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Dangers of ACE Inhibitors and Natural Alternatives

Hypertension doesn’t mean life on medication. We discuss the dangers of antihypertensive drugs and natural alternatives to ace inhibitors.


If you have high blood pressure, you may have been prescribed an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, often called an ACE inhibitor. Alternatively, you may have been given an angiotensin receptor blocker, or ARB. ACE inhibitors are a commonly prescribed pharmaceutical for blood pressure, with over 40 million people taking this drug daily. 

Both drugs work on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, a group of hormones that help to manage blood pressure. ACE inhibitors reduce the body’s ability to produce angiotensin II, a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow. On the other hand, ARBs block the action of angiotensin II. Either way, with less circulating angiotensin II, blood vessels widen. As a result, blood pressure lowers, and blood flow to the heart improves. 

Sounds great, right? Not so fast. 

Dangers of ACE Inhibitors 

As with all medication, ACE inhibitors have side effects, some of which are life-threatening. Perhaps the most common side effect of ace inhibitors is a persistent dry cough, often called ACE cough. While a cough may seem like a benign side effect, it causes significant problems for many people, including sleep disturbances and incontinence.  

Other “minor” side effects associated with ACE inhibitors include: 

  • Elevated blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches 
  • Altered taste
  • Rash 
  • Increased risk of other infections, such as pneumonia 

The use of ACE inhibitors has been linked with more serious side effects as well. In some instances, these drugs unexpectedly trigger swelling in the tissues, medically referred to as angioedema. When this swelling occurs in the mouth or throat, it quickly becomes life-threatening. In fact, ACE inhibitors are the leading cause of drug-induced angioedema in the United States. 

Moreover, multiple studies have now linked the use of ACE inhibitors with lung cancer. For example, a 2021 study concluded that high use of ACE inhibitors was associated with a 33 percent higher risk of lung cancer.  

Natural alternatives to ACE inhibitors and ARBs

It’s unfortunate that so many physicians sprint write to prescriptions for dangerous blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors, without considering natural and effective alternatives. Some of the best natural anti-hypertensives include: 

Beetroot powder

Beets are indeed a healing food. This is because beets contain high levels of nitrates, which the digestive system converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (NO) is a natural vasodilator that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. 

Multiple studies have confirmed that beetroot juice does indeed lower blood pressure. For example, this 2018 systematic review of random clinical trials concluded that beetroot lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

Our specially formulated organic Heart Beet Powder contains a unique blend of beetroot, beet and carrot juices, spinach, and kale sprout concentrate. These ingredients combine to support nitric oxide production, thus lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. 

Vitamin D 

Individuals with hypertension often notice that their blood pressure decreases during summer. Sure, the less stressful, lazy summer days may contribute to this natural decrease. However, it’s likely the impact of the sun that is truly making a difference. 

The human heart and blood vessels have many vitamin D receptors, indicating that vitamin D does play a role in heart function. While there is opposing evidence surrounding the link between vitamin D and hypertension, most research suggests that lower vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure. 

Super D is a concentrated liquid vitamin D3 formula made to enhance the absorption and utilization of vitamin D in the body. As a result, super D supports healthy blood pressure and vascular system and is perfect for individuals who simply can’t get enough sun. 

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral when it comes to heart health. In an ideal world, we would get all the magnesium we need from our diets. But, unfortunately, much of our food is depleted of this vital nutrient. 

Research shows that magnesium is an effective anti-hypertensive. A 2016 meta-analysis of 34 randomized, double-blind studies concluded that oral magnesium supplementation significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

While there are many magnesium supplements on the market, most only contain one type of magnesium. Magne 5 is a specially formulated supplement created by Dr. Jack Wolfson. Instead of one type of magnesium, Magne 5 includes the five essential kinds. This combination works at the cellular level to support healthy blood pressure.

Potassium

Like magnesium, potassium is a potent anti-hypertensive. Present in all body tissues, this mineral and electrolyte is necessary for the proper cellular functioning of the heart. 

The body doesn’t make potassium on its own, so it must come from the diet. Unfortunately, potassium deficiency is a common problem in the United States. 

Diets high in potassium help to lower blood pressure. One mechanism by which this happens is through potassium’s ability to help remove excess sodium from the body. A 2022 study found that diets higher in potassium were protective against high blood pressure. 

While plenty of potassium supplements are on the market, we are partial to Potassium Boost. This exclusive formula contains 1,200 mg of elemental potassium and 120 mg of magnesium. Together, these minerals act as a natural anti-hypertensive without the nasty side effects.

Amino Acids

As the building block of protein, amino acids play a significant role in heart health. Amino acids are involved in nearly all biochemical reactions in the body. Nine of the 20 amino acids present in life are essential, meaning they must come from our diets. 

Unfortunately, the standard American diet is deficient in many amino acids, leaving the body at risk for high blood pressure. Multiple studies have linked amino acid deficiencies with blood pressure problems. 

The best amino acids to lower blood pressure include:

  • L-arginine 
  • L-citrulline
  • L-taurine 

Vessel Support contains all three of these vital amino acids in one supplement. As a result, vessel support helps to optimize nitric oxide levels, thus relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. 

Spices and Herbs

Herbs and spices are more than simple flavor enhancers. They are some of the very best anti-hypertensives around. 

For example, multiple studies have concluded that garlic lowers blood pressure, often just as effectively as medication. Turmeric is another spice that has been proven to reduce blood pressure levels. Other effective anti-hypertensives include rosemary, thyme, and ginger. 

While adding these spices to your daily diet is best, you can also supplement with many. Some of our favorites include: 

Kick your ACE inhibitors to the curb

With so many Americans on blood pressure medications, it’s easy to assume they are safe and effective. After all, why would they be prescribed so frequently otherwise? Unfortunately, hypertensive drugs are not as effective as many proclaim and come with multiple side effects.  

Thankfully, mother nature has provided us with all the support we need to regulate blood pressure. You can be free from medication!

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.