Minerals and Blood Pressure Regulation
What regulates blood pressure?
Your blood pressure is literally the pressure of blood on the walls of blood vessels. There is a healthy blood pressure range, but it’s common for people to experience high blood pressure, or hypertension, as well as low blood pressure, or hypotension. Some people attempt to regulate their blood pressure with medications, but there’s a connection between natural minerals and blood pressure regulation as well.
High blood pressure is more common than low blood pressure. According to the CDC, it affects nearly half of all adults in the United States. This condition causes a higher pressure of blood against the vessel walls, which poses a significant health risk. Over time, the increased pressure damages your vessels and may lead to other serious health conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
High blood pressure gets diagnosed with both measurements of diastolic and systolic pressure.
The systolic blood pressure is the one occurring to the artery walls when the heart contracts. While measurements above 120 are considered elevated, anything beyond 130 would be labeled high.
The diastolic pressure occurs between heartbeats. Anything above 80 would be considered high.
High blood pressure is caused by several factors, including your age, weight, physical activity level, and genetics. Fortunately, natural blood pressure supplements can help you regulate your blood pressure.
The heart is a muscle, and it relies on specific minerals to contract effectively. That’s why it’s wise to take into consideration the connection between minerals and high blood pressure. Let’s look closer at what minerals affect blood pressure and what you can do to try and regulate it.
Vitamins and Minerals and Blood Pressure
What benefit do vitamins and minerals play in the role of blood pressure management? According to research, vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin C are key to blood pressure regulation. These minerals can regulate the fluid balance of the body, which affects the cardiac output.
Of course, choosing supplements good for blood pressure management is part of a bigger picture. To fully benefit from any supplement regimen, you must also follow a heart-healthy diet and get exercise regularly.
A healthy diet will already include adequate levels of magnesium, potassium and vitamin C, thereby promoting heart health. However, when these levels fall low, due to either a poor diet or an underlying health condition, including a vitamin or mineral deficiency, the heart can suffer.
To get a better picture of minerals and blood pressure regulation, we want to look closely at some of the vitamins and minerals that have the biggest impact on heart health.
One study suggests that nearly 75 percent of all people are not getting the recommended amount of magnesium. But could this deficiency create blood pressure issues and does magnesium help with blood pressure? Research indicates that magnesium and blood pressure are very closely interlinked.
Studies show magnesium deficiencies can increase blood pressure, creating a higher risk for heart disease. Magnesium is also needed to maintain a healthy heartbeat. It works in conjunction with calcium, which generates heart contractions. As calcium enters the heart, it stimulates muscle fibers, which contract. Then, magnesium is responsible for countering this effect, helping the muscles to relax.
This relationship is what controls your heartbeat. If your magnesium level drops, the calcium in your body can overstimulate the heart muscle. This condition causes a rapid and irregular heartbeat.
But understanding magnesium’s effect on blood pressure is only the first step toward better blood pressure regulation. There are plenty of magnesium-rich foods you can add to your diet for support. Consider eating more dark chocolate, avocado, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains and fatty fish.
When diet alone isn’t enough, supplementation may be needed. In one study of twenty hypertensive patients, some were given magnesium supplementation for six months. After that time, both the systolic and diastolic pressures dropped significantly — by an average of 12/8 mm Hg. However, it was also noted that the level to which magnesium could help blood pressure was directly related to the levels of potassium, calcium and sodium within the body; you need these minerals, in addition to magnesium.
Does potassium affect blood pressure? According to the American Heart Association eating foods rich in potassium is essential to managing high blood pressure. As potassium increases in the body, sodium, which raises blood pressure, decreases. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose.
So, how does potassium regulate blood pressure? According to studies, low potassium levels are connected to increased blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke. Potassium deficiency, known as hypokalemia, leads to irregular heart contractions, causing further issues.
Potassium is required for the channels of the outer membranes of the cardiac muscles to work. These channels open in response to voltage changes. And when there isn’t enough potassium in the body, the electrical conduction is reduced, which leads to palpitations.
The first step is to increase the amount of potassium-rich foods in your diet. Aim to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, oranges, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, cucumbers and leafy greens. You can also find potassium in canned tuna, nuts, legumes and meats.
While the link between potassium and blood pressure is undeniable, there are some people who shouldn’t take supplements. In fact, potassium may cause more harm in patients suffering from kidney disease or taking certain medications. Speak to your doctor before taking potassium supplements.
Vitamin C is a vitamin, rather than a mineral, that impacts blood pressure regulation. This vitamin acts as a natural diuretic, which allows the body to get rid of excessive water and salt.
Diuretics force the kidneys to release more sodium into the urine, removing more water from the blood. By decreasing the amount of fluid flowing through the body, blood pressure naturally goes down.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine did a study with 500 mg doses of vitamin C. The research concluded that high of a dose could create a small reduction in blood pressure.
Other studies further support the connection between Vitamin C and high blood pressure. However, more research is needed on the relationship between Vitamin C and low blood pressure.
Thankfully, it’s easy to find foods high in Vitamin C to add to your diet. You might enjoy acerola cherries, rose hips, guavas, kale, kiwis, broccoli, lemons, oranges and strawberries. In addition to the benefits of Vitamin C and blood pressure regulation, you also receive immune-boosting support from these foods.
Vitamin C supplements are extremely common, making them simple and easy to find. You can choose multivitamin products or supplement solely with Vitamin C, as needed.
What is a healthy blood pressure?
According to the American Heart Association, there are five blood pressure ranges. Normal blood pressure is anything lower than 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure reading is lower than this, you are considered healthy, as long as it’s not too low. Continue making healthy food and exercise choices.
Elevated blood pressure involves readings of 120-129 systolic pressure and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. If you have elevated blood pressure numbers, you have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, unless you start taking the necessary steps to get it under control now.
Hypertension Stage 1 is when your blood pressure is regularly between 130-139 systolic and 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this point, doctors may prescribe medication and ask you to make some lifestyle changes.
Hypertension Stage 2 occurs when the blood pressure reaches 140/90 mm Hg or more. Blood pressure this high poses a serious health risk and requires supervision by a healthcare professional.
There are times when elevated blood pressure could be a medical emergency. If your blood pressure suddenly jumps above 180/120 mm Hg, you should seek immediate medical attention, as you could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis. Additionally, if this occurs in conjunction with chest pain, back pain, shortness of break, weakness, numbness or changes in vision, you should call 911.
Are blood pressure supplements an option?
Knowing how minerals and blood pressure regulation work together, you may opt to take supplements.
And while you should be able to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from a healthy diet, supplementation can provide the added support you require.
You can take multivitamins that support your overall health or opt for supplements that address more specific concerns. Many supplements come in either pill, capsule, liquid or gummy form, so there’s something for everyone. However, note that liquid supplements tend to have better absorption rates.
When you take a supplement, make sure you always follow the recommended dosage. Unless otherwise instructed by a medical professional, you should never take more than the recommended dose.
Additionally, if you have any pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, it’s always best to speak with your healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen. Even the safest supplements can interact with medications or pose a danger to someone with underlying conditions.
That being said, the best way to regulate your blood pressure is to make lifestyle changes: eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and make good choices every day.