Nutrient deficiencies are well-established causes of hypertension. They are often the missing piece in the blood pressure puzzle. Nutrients play a role in blood pressure regulation yet their importance is often overlooked by most cardiologists.
All cells in the body require macro- and micro-nutrients to function. Individuals with hypertension often have intracellular nutrient deficiencies that impact their endothelial cells.
When patients come to our office with high blood pressure, one of the first things we do is evaluate their intracellular nutrient status. We then work to correct those nutritional deficiencies with supplementation and a Paleo diet in order to correct blood pressure.
Below are the top five nutrient deficiencies associated with high blood pressure:
Magnesium is a mineral involved in over 300 reactions, many of them occurring within the heart. One of the most important cardiovascular-related functions of magnesium is to regulate blood pressure.
Research has established that magnesium deficiencies are associated with high blood pressure. As a result, other research has also shown that magnesium supplements can lower blood pressure in adults with hypertension.
There are two main ways that low intracellular magnesium levels impact blood pressure:first, a low magnesium state in the cell causes a pseudo potassium deficit. second, if there is not enough magnesium in the cell then this alters calcium metabolism and causes vasoconstriction.
You need enough magnesium daily to maintain a healthy blood pressure. And if you’re magnesium-deficient, you will need extra supplemental support. Most individuals do not consume enough magnesium-rich foods in their diet.
How to improve magnesium levels:
Be sure to first check your intracellular magnesium levels to know what level you’re starting with and how that relates to your blood pressure readings. We like to test, not guess.
If you have low intracellular magnesium levels, add in our Magne 5. This product contains five forms of magnesium to benefit heart health. Start with 2-4 caps at night, before bed, and adjust according to need.
Also, be sure to consume enough magnesium-rich foods daily on a Paleo diet.
Potassium is one of the most beneficial nutrients for managing blood pressure due to its ability to counteract the effects of sodium. The more potassium you consume, the more sodium you excrete. The more potassium you have in your cells, the more vasorelaxation that can take place and thus lower blood pressure.
While the previous scientific focus was on dietary salt intake and hypertension, the recent research has now determined that a potassium deficiency is a greater dietary risk factor for hypertension.
Research has revealed that potassium supplementation in both hypertensive and non-hypertensive patients results in significant decreases in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings making it an effective natural treatment for blood pressure.
How to improve potassium levels:
First off, get your intracellular levels of potassium checked. Know what your intracellular potassium levels are and if they are playing a role in your high blood pressure state.
If your potassium levels are low, then supplementation is likely needed. We always test our patients first prior to placing them on a potassium supplement as too much potassium can be hard on the kidneys, especially in those with pre-existing kidney issues. If supplementation is needed, we recommend beginning with our Potassium Boost. Dosing depends on testing. Start with ½-1 tsp per day.
Last but not least, be sure to include enough potassium-rich foods in your Paleo diet daily.
3. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is an antioxidant for the heart that is very cardioprotective and protects against free radical damage. Cells, especially the heart cells use CoQ10 for growth, maintenance and functioning. CoQ10 is found in just about every cell in the body and it is used to help convert food into fuel for the cells. Heart muscle cells have a high metabolic demand and CoQ10 ensures that they are able to generate enough energy to function well. CoQ10 also has been shown to improve membrane fluidity, which helps to boost circulation and reduce blood pressure. CoQ10 is also thought to function similarly to nitric oxide, and this is how it protects blood vessels and improves blood pressure.
A deficient level of CoQ10 in the cells is a significant risk factor for high blood pressure. The number one thing that depletes CoQ10 is statins. Many disease states also deplete CoQ10.
A review of 12 clinical studies published in Nature showed that CoQ10 could significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients without major side effects. Another study concluded that CoQ10 supplementation is beneficial treatment to reduce blood pressure in patients with metabolic disease.
How to improve CoQ10 levels:
The first step, of course, is to get your intracellular and serum CoQ10 levels tested.
If deficient in this nutrient, this is likely a culprit in your hypertension and supplementation is warranted. Try our Cardio Q, which has ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10 that is most absorbed by the body. This is the form you want. Depending on your CoQ10 status, take 1-3 caps daily with meals.
4. Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, plays many important roles in the body, especially in the heart.
A vitamin B1 deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure. B vitamins, especially B1, are crucial to cardiovascular functioning. If you have low levels of vitamin B1,your heart struggles to generate enough energy or oxygen. the brain then starts to relay to your heart that it needs more oxygen and the heart then increases pressure to generate more oxygen.
A 2015 study showed that high dose thiamine supplementation significantly reduced blood pressure in hyperglycemic patients and was found to protect against further vascular complications.
Interestingly, the very water pills (diuretics) they prescribe for hypertension, are also the top medications that deplete B1 levels in the body. This leads to a vicious cycle of continuously high blood pressure and additional medications usually added in to compensate.
How to improve B1 levels:
Get your intracellular vitamin B1 levels checked first. It is important to know your nutrient levels, before adding supplements in.
If low, supplement with high dose vitamin B1. Our product is known as thiamin 50. Take 1 cap per day.
5. Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are essential fats that we cannot make and must obtain from diet. These fats serve many cardiovascular functions. It is known that individuals with low levels of omega 3 fats have an increased risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular issues such as blood pressure regulation.
Research has shown that omega 3 fats, from fish and fish oil supplements, are just as effective in reducing blood pressure as certain lifestyle changes like exercising more, reducing salt intake and limiting alcohol consumption. This is one the main reasons for why omega 3 fats are tied to a lower risk of cardiovascular events overall. Another study showed that a higher omega 3 index is linked to lower blood pressure levels.
How to improve omega 3 levels:
Get your omega 3 index and levels checked with our micronutrient test.
If you have deficient levels of omega 3’s or if you have any cardiovascular issue, it is worthwhile to supplement with high dose, quality fish oil. Try 2-4 caps of Omega DHA daily with food. In addition to supplementation, eat foods rich in omega 3 fats regularly.