How (and Why) To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most important risk factor for premature death, accounting for half of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and 13.5 percent of all deaths each year. It affects 26 percent of the population worldwide, and one-third of the population in the U.S. Nine in ten Americans are expected to develop high blood pressure by the age of sixty-five.

With this in mind, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that keeping your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to extend your lifespan.

Mild hypertension can nearly double your risk of heart disease—but drugs don’t work. What can you do?

This has become even more apparent in light of recent research which suggests that even “high normal” blood pressure (120–129 / 80–84 mmHg) increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 46% on average. For women, the risk was slightly lower; for men, it was much higher—80%, regardless of age. (1) These results are alarming in light of the fact that 3 of 10 US citizens have a blood pressure in the 129–139 / 84–95 mmHg range.

Making the problem worse, studies have shown that drug therapy for “high normal” blood pressure and even mild hypertension is not effective. A large review of randomized, clinical trials performed by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration found that anti-hypertensive drugs used to treat mild hypertension (140–159 / 90–99 mm/Hg) did not reduce disease complications or the risk of death. (2)

How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Like most other chronic diseases, high blood pressure is caused by a mismatch between our genes and the modern diet and lifestyle. High blood pressure affects only one percent of hunter-gatherer populations following a traditional diet, but its prevalence increases when those cultures adopt a western diet and lifestyle that is characterized by processed and refined foods, sedentary behavior, chronic sleep deprivation, a lack of sun exposure and excess use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. (3)

If you have “high-normal” blood pressure or mild hypertension, here are my top three recommendations for decreasing your blood pressure naturally.

Diet

As I mentioned above, high blood pressure is practically nonexistent in traditional hunter gatherer societies. There are likely several reasons for this, but diet is certainly one of them. Here’s what to pay attention to:

  • Sugar. Increased consumption of sugar—especially sugar-sweetened beverages like soda—is associated with high blood pressure, and reducing sugar intake has been shown to lower blood pressure. (4)
  • Potassium. High dietary intake of potassium is associated with lower blood pressure. In fact, many researchers believe that the protective effects of potassium are one of the major reasons why hunter-gatherers like the Kalahari Bushmen and traditional pygmies of Sub-Saharan Africa have such a low incidence of high blood pressure. In Paleolithic diets, the average daily intake of potassium was approximately 10,500 mg/d. In comparison, the average American consumes about 2,800 mg/d. (5)
  • Cold-water fish. I’ve written before about the numerous health benefits of EPA and DHA, the polyunsaturated fats found in cold-water fish. Studies have shown that DHA, in particular, is very effective at reducing blood pressure. You don’t need to take a fish oil supplement to get this benefit; eating cold-water fish three times a week is just as effective as taking a high-dose fish oil supplement, and the protein in the fish may also have a blood-pressure lowering effect. (6)
  • Magnesium. A high dietary intake of magnesium has been shown to reduce blood pressure, though its effect is not as strong as what is observed with potassium. Nuts, seeds, spinach, beet greens, and chocolate are the highest food sources of magnesium on a Paleo diet. Magnesium’s effect on blood pressure is magnified when combined with increased potassium intake. In fact, increasing potassium and magnesium intake together while moderately reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure as much as a single medication. (7)

What about salt? We’ve been told for years that a high salt intake is one of the primary risk factors for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, but it’s time to shake up the salt myth. Though some studies do suggest that restricting salt can lower blood pressure, the evidence supporting a connection between salt intake and cardiovascular disease is weak at best. What’s more, some evidence suggests that restricting salt too much may be harmful to our health. (For more on this important topic, read my special report on salt.)

As usual, individual variation plays a role. It appears that a minority of the population is “salt-sensitive”, which means they’re susceptible to developing hypertension when consuming a diet higher in sodium. For the rest of us, there’s no strong evidence that reducing salt intake below one and one-half teaspoons (3,600 mg/d, which is the average intake in the US today) is beneficial.

Lifestyle

There are a number of steps you can take in terms of behavioral and lifestyle change to lower your blood pressure. These include:

  • Weight loss. Excess body fat can raise blood pressure, and reducing it can lower blood pressure.
  • Exercise. Endurance exercise, strength training, high-intensity interval training and simply moving around more during the day (outside of a distinct exercise period) have all been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.
  • Sleep. Both short sleep duration and poor sleep quality increase the risk that you’ll develop high blood pressure. (8) Correcting sleep apnea has been shown to reduce blood pressure. (9)
  • Sunlight. Exposure to ultraviolet light (via sunshine or tanning beds) increases the production of a chemical in our bodies called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator; it helps our blood vessels to relax, which in turn lowers blood pressure.
  • Meditation. Several studies have shown that meditation can be effective for lowering blood pressure, possibly via its relaxing effects on the nervous system. (10)
  • Deep breathing. Deep breathing is part of many traditional practices such as yoga, qi gong and certain forms of meditation. Even short periods of deep breathing have been shown to modestly lower blood pressure, and using deep-breathing techniques over weeks to months may lead to long-term reductions in blood pressure. Research suggests that three to four fifteen-minute sessions per week of deep breathing are sufficient to have this effect. (11)
  • Biofeedback. Biofeedback, the process of becoming aware of the body’s physiological functions, has been shown to effectively reduce blood pressure, with no side effects or risks. (12)

First get your weight loss, exercise, sleep and sun exposure dialed in. Then choose either meditation, deep breathing, or biofeedback and stick with it for a month. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Supplements

Several supplements have been shown to be quite effective for lowering blood pressure. In fact, research suggests that when combined together, diet and lifestyle changes and supplements can be even more effective than drug treatment.

Here’s a list of the supplements you should consider:

  • CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that plays an important role in protecting the heart. Levels of CoQ10 decrease with age and are lower in patients with diseases that are characterized by inflammation and oxidative stress, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. At doses of 100–225 mg per day, CoQ10 reduces systolic blood pressure by 15 mgHg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mgHg. (13) CoQ10 is fat soluble, which means it’s best to take with meals that contain fat. However, newer formulations are available that significantly improve absorption and lead to higher serum CoQ10 levels. These are the products I use in my practice: QH Absorb 100 mg and 200 mg.
  • Garlic. Clinical trials have shown that long-acting garlic supplements have a modest but significant impact on blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, with an average reduction of 8.4 mmHg (systolic) and 7.3 mmHg (diastolic). (14) Approximately 10,000 units of allicin (one of the active ingredients in garlic)—the amount contained in about four cloves of garlic—is required to have the desired effect. However, not all garlic supplements are comparable in their ability to lower blood pressure. This is what I use in my practice: Vital Nutrients Garlic 6000.
  • Magnesium. Magnesium taken in supplemental form at doses of 500–1,000 mg/d over an eight-week period has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. I recommend chelated forms of magnesium such as magnesium glycinate for optimal absorption and tolerance. This is what I use in my practice: Douglass Laboratories Magnesium Glycinate.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to modestly reduce blood pressure and improve arterial health in clinical studies. This is especially true for people who are low in vitamin C to begin with. The recommended dose is 1,000 mg a day. Liposomal forms of vitamin C are much better absorbed than typical oral preparations. This is what I use in my practice: Optimal Liposomal Vitamin C.
  • Potassium. Potassium may help reduce blood pressure, especially when dietary intake is inadequate. (15) The main dietary sources of potassium are starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato and plantain, fruits like banana, and some species of fish, like halibut, rockfish, and salmon. If you’re not eating these foods (e.g. you’re on a very low-carb diet), you may wish to supplement with 1,000–2,000 mg/d of potassium (though you should check with your doctor before doing this, and monitor your potassium levels; high-dose potassium supplementation over a long period of time may lead to mineral imbalances and can be dangerous).

When I wrote the bonus chapter on treating high blood pressure for Your Personal Paleo Code, I created a bundle of the supplements I use in my store to make it easier for people to purchase them (and save on shipping from multiple vendors). You can check that out here.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you have high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension? Have you tried any of the strategies in this article? What has worked best for you? Let us know in the comments section.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. pm says

    Isn’t it true that stomach acid destroys allicin in garlic?

    Is there a test that one can request from my physician to see how deficient I may be in potassium — or is it safe just to start with the dosage recommended in your article.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chris Kresser says

      If that were true, then studies wouldn’t show that allicin has an effect on BP—which they do.

    • K.M.Priyadarsanan says

      I am 57 and had a BP of 140-95 in 2003, with high lipid readings and was on allopathic medication till 2006 when I was introduced to a Deep Breathing Technique called Sudarshan Kriya and in 2009 to Meditation by my Guruji (yogic preceptor in India). I stopped medication totally and has now a controlled BP of 130-75 with marked lowering of cholesterol to 170, though my triglycerides are still high hovering at around 300.

  2. Mickey says

    Will regular blood donations lower blood pressure ( naturally )?
    Or phlebotomy for those that cannot donate blood?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Phlebotomy may lower blood pressure, yes. But I think getting to the root of the problem is a better approach.

      • John says

        Can high iron levels increase blood pressure? If so, donating blood would be addressing the root of the problem.

        • Liss says

          I think the root of the problem can be a bad diet, lack of sleep and exercise, bad habits, genetic factors etc. Donating blood probably would bring your BP down temporarily but it is not a solution.

  3. Tyranncaster says

    By law, potassium supplements are limited to 99 mg per pill. Trying to get 2000-4000 mg with supplements is literally impossible without a prescription.

    • Chris Kresser says

      You can get potassium gluconate powder pretty easily, which is 270 mg per 1/2 tsp. Our ancestors ate 10,000 mg/d of potassium, so that is certainly a safe dose from food. I’ve used 2,000–4,000 mg/d for short periods in my practice therapeutically, but this is only for people whose potassium intake from food is virtually nil (due to being on a VLC diet). It’s always best to get nutrients from food, of course.

      I updated the potassium section of the article accordingly.

        • Wayne Rivali says

          Maybe because the food was more real back then, and the soil it grew in wasn’t nutrient dead. I believe it has been proven, that high potassium saturations have been found in old bones that have been dug up.

      • Wenchypoo says

        You can also buy potassium orotate, which comes in 125 mg. pills (all you need due to absorbency rate), and is better absorbed than any of the others. Sure, it’s expensive, but IT DOES THE JOB. I use it twice daily (as well as eat lots of avocados), and am no longer hypertensive.

      • prioris says

        Contrary to what the medical establishment has said

        Salt is healthy. Removing salt from ones diet is detrimental to ones health.

        Himalayan salt is best since it has the entire spectrum of minerals.

        Sea Salt is the next best

  4. Kate says

    After years on the Paleo diet, I have conquered all of my obvious health issues except my “normal high” blood pressure, so this is a timely post. I have a copy of Your Personal Paleo Code. Where is the bonus chapter?

  5. Jay says

    Thanks for the great article!

    I’ve heard that liposomal vitamin C is better absorbed but have been unable to find anything conclusive. Do you have references for this you could provide? Or is this what you find in your clinical practice?

  6. Morgan says

    Hi Chris,

    Under the subtitle “How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally,” you have this sentence: “If you have “high-normal” blood pressure or mild hypertension, here are my top three recommendations for decreasing your blood sugar naturally.”

    Is that supposed to say blood sugar, or blood pressure?

  7. Peep says

    Could you list the highest food sources of potassium on a Paleo diet, like you did for magnesium? Thanks!

  8. says

    I’ve had recorded “high normal” BP for years, since my late 30s and been prescribed various drugs and diuretics to handle it. My acupuncturist says that I’m “cuff sensitive” and my BP shoots up when I get it taken in a dr.’s office. I got a wrist monitor to use at home, and calibrated it at the dr.’s office and the readings are a lot lower than what I get at the dr.’s but they vary alot. Any advice on how I can find out if I do have high BP?

    • Nicolette smit says

      BP always varies a lot. Depending on activity or situation. Do 3 days random testing and write down what was happening at the time of measurement. Such as: just had coffee, had an argument on the phone, was rushing to get to an appointment, sat down reading a book for a hour….

    • Chi says

      If you experience high BP at the Docs office, try assessing these factors:
      1. “White Coat” anxiety? [nervous being in Docs office]
      2. Did you just drive over 30 minutes in traffic, breathing exhaust fumes?
      3. Is your upper arm fattier than the forearm?
      4. Does the BP cuff hurt while pressure is being measured on the upper arm?
      5. If upper arm is larger, did the staff use a larger cuff on it?
      6. Is the cuff / arm held at an open angle to the body, level with the heart, relaxed?
      EACH of those things can cause higher BP readings–or in the case of using a cuff that’s too large on a smaller arm, artificially low readings.

      SOME remedies that you might need to teach your Doc’s office:
      1. If your wrist cuff measurements are fairly steady range, ask the Doc’s office to please measure yours by placing the BP cuff on your FOREARM.
      BP can be measured on any limb. They’re just used to using the upper arm. There’s less fat for the cuff to read through, and far less pain, for those who experience pain on the upper arm.
      2. Slow, regular breathing/meditation to calm yourself, in cases of anxiety at Doc’s office.
      3. Check that staff uses proper sized cuff on your arm.
      IF you ask them to use it on your forearm, and your forearm is about the size of a small upper arm, or a regular arm size, they should use a regular size BP cuff.
      4. Make sure the arm part that’s got the cuff on it, is level with the heart:
      If the cuff is lower than the heart, you can get artificial high readings, if it’s above the heart, you can get artificially low readings.
      5. IF you are chemically sensitive, some chemicals can jack up BP, for some people. You might need to invest in a carbon-filter mask for use while driving, to decrease amounts of exhaust chemicals inhaled [NOT a dust filter].
      OR, ask your Doc if you can measure your BP at home, keep a record to bring to the office for your file.

    • Wenchypoo says

      My case was called “white coat syndrome”, and I was told to take supplements that relax and calm me. I chose GABA combined with niacin to pass through the blood-brain barrier: Picamilon. This, along with potassium orotate, and many avocados cured me. I’m not exactly 120/80, but 130/74 as of last week. I home-monitor, and am frequently lower than tis at home.

  9. DebbieC says

    I’ve tried a bunch of these things so far, and can’t seem to get my BP below about 160/90. I’ve lost 100 pounds, take magnesium, vitamin C, CoQ10, krill oil, avoid most all sugar…and when I go to the doctor, etc my BP always seems to go to 200/100! Just had that reading earlier in the week in the ER after an auto accident. I had started doing meditation but life got in the way. Should take it up again as well as deep breathing. Need to learn more about biofeedback.

    • Dr. John says

      “White Coat Hypertension”
      The doctor’s presence makes you nervous and increases sympathetic tone.
      We are scary people.
      Stay at home, lay down (original posture when BP was first measured), and have a machine do it.

      • Marcella says

        Honestly this is a bad suggestion. BP while laying down is not an accurate reflection of someone’s BP unless they spend their life laying down. And I know I’ve gotten poor medical care in the past from medical professionals (specifically while pregnant) who thought that it was a good idea to just get me to lay down on my left side to take my BP when it was clearly high when sitting up. I don’t care if that’s how it was done a long time ago.

        But if it’s high when you sit up and move around then it’s high enough to cause actual physical damage in my experience. My BP can get high enough to cause pressure and pain in my head from it. But while laying down drops the BP, and only while laying down, it never gets rid of the physical symptoms of the high BP. And I don’t know any decent cardiologist who would accept a laying down BP as an accurate reflection of someone’s BP.

    • Chi says

      Please look for my reply above, re:
      using BP cuff on forearm instead of upper arm, exposure to exhaust fumes while driving, white-coat anxiety, arm positioning, cuff size, etc.
      ALSO, have you checked into sleep quality and length?
      Short sleep cycles, snoring, apnea, breath stopping, can all cause BP to jack up.
      SOME people have hyper-reactions to anxiety causing/stress events: these might instead of BP control, need something that helps even out their stress responses.
      IF you are indeed being really good at your diet and nutritional intake control, supplements regularly, etc., I’d look at the sleep and stress-response issues.

  10. Janice Murphy says

    In my experience, undiagnosed food sensitivities can also adversely affect blood pressure. One food I am sensitive to (eggs) caused horrible joint pain, muscle pain, digestive issues, and bloating. Once I cut them out of my diet, those symptoms disappeared, and my blood pressure went into the normal range. I also thought I had an abnormal sensitivity to salt (I have seen my weight swing up by 15 lbs in less than 48 hours after a spike in salt intake) but after cutting out eggs, my weight is pretty much unaffected by salt.

    • Chi says

      I’ve also heard, about eggs, that what the poultry eat, if they are free-ranged [for real], and also, if the females are kept separate from the males….all makes a difference in sensitivities to eggs and sometimes, poultry meat.
      One local egg producer, who feeds organic, lets them wander the fences yard, recently stopped allowing males in with the females, at request of a few clients—their Docs had told them this. Now they can eat eggs, and have no reactions.

  11. Lesley says

    As a stage III melanoma survivor, I have to warn against the use of tanning beds and recommend controlling your sun exposure. I understand the need for some sun, but people need to establish limits and be cautious.

    • John says

      Actually, from the only observational study that has been done, the people who got the most sun exposure had the fewest cases of melanoma. On top of that, most melanoma cases occur in areas that get the least sun (like inner thigh or chest as opposed to forearms or face). Number of sunburns, however, were associated with increased melanoma.

      • prioris says

        There has always been that disinformation about the dangers of sunlight. Even worse, the sun screens are also a hazard to ones healthy.

        I live in Florida and never use sun screens. My skin is pretty fair and healthy. I use to turn very dark 6 months out of the year but I found that using astaxanthin moderates that so I just keep a moderate tan year round.

        Many people will go to a swimming area and just lie in sun and tan themselves which is kind of insane. I go to swim.

        For aesthetic purposes, it might be better and safer to go to tanning salon than outside but used in moderation.

        When the azimuth of the sun in a location is above 50 degrees, you get beneficial rays that generate vitamin D. There is a navy website that calculates it. So there may be a period of year when sunlight could be more pernicious like sometimes in fall and winter but otherwise sunlight is healthy. I have intuitively sensed that sunlight is devoid of “nutrients” during that time.

  12. Joe says

    I monitor twice a day (shortly after I wake up in the morning, and shortly before I go to bed in the evening) with a wrist cuff, I am consistently ‘prehypertensive’ in the morning and ‘normal’ in the evening (based on the guidelines in the ‘Personal Paleo Code’ bonus chapter. Should I be concerned about this? I eat very low carb Paleo, with lots of non-starchy vegetables (and supplemental resistant starch) because I’m also trying to control blood glucose. Should I add back some safe starches in the evening and/or supplement with potassium?

    • Jesse Roberge says

      They say high morning BP can be caused by obstructive sleep apnea. My morning BP is always lower than my night BP (and it is when the BP meds are weakest), and I am an extremely loud snorer (symptom of obstructive sleep apnea).

  13. Carmen says

    I do all of this. I eat a clean diet that sticks to Paleo principles: clean protein (grass-fed, pastured beef, pork, poultry, some fish, and eggs), organic vegetables and fruits, quality fats, a few nuts now and then. Eliminated grains and legumes. Lost enough weight that I am trim but not skinny (a healthy BMI, if that counts for anything). Exercise nearly every day, but not to any crazy levels–easy running, yoga, swimming, moderate weightlifting, walks, hikes. Get out in the sun, get enough sleep, work to reduce stress and “live simply.” I supplement with magnesium and CoQ10. And yet…I have mild hypertension. My doctor says not to worry too much about it, but it troubles me. What else can I do? I’m a 52 year old female, just through menopause. Any suggestions?

    • pm says

      Kidneys have an important role in regulating Blood Pressure, so you might want to have them checked for any issues.

    • paul says

      You are not crazy. The methods Chris talks about do not work for the higher BP problems or for the older population. I changed my lifestyle years ago, am on all the recommended supplements, and suffer as you do. All the supplements may work if you start young and are deficient in them. Later they do not. I have seen many naturopaths and functional med docs who claimed they could “fix” the BP problem. They cannot. The docs, in their ignorance of how to fix the problem, call it “essential hypertension.” If you are otherwise not overweight, eat a healthy diet and take all the recommended supplements, the best you can probably do is to manage the problem. Don’t buy into the hype about fixing the problem. If there were a true universal approach to curing high BP it would be in headlines everywhere.

      • Chi says

        I had to try using large amounts of fresh garlic.
        The supplements, alone, failed me.
        I had to stop eating sugars and grains, and follow a mostly Paleo diet, too.
        I didn’t always have other supplements around.
        But I did have plenty of fresh garlic on hand.
        ====For BP that was catastrophically high, 190+/110+, I smashed, peeled and minced a whole head of fresh garlic, let that sit to air for 15 minutes to develop it’s allicin, then mixed that with an avocado to spread on veggies or a few crackers.
        Within a couple hours, it was down in normal range.
        Taking that much, daily for about 2 weeks, seemed to re-boot my BP into more normal ranges.
        Then I could decrease the amount used to several fat cloves of fresh garlic daily, mashed/minced and aired, with food, to control BP.
        With regular use, with food/good oils, BP seems to pretty much stay in the low-normal range [110/60 or 70]
        Using it with good fats, and having decent probiotics on board, there’s little or no offensive odor, either.
        But I don’t want to always eat garlic, so I go off that sometimes, and use the magnesium potassium gambit.
        Sticking to a Paleo-type diet, top-heavy with fresh produce, is key.
        I still need to lose a lot of weight, yet this mix of things has controlled BP that other methods failed to do–the BP drugs almost killed me with side effects.

        Might want to also check what else you are exposed to regularly, that could jack up BP–like exposures to chemicals–things that perfume, clean, burn, exhaust, etc., can jack up BP, cause breathing issues, rapid and irregular heart rates, neurological problems, etc.

      • prioris says

        I completely ignore high blood pressure. See my post on fibrinolytic enzymes on why. Blood pressure varies all day long. Taking a measurement and declaring it a problem is bogus and suspect. Low blood pressure would be a more serious problem.

    • Ben says

      Wow seems like you have done a lot. But have you tried changing your diet? Don’t be afraid of whole grains and legumes, they’re good for you and many cultures have consumed them to no ill effects. Decrease the amount of fat and meat and replace with starchy and non starchy vegetables. You should see a change. If not, check out true north health clinic in santa rosa. They reverse stubborn htn all the time with water fasting.

      • Carmen says

        I eliminated grains and legumes based on a lot of hard work figuring out what my body needs (i.e., this is my Personal Paleo Code at work). I also find I need more protein and fat. By eating this way I have lost about 40 pounds and am now at a healthy weight and feel better than I have in years. I don’t really worry about the blood pressure issue until I read something like this and wonder why, if I am doing all the “right” things my blood pressure still hovers near borderline hypertension.

  14. Morgan says

    Hi Chris,

    I’m a little confused by this sentence: If you have “high-normal” blood pressure or mild hypertension, here are my top three recommendations for decreasing your blood sugar naturally.

    Is that supposed to say blood sugar, or blood pressure?

  15. Joe says

    Chris,

    I have registered high normal BP all my adult life(130/85 average I would say although sometimes lower). I am a pretty well conditioned athlete, eat a careful paleo diet, have very good labs with low markers of inflammation, and supplement with most everything on your list. The one exception being coq10. I used that for a period at 200 mg per day and my BP dropped to an average of 115/70 or so. However, I started getting dizzy spells and ceased its use(the spells stopped too).

    I guess my questions would be, do you have any input on this and also, can individual variations in the high normal range really matter that much? If one’s BP holds pretty steady their entire life but it is slightly above normal, why would this be a risk factor if every other marker of health is strong or is the upside of the bell curve automatically a risk?

  16. C Lyons says

    So, a prescription for propranolol can be eliminated with a protocol of the recommendations above; perhaps?

    • Chi says

      When a person has been taking a BP drug for any length of time longer than, say, a couple weeks,
      you need to WEEN off that drug, never stop “cold turkey”.
      So, you’d start using the diet and supplements, and work with your Doc to ween off the BP drug[s].
      IF you experience heart issues or BP spikes while weening off BP drugs [or for those who take them, steroids]—–it could be very important to have Potassium to help counter that spike, or maybe, crataegus oxycanthus tincture, to help control those spikes—–those need monitored by medical professionals knowledgeable about them, willing to help you get off the drugs and handle your health using diet and supplements.

  17. Mark. says

    I regularly take small doses (well below suggested dose) of magnesium citrate laxative as a magnesium supplement. Seems to have no laxative effect. Am I getting any magnesium from it? No clue. Tastes mildly unpleasant. Already trying many things mentioned, but blood pressure is still a bit high, perhaps because I’m still overweight (255 lbs. when 200 would be about right).

  18. Kristyne says

    Spent 20 years battling high BP while also being treated with numerous meds for asthma including frequent corticosteroids which cause more problems than they help imo-what has worked for me is improved diet of whole foods, occasional meat, few but whole grain carbs, but the real kicker that has helped my BP is daily intake of Hibiscus flower as a tea. I use 1/2 C. Hibiscus in one quart boiling water, steeped 15 minutes to several hours depending on my own time schedule then consume as either 1 cup hot or mixed with additional 1 quart of cold water for iced tea. Great tasting and there are studies saying 3 cups a day are as effective as lisinopril. For me, has been very true. I also meditate, lead frame drum circles (drumming also very helpful for stress reduction) and eliminate what I find too stressful (like nightly news before bed!) Wellness to you!

      • JessD says

        I agree I’ve read that hibiscus tea is helpful for lowering high blood pressure. I don’t have bp problems, but I love herbal teas that contain hibiscus because they taste amazing!

    • DonnaE says

      I use hibiscus tea (also known as “Rosa de Jamaica”), and I believe it works just like my BP medication does: it’s a strong diuretic.

    • Chi says

      I wonder if hibiscus tea works the same chemical pathways in the body, as lisinopril / fosinopril?
      IF it does, then anyone sensitive to those drugs, may also be sensitive to hibiscus.
      Herbs can work the same as drugs do, but usually with fewer bad side effects, though, if using whole herb.

  19. Eldris Hobal says

    I’ve had high blood pressure since I was 20 years old and in good shape; although I did eat poorly. I’ve been on Norvasc for 20 years and want to come off! It makes me tired and I have suffered significant hair loss. I do eat healthy but still don’t exercise as regularly as I should. I must admit that I am a bit scared to come off; it feels like a safety net.

  20. says

    Hi everyone and Chris,

    I suffered from “low” blood pressure all my life and I keep being frustrated! Since hypertension kills and hypotension doesn’t, articles are always about hypertension. But even if hypotension doesn’t kill, it makes people live a miserable life.
    I wish sometime someone would write something about hypotension. I am sure it would make a lot of people less lonely…
    ;)

    Anyway, thank you Chris for all the healthy advices you “feed” us every day!

    Pascale

      • Chris Kresser says

        Have you tried salt loading in the morning? i.e. 1/2-1 tsp of sea salt mixed with warm water?

    • Anna says

      Thanks for mentioning it, Pascale. I may not die from low BP, but many days I already feel half-dead, having to move very slowly to keep myself from getting too dizzy to function. Doctors only suggest more salt – and congratulate me. Clearly, they have no clue how lousy life is at 100/60 or lower. Neither aging nor gaining weight nor adrenal support has helped bring it up. An answer to this problem would transform my life.

    • Nicolette says

      I guess there is not a lot written because there isn’t a treatment for it. I’ve only heard of in extreme cases it being treated with steroids (prednisolone). You don’t really want to do that.

    • Briana says

      I think Chris should write something about hypotension. Many of us have tried everything and can’t get it to raise. Caffeine or alcohol is the only thing that gets mine to a low normal status and I definitely don’t want to do either of those.

  21. Jeff says

    Also drink more water. I didn’t see it mentioned in the article, but I’m told dehydration can contribute to hypertension. I’ve been consciously drinking 5-6 glasses of water daily since I heard that, and more if I’m in hot weather or drinking coffee/alcohol.

  22. says

    I had low BP until I developed preeclampsia during pregnancy (it was a high stress period and I feel that stress affected me.) though preeclampsia is generally resolved with delivery of the child — for me this was not the case. Though it lowered from hospitalization levels, it remained mild hypertensive. I’ve spent the last 5 years searching for answers, trying everything to get back to my “old” numbers. It was great to read this piece Chris and see my own findings confirmed — “. . . studies have shown that drug therapy for “high normal” blood pressure and even mild hypertension is not effective.” I kept pointing to a potential hormonal problem causing my BP but no one in western med wanted to listen. Even supplements, like those mentioned above and exercise were not stabilizing it at a lower level (I would have weeks where it would spike with increased exercise!) After continuing to search, I added L-Theanine to my protocols (for anxiety) and the residual effect was an instant drop in my blood pressure — back to normal levels. Though my heart rate was still over 100. After finding out that my Ferretin levels were tanking recently (11!) I’ve begun taking Blood Builder as well and my heart rate has dropped to 80 (still a bit higher than I’d like but I think exercise will take it the rest of the way, the BP went even lower as well and I now, no longer have to take the Theanine. I also find NKO to work SO much better than regular fish oil. I do most of what you have listed above (I’ll probably add the Q10 for heart health — thanks!) I just took my BP and it’s 116/74. It’s been a long hard road, trying to parse the info on my own. For those of you still struggling — don’t give up, sometimes the smallest change can make a HUGE difference!

  23. Kelly says

    I am pregnant about 16 weeks. Have hasimotos thyroid and my first pregnancy had mild hypertension which they were scared of preeclampsia so I had to induce. At the time I was not diagnosed as hasimotos…I got diagnosed 10 months post pardum when I gain 10pd and my hair was still falling out. I with all my heart want a completely natural birth this time so
    I am curious as to what supplements to lower blood pressure would be safe at this time. I am usually measure about 120/80. so this article calls that high normal. Since pregnant I exercise mildly at least 4 to 5 days a week am out side plenty running after my two year old boy. So I feel like supplements are the next step. I am also lower carb paleo with some heavy cream, keifer, grass fed butter and grass fed raw milk and grass fed raw cheese occasionally. I was tested for dairy allergy and didn’t have a sensitivity. Plus I am still nursing my two yr old and feel better with dairy. I do take some about 300 magnesium gycinate, as well pure encapsulations nutrient 950 with vit k. And fermented cod liver oil. As well as extra vit d and folate. Was thinking I should add potassium and up my magnesium as well as add the garlic or COq10?

  24. AUDREY says

    My blood pressure dropped into the normal range, after taking meds for 3-5 years for hypertension. It think it was diet based. I have what I’ve diagnosed my self as yeast overgrowth, manifesting as sores under my top lip, reddening my top gums and giving me a chapped lip look/feel on the outside of my top lip. I’ve stopped sugar, carbs for 2-3 months, and low and behold, my blood pressure is consistently in the normal range, except for a few spikes/3-5 over a 30 day period, into the 140s range. I base it on diet!

  25. Jesse Roberge says

    The only supplement that lowers my blood pressure is standardized garlic extract (Allicin). I’m taking it in high doses and it lowers my BP by about the same amount as Lisinopril.

    CoQ10, Niacin, Fish oil, Flaxseed oil, L-Arginine, L-Carnitine, Quercetin, and Hawthorn have zero effect on my blood pressure. Niacin and Fish oil have worked wonders on my HDL (45->64) and triglycerides (185->85) though.

    Two weeks of 3-4 times per week at the gym is lowers my blood pressure too. When blood pressure gets near 115/75, my heart rate stays over 90 sitting, near 110 standing.

    10mg bid Lisinopril, 30mg od Nifedipine ER amplified by 125mg bid grapefruit seed extract (doc would have a cow if he knew about this), and 2400mg bid standardized garlic extract get my BP from 145/105 to just a tad over 120/80. The gym can get it down below 115/75 but my body fights it with sustained elevated heart rate but dropping the CCB gets it back over 120/80 and removes the elevated heart rate.

    • Jesse Roberge says

      I also get a lot of magnesium and vitamin C, but been taking high doses of these thorugh a mega-multi and a mega b-complex/C combo for a decade and a half, so if these lower my BP at all, its included in the base 145/105. My mom’s unmedicated blood pressure is 220/160.

  26. Cynthia T. says

    Taking Olive Leaf Extract capsules also help to naturally bring your high blood pressure down to a normal level. I have been using it for two years after being told by my doctor to either change my lifestyle or she was putting me on medication that I would have to take for the rest of my life. I changed things and found Olive Leaf Extract capsules! My highest BP was 169/109. And now it’s anywhere from 106/69 to 129/79 depending on when I take it throughout the day.

  27. bb says

    Among a multitude of health issues, i have one functional kidney, the other is still there but the renal artery has been completely occluded by lymph masses that I have all over my abdomen. Therefore creating high bp. I have been told I cannot live without meds. I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, not quite paleo, not quite vegan, I eat chicken. I am unable to do any type of cardio as I have restricted circulation due to masses. I am 5’6 112 lbs, am I stuck with meds for life?

  28. Rick Martin says

    I have heard from researchers say that adequate calcium is the most important element in controlling high blood pressure. I keep my pressure low with just calcium and potassium.

    • Jesse Roberge says

      My blood calcium is 10.2. I get 1000mg calcium per day from the vitamins, plus I am a heavy dairy consumer. If calcium did anything for me, it is included in the 145/105 initial unmedicated BP..

      • prioris says

        You should probably be on vitamin K2 and D3 for hypercalcemia.

        As far as the Tampa doctor, I am suspicious after reading his website. He seems focused on surgery.

      • prioris says

        In studies that have been done, they found that magnesium is critical to controlling the ratio of calcium ratio cell to plasma. It normally is 1 / 10000. Empirical evidence on a tribe which had high calcium intake but got 300 mg of magnesium per day didn’t show any affects and were healthy. A magnesium deficiency could be another possible cause of high calcium in the blood.

    • Jesse Roberge says

      I sweat alot, so my sodium, potassium, and chloride all run near the bottom of the reference range on my blood tests. Calcium sits on the top, but the olive leaf extract lowered but but that got neutralized when I started taking a multi-mineral supplement (to get more magnesium, which comes with twice the caclium). Magnesium is at the mid-point of the reference range. The water in AZ is also very hard and I use a gravity filter which leaves all that calcium and magnesium in.

    • prioris says

      If you take calcium, look into vitamin K2 MK7 and D3 otherwise you could be damaging your arteries with too much calcium. I think those doctor recommendations of 1500mg are way too much calcium.

      I have low magnesium so need to take calcium with it every day. I take no more than 600mg of calcium supplement.

  29. Debbie says

    Hi Chris,

    My blood pressure has never been high, but it fluctuates depending on my weight. I’ve posted before that I lost 80 pounds many years ago. Well, when my weight is around 134 my blood pressure is 110/70; recently I gained 8 pounds without being fully aware – agghhh! – and my blood pressure was 120/80. It was amusing – I told the doctor his scale was broken, but when I saw the blood pressure the pieces starting coming together.

    Now, my diet has included most of what you suggest above, in fact, all of it! I’m only 5′ 1″ so weighting 140 something is fat – no wonder my blood pressure is higher. But – here’s the problem – when my weight is lower, around the 134, which isn’t exactly skinny, I am weaker, have less energy, am dragging, am moodier, and get sick – I have a cold as we speak.

    So, which is healthier, and more to the point, why does my body seem happier when it’s fat? I’m wondering if one piece I’ve missed is digestive enzymes and stomach acid, and so I have actually ordered your new products. We’ll see.

    Thanks for the great post.

  30. Paul Gunning says

    Hi Chris

    In your article there is no mention of calcium channel blockers and the link between EMFs and high blood pressure.

    MDs often prescribe calcium channel blockers in order to lower blood pressure but these have a number of side-effects such as ankle swelling, headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, lung congestion, nausea, heart palpitations, abdominal cramps, diarrhea or constipation.

    Calcium Channel blockers otherwise known as calcium antogonists block calcium from going into blood vessel and heart cells. This helps to relax and widen artery walls. They are also used in the treatment of conditions such migraine headaches, arrhythmias and certain other circulatory problems

    Magnesium, Pottasium and calcium are all synergistic and indeed magnesium acts as a natural calcium antagonist. There are also a number of other natural calcium channel blockers such as hawthorn. This article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210006/ is entitled “Role of natural Herbs in the treatment of hypertension”.

    In addition, one of the known effects of man made non native radiation from mobile phones, wifi etc is that it causes calcium to be pushed out of cells into the blood system. Excess calcium in the blood system can contribute to atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls) and leading to high blood pressure.

    In June 2013, Prof. Martin Pall published an article in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular medicine entitled “Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects”
    See http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcmm.12088/full

    This page also lists over a dozen studies on the role of EMFs and calcium
    http://electricwords.emfacts.com/index-Ca.html

    • says

      Paul is correct here.
      Furthermore, we can see a link to the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in this pathway. As calcium continues to be effluxed, the body downregulates vitamin D production to avoid excitotoxicity and apoptosis.

      • Jesse Roberge says

        I get lots but not megadoses of vitamin D. From a megamulti and also Glucosamine Sulfate with MSM supplement (Jarrow jointbuilder).

    • Jesse Roberge says

      The Lisinopril helps my cramps. The side effects on the Nifedipine ER was nasty on the first day (nasty pain shooting up the neck arteries), tolerable for two weeks, and eventually went away. The Lisinopril hasn’t bothered me at all. No cough. The Garlic is hard on the stomach (Niacin is worse – must be taken an hour or so after a full meal or the pain is absolutely horrible for 20 min; garlic can go with a snack) but otherwise doesn’t bother me. The Nifedipine ER as well as soda makes Niacin flush worse, but Nifedipine ER doesn’t cause flushing on its own.

  31. Beth says

    I use QH Absorb and I’ve found that it has more of an effect on lowering my resting heart rate rather than my blood pressure. But a few things I’ve found that have made a huge impact on lowering my blood pressure:

    Supplementing with coconut oil. It was when I was taking 3 Tbsp. a day that my bp went so low that I told my doc I had to stop taking my bp meds. I’ve never gone back on them. Now I find that a good sized dollop in my coffee every day is enough to keep it in the normal range.

    Another one is a product called Chlorofresh, which is a liquid chlorophyll product that’s touted as an internal deodorant. A few weeks after taking it daily and my bp numbers dropped considerably. The product doesn’t make any claims about lowering blood pressure, but it was a nice, unexpected side effect.

  32. Janice says

    Having 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day sprinkled on yoghurt or added to drinks i believe has helped drop my blood pressure medication in one year from 32mg per day down to 8mg. I now plan on doing some form of exercise to reduce my medication to 0. :)

  33. Mary says

    I have been doing many of these things for years. Only now to find out I have erthromelalgia. I have reynauds also. The problem is that the vasodilation causes the flare ups. My blood pressure is much better using these supplements. I’m trying to figure out how to help one. I figure blood pressure is more important. I will have to just learn to manage the symptoms of the em. Any suggestions from anyone.

  34. Ann says

    Stress reduction? My otherwise fit and healthy, active 49 year old husband had increasing blood pressure over a 3 to 4 year period which reduced to a normal level pretty much immediately on resolution of a stressful family situation

  35. Jan says

    Something that no one has mentioned is chemicals in the environment and heavy metals. We are all probably suffering from this. I have a ton of mercury and am trying to detox that. Don’t know what chemicals I have as I haven’t tested for that. Also hormonal issues is another thing. I always had a good blood pressure until menopause and then that combined with a very bad reaction to a natural thyroid medication sent everything crazy. Not been able to get better since.

  36. prioris says

    Virtually all the risk of high blood pressure is focused on heart disease.

    You don’t want to focus on lowering your blood pressure but heart disease itself. Heart disease is caused by artery plaque and calcification of arteries. That’s what you want to focus on.

    Fibrinolytic enzymes can prevent heart attack and strokes. There have been no studies in the US because it would compete with TPA and coumadin. They have done thousands of studies in China on a fibrinolytic enzyme that comes from caterpillar. You can actually buy that online.

    The supplements that Chris recommends have to be taken every day over decades but will not address more severe and dire conditions. The reality is that people who feel healthy just aren’t going to take them so impractical. PLus they don’t really know if it is doing any good. When your young, old people diseases are irrelevant.

    Use nattokinase to clear away plaque with no side effects. Cost is economical. It can replace coumadin and TPA.

    Use vitamin K2 and D3 to clear away calcium from arteries.

    Use them separately but make clearing away plaque the priority since clogged arteries will kill you much faster.

    For people over 50, they should take nattokinase on empty stomach before going to bed. If they have heart disease symptoms, they should go 3 times a day until symptoms clear up. It will take one month to see improvement. It can take around 3-4 months to clear away half the artery blockage if severe. You can also add serrapeptase for added effect.

    After plague issue addressed, I’d do intermittent monthly cleanses with vitamin K2 MK7 and D3. Take with food. Anecdotal reports say people have seen drastic improvement in calcium reduction only a couple months. Vitamin K2 MK7 stays in blood for 4 days. It will compete with fibrinolytic enzymes so generally don’t use them at same time.

    In my situation, I use vitamin K2 MK7 once every 5 days since I have chronic coagulation and I have a little K3 floating around in me. I have to play it by ear.

    People under 40 generally are not at risk so I would just do a couple month cleanse every 10 years just like an oil change. Between 40 and 50, you have to eyeball your own situation in what is best.

    In an emergency situation during a heart attack or stroke, you can swallow a whole bunch. The body will only use whatever it needs so no overdose. It’s like taking TPA but dirt cheap.

    The only caveat is don’t take with aspirin. Many people are taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks but it won’t be needed anymore with nattokinase.

    • Heather Burkhardt says

      I am glad someone brought up the use of fibrinolytic enzymes. Ihave heard a lot of encouraging data about them. What is your take on this path Chris?

    • prioris says

      It will be difficult for him to comment on it because there are no US scientific studies. The other barrier is that the English translation of the chinese studies may not be available.

      If one has heart disease symptoms, it’s pretty straightforward to just try it out and know if it is working. Ones symptoms should start dissipating in a month. Plus it will not cost much. There is very little lose and a lot to gain.

    • Julia says

      I have never heard that Vitamin K2, MK7 competes with fibrinolytic enzymes in the blood. Since my daughter takes both, I would love to see some references on the subject. Any links you could point me towards? Thanks!

      • Chi says

        There’s research out there.
        Allergy Research Corporation has done some double-blind studies using Nattokinase, with and without also taking other drugs to control cholesterol, etc.
        Nattokinase worked very well.
        Some fibrinolytics work better or different than others–different chemistry pathways in the body.
        Vitamin K helps control clotting functions.
        There are various forms of K, each works a bit differently.
        It’s now recommended to use K when taking D3. OR, eat LOTS of dark green leafy veggies, preferably raw or in smoothies–they work synergistically.

        I’ve always wondered why take a drug, if the nutritional supplement, herb, or food, is doing the job with less side effects?

        Nattokinase seems to work great in our household, helping keep blood vessels in better shape.
        Since many supplements I take, also act as blood thinners, taking sufficient amounts of Vitamin K prevents bruising, for instance.

      • prioris says

        Vitamin K2 is a coagulant.
        Nattokinase is an anticoagulant.
        You can look it up.

        One can probably take both but it depends upon a persons current state of health and what they are trying to accomplish. What I try to do is provide a general framework of understanding. Ultimately, one must customize the information to suit ones health situation.

        It’s really about experimenting. As people use it more, more anecdotal experience will accumulate on the do’s and dont’s of using both at same time. I have to play it by ear week to week in using both for my situation so I can’t give any better guidelines than what I posted.

        If one has arterial plague that is causing problems, I’d concentrate on plague first since it can kill much faster. Once arteries are clear enough, they have more leeway to use K2. If your daughter is under 40 then plaque usually isn’t a problem.

        If under 40 and relatively healthy, she could do cleanses with each for 2-3 months every 5-10 years to remove built up artery plaque and calcium. Maybe 5 years from now there could be different recommendations.

        D3 works with K2 so important.

        For people who are prone to nose bleeds, vitamin K2 is what I would suggest as a remedy.

  37. G.Barton says

    ““high normal” blood pressure (120–129 / 80–84 mmHg) increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 46% on average”… is a bit hard to believe based on one reference.

    A relative statistic can also be misleading. Is it 46% of one in ten or 46% of one in a million?

    Is it accurate to say that ‘my blood pressure is…(x)”? Blood pressure goes up and down all day. Far more meaningful to express one’s own blood pressure in a range.

    Also, the implication of your article is that ‘lower is better’. Low blood pressure is just as much a curse as high blood pressure. Might it not be better to refer to “optimal range”? Of so 130/80 at the top end does not seem problematic.

  38. Ken says

    Hi Chris,

    I too suffer with essential HP, despite following your recommendations and being at a healthy weight (155 pounds at 6′), working out, and eating according to your book. Thanks for that, as prior to your book I was eating way too few carbs. Anyway, what’s your opinion of Dr. Sinatra’s listing of recommended supplements, specifically L-carnitine and D-ribose, as found here:

    http://www.drsinatra.com/best-heart-health-nutrients-to-consider

    I know L-carnitine was in the news a few years back when tied to Saturated Fat and heart disease, but wasn’t sure if it would be worth adding to my supplement mix to attempt to get off at least one of the three BP drugs I use. I don’t suffer any of the symptoms that could indicate an issue with my thyroid or adrenal glands (unfortunately).

    Thanks,
    Ken

  39. Susan says

    My blood pressure was running around 169/95. I started using magnesium, CoQ10, and vitamin C supplements, and it came down to around 149/85. My naturopathic doctor asked me to begin using hawthorne capsules and potassium. The last two times she checked my blood pressure it was around 117/70.

  40. Randall Glass says

    I think most doctors are educated fools.

    They do not look for the cause of disease but simply give out prescription drugs.

    The side effects of prescription drugs are worst then disease. Especially the newer prescription drugs.

    Doctors are trained to treat high blood pressure with
    prescription drugs, not low for the cause of the high blood pressure.

    I was having erratic blood pressure of 190/110.

    All the VA doctor offered me a drug, that made hard for me to think, and blurred my vision.

    No one here has mentioned secondary parathyroidism, caused by low calcium and vitamin D levels.

    This can cause erratic high blood pressure.

    I found out when I added about 25,000 IU of Vit D per day, my blood pressure went to about 140/88.

    Big difference.

    You have to find the cause of the high blood pressure, not just treat the symptoms.

    • prioris says

      The conventional medical system is a health care catastrophe but by design. Doctor’s education is based on that design.

      As far as getting to the root of the high blood pressure – we know that virtually all the associated risk is in the heart disease area. Heart disease – not blood pressure – should be the focus. Another part of the blood pressure problem is imaginary. Peoples blood pressure vary all day long. Claiming some pressure is abnormal based on some reading may be stepping into a murky area. Better to just find things to make your arteries healthy.

  41. sagajo says

    If you’re on a low carb diet, wouldn’t the best food source for potassium, besides fish, be stuff like kelp and dulse?

  42. Frederik says

    I have a congenital narrowing of my aorta – for which I have had several balloon dilations and two stents put in – which have extended my aorta from 3mm in diameter to 9 mm (normal would be 12 mm). My blood pressure is however still about 140/80 during the day when measured using 24 hour measurements (wearable). I have a resting pulse of about 50 or lower – and I am not nearly as fit as that would suggest. I have no signs of increased aortic calcification- so my problem is not lifestyle related.

    Any qualified thoughts/references on my risk and what I can do about it? If the blood pressure is THE cause – then I should be in trouble – and the calculated risk of both hypertension and using the drugs should be at least somewhat applicable to me – if hypertension is just a marker for a bad lifestyle and arterial calcification – I may have less of problem – but also less info on how to evaluate the risks of my situation and what I should do (take drugs? etc.).

    I am a 25 year old male – average muscle mass – low body fat percentage – primalish diet.

    • prioris says

      I would have advised against stent surgery and had you use vitamin K2 MK7 and D3 for calcification.

      Someone in my neighborhood who was pretty old had stent surgery and I told her to take the nattokinase and stop her Plavix medication. She walked around in pain all the time. The cardiologist wanted her on the medication. Her regular doctor wanted her off the medication. Plavix is a bad medication to be on.

      It is hard convincing people to get off their medication unless their doctor gives okay but she realized she needed to eventually transition off it. I also told her it was causing her stomach ulcer problems.

      She did take the nattokinase immediately.

      First thing she noticed was that her night time cramps in her feet disappeared. I notice if I don’t take it, my foot cramps will come back. They are so painful. I also take magnesium to keep muscles from stiffening up. So I don’t have any problems.

      After a couple weeks, she started to enjoy taking walks on the beach with no pain for first time in a long while. She walks her dog every day. She is much happier now. She was so relieved.

      Giving medical advice to people who have had surgery complicates matters.

  43. Darrell Addison says

    Read with great interest the post regarding nattokinase.
    Apparently this is derived from soy. Woud that not exclude any potential benefit?

    • prioris says

      It should not be a problem because there are many different sources for fibrinolytic enzymes for someone who can’t take nattokinase.

      The problem with soy is that it has an enzyme that prevents the absorption of nutrients. Fermented soy removes that enzyme. I generally try to avoid non fermented soy when eating food.

      Nattokinase gets taken on an empty stomach so it doesn’t get wasted trying to dissolve food particles so the soy should not an issue for most people since one is interested in the fibrinolytic activity it creates.

      The Nattokinase sold comes from Japan is called NSK-SD. Here is a white paper that gives more detailed information on it.

      http://www.healthyhabitsweb.com/pdf/Natto-white-paper.pdf

      Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic enzyme considered to be a promising agent for thrombosis therapy.

      There are other sources for fibrinolytic enzymes

      Serrapeptase
      Boluoke (lumbrokinase) … this was used in china studies
      Nattozime (derived from fungus vs bacteria)

      I am only familiar with nattokinase and serrapeptase. After experimenting, I have to take both due to chronic blood coagulation.

      I tried the nattozime. It seems to work but I like the bacteria derived a little better.

      here is other info I found on blood pressure although I don’t advocate focusing on blood pressure

      “Treating high blood pressure with serratiopeptidase. Some people report improvement in hypertension after taking a product that combines both serratiopeptidase and another proteolytic enzyme called nattokinase. It is actually the nattokinase that makes the difference, not the serrapeptase. The nattokinase breaks down into an ACE-inhibitor that lowers blood pressure by stopping the production of another enzyme called angiotensinogen. If you are taking an antacid or any of the common medications for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), nattokinase won’t break down in the form that helps high blood pressure.”

      The only other caveat I can think of is that it is not a replacement for more rare types of blood coagulation problems although it should be able to replace TPA or coumadin although there will never be any studies done on this to prove it.

    • prioris says

      Just some added info.

      Over 10 years ago I developed peripheral artery disease before age 50. It was very difficult walking. Since I took the enzymes the heart disease symptoms disappeared fairly quickly. I walked and move like I was young again.

      I still felt my legs weak when exerted very strenuously for too long. At first I thought that the little tiny arteries had developed damaged but I found years later that that by taking creatine, the endurance in my legs came more back to normal. As one ages, ones creatine levels drop. I think it was said that the creatine levels in ones body drop to 10% by age 70. I take it with equal amount of sugar.

      I had to go to dentist to have something looked at. While at the office, they took my blood pressure. It was 158/90. That is considered stage one hypertension. I ignore it and I focus on my artery health.

      What the govt / medical establishment has done is focus on a superficial symptom. You don’t treat superficial symptoms. You treat underlying root causes.

  44. HMichael Hawkins says

    All the males in my family – my Father, my brothers, and my sons, suffer from high B/P. I caught my pre-disposition to high B/P when I was young (36…I’m now almost 74), and was fortunate to always have an Annual Physical where my health has been monitored. With medication, I have consistently kept my B/P at an acceptable level (this morning it was 109/56, Pulse 39 at rest.) In your article you mention several levels of B/P, but do not identify what is the ideal level for healthy living. I’m going to guess the most important factor in maintaining a healthy B/P would be to loose weight. I struggle (unsuccessfully) to be at a healthy weight. At 5’7″ – 196 lbs., I know I am overweight, but have not been able to be a thin person. I am a gym person 5 days a week, and eat healthy meals (thanks 100% to my wife)….just too much of those healthy meals. When I consume food, it seems a “Hunger Switch” is thrown, and I do not stop eating until I have damaged myself. I’d sure like to find that switch, and control it better.

    • Michael says

      HMichael, If you are following a strict Paleo type diet the hunger switch is usually off for most people. I used to weigh over 300 pounds and now I am around 200 pounds and feel great. By eating a high fat low carb diet the weight just melted off. Anyway, not sure what you are eating, but everyone I know who has tried eating this way has been very successful.

  45. prioris says

    This is something anybody who is concerned about high blood pressure should read and ponder.

    A key question has been missing from this whole discussion of high blood pressure.

    I talked about part of the problem above in my posts – neglecting underlying causes. We know that heart disease is at the root of the concern regarding HBP. The other part is this following question below.

    Do high blood pressure medications actually prevent heart disease – heart attacks, strokes or death ?

    This is the question you want to answer.

    For starters, read these links for a different perspective

    http://www.thincs.org/Malcolm.htm#hypertens1

    “However, in about ninety per cent of cases when the blood pressure is raised, no cause can be found. At which point
    the medical profession, rather than using the somewhat pathetic sounding term ‘Raised blood pressure of no known cause,’ decided to rename the condition Essential Hypertension. You’ve got to admit, this sounds a great deal more scientific and ‘disease like.’ In fact it sounds so impressive that Essential Hypertension has managed the transformation from ‘symptomless medical sign’ to a real disease, one that needs to be treated.”

    http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/blood-pressure-blood-pressure-control-with-medication-does-not-prevent-heart-attack-stroke-or-death.html

    • DebbieC. says

      I love Malcolm Kendrick, but I must say his article was depressing. It seemed to be saying “high BP doesn’t matter, as once that shows up as a symptom you’re already screwed anyway so trying to lower it isn’t going to buy you anything”. That felt very defeatist to me.

      • prioris says

        The point of the article was to show the myth of high blood pressure as the problem to solve. It is like focusing on bringing down their temperature for someone who has a fever. Temperature did not cause the problem. Blood pressure and temperature are just the bodies way of adapting to the problems.

        As far as defeatist attitude, that articles were written in between 2002-2004. Fibrinolytic enzymes just barely started to come out of the starting gate.

        Malcolm Kendrick is a Scottish doctor and author of The Great Cholesterol Con (2008). His website is http://drmalcolmkendrick.org

        The bottom line is that you need to focus on the root cause.

        Malcolm just may not know enough about fibrinolytic enzymes when he wrote those articles and still may not know enough. You need to put together the jig saw puzzle. Don’t expect a doctor to tell you everything. I just gave you the solutions.

  46. DebbieC. says

    Wow, I have to say I’m amazed so far with Hibiscus tea. I’m the one who reported earlier getting a reading of 200/100 in the ER after an auto accident, and they flipped out. Saw this post of Chris’s just after so it was very timely – but I was already following a lot of his advice.

    But I ordered some hibiscus tea online after reading here. While waiting for it to arrive I took my BP at home – 180/95. Sheesh, not much better than the ER reading. When the hibiscus came I began drinking two cups a day.

    Within about 4 days my BP readings were 153/80, 156/86 – huge improvement. Now several days after that my two most recent readings are 135/75 and 127/69. Looking good!

    • prioris says

      But did you really address the underlying problems or did it just cover it up ?

      Will bringing down your blood pressure actually prevent heart attack, stroke etc ?

      This is the crux of the issue.

  47. tmc240 says

    I have relatively high BP for being in my late 20′s. I exercise regularly 3-4 times a week. What foods, according to the Paleo diet, should I be including in my daily intake? Thank you!

    • prioris says

      Just think what foods improve the health of your arteries.

      Being so young, you may be more prone to calcification in your body.

      Just to make sure you actually do have abnormal high blood pressure, you should get multiple blood pressure readings over time and not just one reading.

  48. prioris says

    Just an update in my experimentation

    I told you before I needed to be careful using vitamin K2 due to coagulation affect.

    I found that by adding higher doses of vitamin D3, I don’t have the problem of thickening of blood. Vitamin K2 needs enough D3 to create matrix Gla-protein (MGP) which clears away calcium and plaque attached to calcium.

    I do get enough sunlight. I have a tan. I am around 245 lbs. Someone estimated that one needs 35 grams of D3 per pound of body weight. That comes to about 8400 IU. Not sure if that is true but I take between 6000 to 8000 IU irregardless of whether I was in sunlight. I even doubled my K2 dose to 200 and had no negative effects.

    I will update this only if I run into other problems.

    Just some added info. Some people may find no benefit with fibrinolytic enzymes with regard to blood pressure because they primarily have calcification problem. so someone who has primarily calcium in their arteries won’t benefit with nattokinase as much but will with vitamin K2 / D3

    the degree of plaque and calcification will be different in each person. since we usually don’t know, we need to experiment.

    sometimes i come across someone saying nattokinase is a blood thinner. just to be clear. it is a clot buster. not a blood thinner. it will clear away clots made of plaque over time if you have them.

    I have seen many anectdotal reports that say taking both the nattokinase and serrapeptase is more beneficial. plus it may solve other health problems unexpectedly as a bonus.

    Since a few people out there may be on the verge of death due to a heart disease (clogged artery occurring) , I need to just make sure those people prioritize clearing away at least some of the plaque first. It will be the plaque (not the calcium) that will be the event that will be the final event that will cause death. For the more healthier people, I don’t see it being an issue.

    • Valerie says

      This has been a very interesting post. I believe you are right about getting to the root cause of HBP. I eat grass fed and pastured meat etc, and one of the many benefits is vitamin K2. Vit K2 helps your body absorb calcium and helps prevent calcium from getting into arteries also. After reading your many comments I’m not sure that I’m getting enough. The combination of vitamin K2, D3 and calcium is a powerhouse.

  49. says

    I agreed if we only have short sleep duration and poor sleep quality, it will increase the risk to develop high blood pressure :) Based on my experiences.

  50. says

    Should we examine the data on blood pressure more closely? We know that traditional beleifs have it all wrong when it comes to understanding the cluster of diseases known as lifestyle diseases and high blood pressure is one of them. The Cochrane Study is and eyeopener. What are the real risk levels of blood pressure. The Chinese study quoted says that men have an increased risk of 80% even with 120-129/80-85 – That seem totally inconsistent with Cochrane study. Something does not add up.

  51. Price Weston says

    I generally don’t buy potassium capsules/pills but go for bulk potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate and get several kilos at a time. I generally take 5 grams of either twice a day mixed in a glass of water. Yuck. They are roughly 36% and 39% potassium so I get just over 3 grams/day of potassium. To get that it would require 30+ pills – which I used to take – because of the legal limit of 99 mg/capsule. I figure if for some irrational reason the FDA makes it hard to get potassium supplements, I will head to the home store and pick up a 40 lb bag of potassium chloride used in water softeners. Not my preference.

    I once went to the ER with elevated heart rate – for me – and they sent me away saying to see my normal doctor. The blood work showed low potassium – they said nothing. After a week of trying to lower pulse rate with much extra beta blocker (before going to the ER), 500 mg of potassium did the trick in 30 minutes. I once saw some research on blood pressure meds and all cause mortality and all but two didn’t improve all cause mortality. Metoprolol lowered all cause mortality below people without high blood pressure and hydrochlorothiazide helped somewhat when used as a secondary drug.

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