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An integrative approach to hypertension

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Q: I can’t get my blood pressure below 150/95. I take a combination of antihypertensive drugs regularly, but it’s still not working. Is there anything else that can help?

A: Hypertension is best managed with an integrative approach. Although pharmacological treatments are often emphasized, supplements and lifestyle modifications are important for both prevention and management of hypertension. An integrative approach not only addresses your high blood pressure, but also re-establishes functional harmony between your mind and body.

While noncompliance (not taking antihypertensive medications) can cause treatment resistance for those with high blood pressure, other causes include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and over-the-counter medications containing ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine. These can reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensive medications. Obesity, sleep apnea, stress, and worrying about your blood pressure may also be a problem.

Meditation and regular physical exercise, such as tai chi and yoga, help us not only maintain our general health, but also alter how our brains manage physical and emotional stress.

Integrating supplements into your routine may also help normalize your immune function and enhance your emotional stability, ultimately supporting the normalization of your blood pressure. Ensure that your diet is not deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.

Ask your health care practitioner if these supplements may be helpful for you.

  • Adaptogens relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. Options include Siberian ginseng, Korean and American ginseng, cordyceps, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and reishi.
  • Nutraceuticals often have antioxidant and cardioprotective properties. Options include coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Pycnogenol, lycopene, and resveratrol.
  • Some herbs may lower blood pressure directly or reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, indirectly lowering blood pressure. Options include grapeseed extract, eucommia, garlic, and hawthorn.
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