes at a steep cost. Researchers are finally exposing the dangers of HBP drugs, as follows:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Menstrual problems
- Heart palpitations
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
Consider the side effects of the 4 leading HBP drug types one by one:
Also known as “water pills,” diuretics deplete the body's energy, causing persistent fatigue, weakness, and cramping. Hearing loss, kidney problems, heart arrhythmias, and gout are also common. Diuretics also inhibit potassium, a proven natural resource for heart health. And diabetics should be cautious as diuretics can throw off blood sugar levels.
These work by slowing down the heart. But they can also cause chronic fatigue, depression, and asthma. And, according to Dr. Sheldon Sheps, an emeritus Mayo Clinic physician, weight gain is a highly common side effect. Unfortunately for men, beta blockers can also cause erectile dysfunction. A study in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences showed that men taking beta blockers had their sexual activity plummet to half of what it was before going on the meds.
Aimed at relaxing the arteries, alpha blockers can cause blood pressure to nosedive, resulting in persistent weakness … extreme joint ache … diarrhea … and even anemia. Certain alpha blockers cause nightmares and insomnia. Ohio University Professor, Dr. Richard Klabunde, author of Cardiovascular Physiology Concepts, writes that alpha blockers can also cause “dizziness … headaches … and excessive fluid retention.” And, like beta blockers, erectile dysfunction is common. It's little wonder that 70% of men who experience side effects from HBP drugs simply stop taking them.
Similar to alpha blockers, vasodilators (which dilate blood vessel walls) can also lead to severe joint ache and pain. Vasodilators can also cause heart palpitations and headaches. Frequently, patients also experience excessive weight gain and unwanted hair growth.
So… Do HBP Drugs Work At All?
The facts suggest they do not.
Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that 1 in 4 adults — that's 69 million Americans — have high blood pressure, a record number. Yet more people than ever take HBP drugs. It's a remarkable contradiction: A record number of Americans are taking blood pressure drugs — yet, the percentage of people with high blood pressure hasn't dropped in 10 years.
Research also suggests that many HBP drugs provide only sporadic and short-lived improvement in blood pressure … and they lose effectiveness over time.
And a study published last November in Circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that overuse of HBP medications increase the incidence of cardiovascular complications … and push blood pressure levels below normal.
Dr. Sripal Bangalore, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at New York University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, noted, “although our data generally support the ‘lower is better' approach, this only goes so far.” Blood pressure pushed below normal levels through drugs ushers in a host of other health problems.
Natural HBP Remedies That Work!
Fiber – it is a substance found in vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, but both types are not digested and absorbed like fats and proteins by the body, instead they pass through the digestive system mostly in tact through stomach, small intestine and colon, and acts like a broom to our digestive system, cleaning it out and keeping us regular.
The best way to increase the fiber intake is to increase the proportion of plant foods in the diet, which has another great benefit of increasing the phytonutrients at the same time. These plant chemicals not only serve to protect the plants from disease, but also the people who eat those plants. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which enhance immune system and protect us from many grave diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids – these fatty acids are essential to our health and must be obtained from food, because our bodies do not make them. They play a crucial role in brain and heart health, as well as in growth and development, hence are especially important for growing children. “An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension” (University of Maryland Medical Center). These essential fatty acids are anti- inflammatory and act to reduce inflammation in the body, the main cause of many chronic diseases.
It is important to keep the right omega-3 and omega-6 ratio in the body (1:1 – 1:3), since excess of omega-6 fatty acids greatly contributes to inflammation. Even though omega-6 fatty acids are essential as well to our health and need to be obtained from the diet, most people easily consume too many of these fats and throw off the balance in the body.
Omega-3’s also work to reduce excess cholesterol, help prevent diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, skin disorders, bipolar disease, osteoporosis, ADHD and many other health conditions.
Potassium – it should always be in balance with sodium, which keeps the electrolyte balance – essential for healthy blood pressure. It is a well known fact that high sodium and reduced potassium diet is a common cause of hypertension. While most people have a potassium to sodium ratio of 1:2, research shows that this dietary ratio should be 5:1 in order to maintain health (Murray, 2012).
Many studies have shown that potassium supplementation helps reduce BP substantially, and the dosage of potassium used in those studies ranged from 2.5 to 5 g/day (Murray, 2012). Potassium works to help excrete sodium and has vasoactive effects on blood vessels, which helps reduce BP, but people with an existing kidney disease should not supplement with potassium due to kidneys’ inability to excrete potassium, which can lead to toxic levels of it accumulating in the body.
Vitamin C – is one of the most powerful and cheapest antioxidants we can add to our diet to improve health on many different levels. Many studies have shown this vitamin’s ability to lower high BP substantially. It is an important component in supporting capillary strength and integrity, lowering fibrinogen and platelet aggregation, which thickens the blood and increases blood clotting effects, helping with lead excretion from the body. Lead and other heavy metals have been shown to be one of the causes of hypertension.
Coenzyme CoQ10 – it is body’s enzyme helper and antioxidant, which plays a crucial part in energy production in the mitochondria of the cell. It helps convert food we eat into energy we need to thrive. Each cell in our body has at least one mitochondria, but heart cells, being such hard workers and needing so much energy to do their work, have thousands of mitochondria in each cell, therefore CoQ10 is absolutely essential in heart health. Our bodies are able to synthesize CoQ10, but due to modern lifestyle many people are deficient in this important nutrient. Prescription medications and statin drugs are especially good at blocking the production of it in the body and leading to deficiency.
Studies show that CoQ10 works to correct some metabolic abnormality, which in turn has favorable effects on blood pressure.
Vitamin D3 – this important vitamin is involved in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body and sufficient amounts of it are essential for good health. Is is important to test vitamin D3 levels in the blood and anything < 20ng/mL is considered insufficient and increase risk for CVD, arterial stiffness, endothelial dysfunction and reduces blood flow to the heart.
“Researchers have found for every 10 percent increase in concentrations of 25- hydroxyvitamin D, there is an 8.1 percent decrease in risk of hypertension” (Oklahoma Heart Institute). We make most of our vitamin D3 through the exposure to the ultraviolet B radiation from the sun, but in efforts to protect our skin from cancer, we have been covering up with clothes and sun lotions or just choosing to stay more indoors, which has created a widespread low blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
Hawthorn – this herb usage dates back to 1st century A.D. and is very popular in Europe for heart health. It acts as an antioxidant, a vasodilator by helping improve blood circulation to the heart while relieving pressure on the arterial walls and supporting normal BP. It is classified as cardioinhibitory and cardiotonic nutrient, which means that it serves to control the force at which the heart pumps. It supports healthy heart muscle function, protects from oxidative damage, promotes normal gene expression for cardiovascular health.
Curcumin – it is an active component of a widely used spice turmeric, especially well known in the eastern medicine for its beneficial health properties. Studies have shown curcumin’s ability to lower fibrinogen levels, improve nitric oxide and glutathione levels, and improve endothelial function. It is also helpful in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, all of which contribute to healthy blood pressure levels.
The health benefits can be reaped by taking capsule supplements, using turmeric as a spice in cooking or drinking it as tea. Since curcuminoids are not very water soluble and therefore not very bioavailable, it is best to look for supplements combined with black pepper extract, which helps with absorption.
In case of tea, people in eastern cultures knew long ago how to get the most out of every cup by combining it with some kind of fat, such as ghee, coconut milk or milk, hence “haldi ka doodh” – hot turmeric milk used as health-giving elixir. Fat facilitates the absorption of curcuminoids from the gut, which is mostly an aqueous environment (Journal of the American College of Nutrition).
Magnesium – this important mineral is essential in the function of over 350 enzymes in the body, but most of the people are deficient in it and as a result experience many symptoms, which are overlooked by doctors and thought of as normal by the people themselves.
Standard American diet, pharmaceutical drugs, poor digestion and the fact that many people are told to supplement with calcium for strong bones without balancing it with magnesium, leads to widespread magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium plays an important role in ATP energy production, relaxation of blood vessels, regulation of blood sugar levels, dissolving blood clots and it works to balance calcium, a mineral which acts as a constrictor and increases spasms (Mercola.com).
In addition to a healthy diet, it is important to address other factors that contribute to hypertension, such as stress, physical activity, social and emotional health, as well as quitting harmful habits – smoking and alcohol consumption.
Be proactive in your health care and take charge of your health by incorporating all the lifestyle and diet changes necessary to achieve a vibrant health and fulfilling life.
It is important to remember that no body organ or system can be truly healthy if the digestive system is not well – simple as that.
Our Ultimate Digestive Health 30-Day System is an ideal approach to help your digestive tract gently recover and heal, which is the first and most important step towards optimal health. Best yet, Ultimate Digestive Health is made from all natural ingredients, most of which work to support healthy BP, that have been used for hundreds of years to heal and soothe digestive systems versus to the over-the-counter meds that are filled with chemicals, dyes and sugars.
Mercola.com (June 11, 2009). Magnesium benefits your blood pressure.
Douglass, B.J. & Clouarte, D.L.(2015). Beyond yellow curry: assessing commercial curcumin absorption technologies. Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Oklahoma Heart Institute. (August, 2014). Is vitamin D deficiency causing your high blood pressure?
Murray, M., & Pizzorno, J. E. (2012). Encyclopedia of natural medicine. New York, NY: ATRIA Paperback