The statistics of hypertension in the United States paint a dreadful picture of the prevalence and impact of high blood pressure in populations in America.
1. In America up to 74.5 million people who are 20 years and older have high blood pressure.
2. One adult in three in America has high blood pressure.
High blood pressure indicates a deeper issue, which fortunately can be quite simple (simple, not necessarily easy) to address.
The problem with medications
I receive many emails from people experiencing health issues as "side effects" of blood pressure medications. These medications do not address the root issue; they simply mask it while the problem continues, which allows problems caused by the same root issue to increase (such as insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, heart disease, etc.) This is like putting tape over the check engine light in a vehicle or taking the battery out of a smoke alarm without putting out the fire.
Just this month, Valsartan was recalled by the FDA, a week after 22 other countries recalled it because it poses a potential cancer risk.
Common blood pressure medications have also been shown to increase risk of stroke, edema, headaches, nightmares, depression, etc.
This is really unfortunate because high blood pressure is actually quite simple to address naturally.
Refined sugar, not salt, is the major culprit
Not only does conventional medicine have it wrong about blood pressure medications being the answer but it's wrong about salt when it comes to blood pressure too.
Before the advent of refrigeration foods were preserved and cured in salt. Contrary to popular belief salt has dramatically decreased in our diet since WWII. In fact, ‘sal’ is Latin for the word salt. In Roman times, sal-ad was traditionally meant to be vegetables and salt or a salty dressing. Similarly the word ‘salary’ also comes from the Latin ‘sal’ as Roman soldiers were paid in salt.
Now clearly intake of refined sugar has skyrocketed in the past century. There are many ways in which refined sugars increase blood pressure.
- Refined sugars cause inflammation in the blood vessels.
- Refined carbohydrates increase water in the blood and in order to maintain the proper sodium balance, the body will retain water in the blood vessels.
- The acidity of things high in sugar, such as soda, require the body to pull calcium and magnesium out of the body in order to balance the acidity. Without that God-given reaction, the acidity of a soda could literally kill a person. This causes a loss of essential minerals needed for healthy blood pressure.
Magnesium is key
Numerous studies have shown the incredible impact magnesium supplementation can have on lowering blood pressure. The results vary and are definitely dose-dependent, but with enough magnesium, results are seen within a matter of weeks.
But there are two problems:
1. Most people are using inferior forms of magnesium that are hardly absorbable by the body.
2. Most people have continuous lifestyle factors that quickly deplete magnesium, such as stress, refined sugars, and caffeine.
So we need to address those.
Which type of magnesium?
Getting the right form of magnesium is crucial. Cheap forms like magnesium citrate and oxide are about 10% absorbable, so even if they're really inexpensive (which they are), they are a waste of money.
Natural Calm is not recommended as it is not as bioavailable as it's claimed. (I have not seen clients successfully reverse magnesium deficiency with this as it causes loose bowels before the body can absorb enough; plus it's high in arsenic.)
Topical magnesium is good, but it is not enough to reverse a deficiency by itself.
The best form of magnesium is not a form, but a naturally-occurring liquid mineral supplement. Click here for my supplement recommendations to see which magnesium forms are the best.
With a very good bioavailable magnesium like those recommended, it is important to start with much more than the RDA. The RDA does not account for deficiency. At least 500 mg/day to start is necessary for most of my patients.
Things that deplete magnesium
Supplementing with magnesium while ignoring lifestyle factors that deplete it is like trying to bucket water out of a leaky boat. The best success will come from first stopping the leak. The leaks with magnesium are:
- Refined sugars
- Lack of sleep.
This is why many people notice signs of magnesium deficiency, such as muscle twitching/cramping, increased blood pressure, headaches/migraines, increase during those times.
Reducing these as much as possible and increasing magnesium supplementation (of a high-quality, bioavailable magnesium) is necessary to correct a magnesium deficiency and lower blood pressure.
Stress can increase arterial pressure by 30-40% and while the effect is said to be temporary, continuous stress response such as this can cause long-term damage to the arteries.
It's not so much stressful circumstances as much as it is the body's response to stress.
High blood pressure tends to be more common in those who are easily angered and easily stressed, so working on a calmer reaction to everyday situations is imperative. Click here to read tips on managing stress.
- Exercise! Regular exercise of any form has been shown to reduce blood pressure but only after a few weeks of consistent exercise. Of course this is just one of many benefits of exercising, so get moving!
- Stop smoking if you do. This is highly anti-inflammatory to blood vessels and causes depletion of magnesium and other nutrients needed for healthy blood pressure.
- Drinking freshly-juiced celery can quickly bring blood pressure down. Just make sure it's organic since you're drinking such a concentrated amount!
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff
Natural Health Practitioner