Are Doctors Clueless About High Blood Pressure?

Did you know that in almost every case of high blood pressure, doctors have no idea what’s causing it?

That might seem a little strange in this day and age. But if you go to the doctor and they diagnose you with high blood pressure, about 95% of the time they are going to classify it as primary hypertension, or essential hypertension.

That’s doctor-speak for, “I have no clue as to why, but you have high blood pressure.”

Yet, without knowing the cause, they go ahead and prescribe you a drug that they expect you to take for the rest of your life. Because high blood pressure, or hypertension, is what they call a “treatable” condition.

That’s doctor-speak for, “we give you a drug for that.”

Here’s the problem: Of those taking blood pressure medications, between less than half to only two-thirds get their blood pressure under control.3

Something about the whole thing doesn’t sit quite right. So since your doctor won’t do it, let’s talk about what’s REALLY happening. Then I’ll show you two simple, natural ways that can be more powerful than any drug to lower your blood pressure for good… no prescription necessary.

“What is Blood Pressure, and Why Do I Care?”

Your blood pressure is the force your heart generates to move blood through your blood vessels. A blood pressure level reading has two numbers, one “over” the other. The top number is your systolic pressure and the bottom number is you diastolic pressure.

It’s still measured in millimeters of mercury, even though modern blood pressure monitors don’t use the old thermometer-style tube with actual mercury in it.

Systolic is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, and the diastolic number is the pressure between heartbeats (when your heart is resting).

Some in the medical community try to classify blood pressure that measures from 120/80 to 139/89 as “high normal,” but don’t be fooled. That’s too high!

Studies show that blood pressure levels ranging from only 120-129 mmHg over 80-84 mmHg diastolic were associated with an 81% higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to levels of less than 120/80 mmHg.

And For every 10mm change in the diastolic number, your risk of heart attack or stroke goes up by 35%. For every 20 mm of systolic blood pressure above 115, heart attack death rates doubled.

You’d like these two numbers read something below 120/80. Ideally, you want to see 115/75 mmHg.

You already know the drugs they want you to take only work sometimes, and could be dangerous. But also, while there are dozens of herbs and foods that can to help bring your blood pressure down, there are two minerals that are the most critical.

Magnesium: Your Body’s Natural Blood Vessel Relaxer

Magnesium is a powerful calcium-channel blocker, which is also a class of blood pressure drugs that try to imitate magnesium’s effect. But why take a synthetic pharmaceutical when a natural mineral can do the same thing?

Magnesium is a macro-mineral. What that means is you need a lot of it, instead of just a trace amount. At any one time, your body has around 25 grams of magnesium that it uses for more than 300 biochemical reactions.

One of the things magnesium does best is to tone your blood vessels. That means they’ll stay strong, but also flexible and relaxed so your blood can pump freely.

And getting enough each day also lowers blood pressure. A review of twenty-two clinical trials involving 1,173 people gave them from 120 to 973 mg of magnesium. The results showed magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, systolic pressure decreased 3–4 mm Hg, and diastolic decreased 2–3 mm Hg. The best results came from taking higher amounts.2

Good food sources of magnesium are nuts like almonds and cashews (OK, that’s technically a seed), spinach, bananas and pinto beans. But that won’t give you enough for optimal health, and certainly won’t lower your blood pressure much.

For that you’ll need to take in around 1,000 mg a day. It’s best to separate that into two doses as too much magnesium at once can cause diarrhea. You should take vitamin B6 with magnesium to help it get absorbed into your cells.

There are almost a dozen forms of magnesium you can take as a supplement, but I recommend magnesium citrate because it’s inexpensive and very absorbable.

The other mineral you need for lowering blood pressure is potassium. It helps optimize your blood pressure. And for people who eat a Western diet, adequate potassium intake helps balance blood pressure raising effect of processed salt intake.

The suggested potassium intake for adults is 4,700mg a day, but most Americans get far less. And that’s bad news, because studies show that low daily intakes of dietary potassium, less than 1,500 mg, are linked to high blood pressure.

One study found that while getting potassium citrate, the natural kind found in food, people’s average blood pressure dropped from an average of 151/93 down to 138/88.

Good sources of potassium are the same ones you get magnesium from; bananas, dark leafy vegetables, beans, and also yogurt. That’s no surprise since magnesium helps regulate potassium, so they occur together in nature.

Apricots, chickpeas, chicken and fish are good sources too, as are fermented soy dishes like edamame. Two incredible sources of potassium that you may not have heard of are the moringa, which is a food tree that grows in Africa and Southeast Asia. You can find it at specialty health food stores. Fresh leaves have around 250 mg.3

Coconut water is another good source of potassium. Each serving will also have around 250 mg. A banana, by contrast, only has 88.

I do not recommend potassium supplements. This is one case where nature is best.

1 Mosley W, Lloyd-Jones D. “Epidemiology of hypertension in the elderly.” Clin Geriatr Med. 2009 May;25(2):179-89.

2 Kass L, Weekes J, Carpenter L. “Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure…” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2012; 66, 411-418.

3 C. Gopalan, B. V. Rama Sastri, S. C. Balasubramanian, “Nutritive value of Indian foods.” National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, 1989; 156 pages.

© Copyright 2012 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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