How (And Why) to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally | Chris Kresser
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How (And Why) to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

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Lowering your blood pressure naturally is key to long-term health. Creatas/Creatas Images/Thinkstock

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 (published in paperback as The Paleo Cure in December 2014), 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.

305 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

      • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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).

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

    • 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Yes, garlic CAN help control high BP found in aging populations. IT might not fix everyone’s, especially if they are deficient in potassium and magnesium. But it pretty much does help everyone with normalizing BP, regardless of age.
        I’m well over 60. I had catastrophically high BP.
        BP drugs almost killed me.
        Fresh, crushed, minced garlic, properly prepared, and LOTS of it, daily for a few weeks, cured that high BP, no adverse effects. Eaten with good fats like avocado, and there was no stink from it, either.
        After a few weeks consuming one head of garlic per day, prepped like that, I decreased that to several fat cloves of fresh garlic daily, prepped the same, and continued that for several months.
        After that, I was able to just use a few fat cloves of well-prepared garlic every few days, and BP has remained in normal range. If it spikes for some reason, I increase garlic again.
        No problem.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • CARMEN, I AM LIKE YOU, BEEN GOOD ALL ROUND MOST OF THE TIME.
      BUT JUST THIS WEEK REALLY NOTICED THE EFFECT POTATOES, PEPPERS, TOMATOES HAD ON ME. I WOULD HAVE PROBABLY HAVE ONE OT TWO OF THESES EVERY OTHER DAY IN MY DIET SOMETIME. I AM BLOOD TYPE O AND THESES ARE REALLY TOXIC TO ME AND CAN CAUSE ACHES AND PAINS, INFLAMATION, IN JOINTS AND MUSCLES. i STOPPED EATING THEM AND IT IS LIKE A LIGHT COMING ON! AND MY BP HAS DROPPED!

      • I am type O too. Prone to ulcers this type. Blood already thin naturally. O types do better with meat and protein, not good with carbs. O types live to be in their 90’s according to researchers, and they also do not get Alzytimers. Can’t spell that. My moms sisters were all in their mid to late 90’s, and one was 103. They all had O blood. My mom only died at 92 becuz she stopped eating and starved to death., otherwise i think she would have made it to mid 90’s or more.

  8. 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?

    • 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).

    • I read that morning the blpr is most always higher. I wait an hour or more before i take it. After i walk around more it is lower. If i take it as soon as i awake it will always be high. It lowers at nite naturally.

  9. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • I read that children are now getting Rickets due to much lower levels of Vitamin D…due to wearing sunscreen while outside and so the body cannot make Vitamin D while being in the sun. Only 20 minutes is needed to make D i read.

  10. 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • “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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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?

    • 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….

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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

        • I do have pink Celtic sea salt and sometimes use a tiny amount. Three wks ago i tried using a lot of cayenne pepper cause i read it lowers the blood pressure – well, again for me i could not use it. It sky rocketed my blood pressure to 190/105. I had drank a half ts in water when the pressure was at 140 and instead of lowering it my pressure went thro the roof. I then read that in some people it will rise. So be careful with cayenne. The next day it was under 140. And yes it is higher when i wake up, but a couple hrs later is lower and lower at night. Right now i can’t get it below 140/85 as i have had too much salt these last two days.

      • I tried the potassium chloride salt and i found out i can’t use it as i had a peptic ulcer ten yrs ago. After a wk of using this salt my stomach started to ache real bad. I had to stop using it. The ache went away the next day. I am sorry i can’t use it. I do use hawthorn, garlic and others. I found out that i am salt sensitive as eating a lot of it like chinese food it sky rockets to 198/115 ! The next day it is 140/85 or much lower. On an empty stomach it can be 119/76. I struggle with it every day. I am 66 yr old female.

      • I tried that. It irritated my stomach real bad. I had to stop. But i am O type and had an ulcer 12 yrs ago, so i can’t take certain things. I can’t take Tumeric either as it is an antimflamatory and bothered my stomach too.

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

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

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

        • 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.

      • I was told that they won’t take your blood if you take blood pressure drugs. A hospital worker told me that, but i don’t know if it’s true.

  19. 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.

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

    • 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.

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