Try nutrients before drugs

If you take antacids, anti-depressants, statins, diabetic or high blood pressure medication did you know there are foods and nutrients that work better? It sounds almost unbelievable, but the chances are even your doctor doesn’t know about them.


High blood pressure
High blood pressure medication is designed to lower your blood pressure and the best drugs achieve about a 10 point lowering. Some people are given more that one drug to achieve a bigger effect but these drugs come with considerable side-effects and much less impressive evidence than you’d think for actually reducing cardiovascular deaths. Diuretics, for example, knock out B12 which increases dementia risk, and magnesium, which ironically increases heart attack risk. You want your blood pressure below 140/90 and ideally around 120/80.

You can achieve the same or an even better reduction in blood pressure with a vitamin, a mineral and a diet change.

The most effective vitamin for lowering blood pressure is vitamin C. A meta-analysis of 29 trials confirms that a mere 500mg of vitamin C a day lowers high blood pressure by 5 points in eight weeks. This study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms this important effect of vitamin C. However, higher doses are even better. In one study, those given 2 grams of vitamin C a day for 30 days had a 10 point drop in systolic blood pressure. This is comparable to the effect you can get with hypertensive drugs, but without the side-effects. I take 2 grams of vitamin C every day.

In fact, the only side-effects are positive. Vitamin C has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce arterial thickening. It is also an anti-inflammatory and may help, together with vitamin E, to stop the oxidation, or damage, of cholesterol. A recent study of almost 60,000 people in Japan reports that vitamin C intake is strongly associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, especially in women, cutting risk by a third. Another reports that vitamin C, with vitamin E, slows down atherosclerosis. Many diet studies also find that the higher your dietary intake of vitamin C the lower your risk. So, it’s an obvious choice for anyone with cardiovascular disease.

Magnesium has a direct and immediate blood-pressure lowering effect comparable to medication. This is because the muscle cells lining your arteries relax when they contain more magnesium than calcium. You can achieve this in two ways. By increasing your intake of magnesium or blocking the ability of calcium to get into cells. Calcium channel blockers are one of the most commonly prescribed hypertensive drugs but they have side-effects. Long-term risk more than doubles risk for breast cancer, according to a study in the American Medical Association’s journal, Internal Medicine.

In contrast, supplementing 300mg of magnesium a day produces an average drop in systolic blood pressure of 18.7 points, and in diastolic blood pressure of 11 points, if taken for six months, in people with raised blood pressure (above 155). This finding was reported in a meta-analysis of seven studies of 135 people with high blood pressure and is a highly significant change, more so than you would expect from the best drugs. Magnesium also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) and is consistently associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular deaths and heart attacks. It...

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