High blood pressure; helpful vitamins and minerals.
High blood pressure (BP) or hypertension (HTN) can be the result of a combination of deficiencies and poor diet. Although we may get enough calories on a Standard American Diet (SAD) there is poor nutritional density. As a result we miss out on a lot of vital nutrients. When we eat largely processed foods we crowd out vitamins, minerals and essential fats with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flour, corn and soy. These are very cheap ingredients that are sold to us in a myriad of permutations devised by food scientists to be addictive and highly profitable.
In Functional Medicine we use foods and supplements to correct the adverse biochemistry that expresses itself through symptoms.
The recommendation in Canada is for the adult population to take 2,000 IUs/Day. This may be too little for some patients who may need to take 5,000. Please ensure you have your levels measured and adjust the dose according to your response. At the Paleo Medical Clinic we have accurate testing available. Know your level and adjust your dose.
Vitamins E, B2, C and B6.
Vitamin E at 100 IUs/day ideally from mixed tocopherols.
Vit B2 (riboflavin) 25 mg/day. The richest natural sources are eggs, organ meats such as heart, meat and milk.
Vit C 500 mgs twice daily (avoid taking at night time as it is slightly stimulating) is recommended for HTN by the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Vit B6 5mg/kg/day (pyridoxal 5-phosphate). This is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in North America. It reduces the fight or flight side of the nervous system that typically puts up our BP.
Folate and vitamin B12.
Beware if your homocysteine is above 7 mcmol/L. Normal is defined as being less than 15 by most conventional labs. This value is based on a population that is not healthy. It might mean that levels of folate and vitamin B12 are not ideal. We can also measure the activity of vit B12 by testing for methyl malonate. This is routinely done when we run a test called the DUTCH PLUS which includes organic acid testing. Both folate and vitamin B12 can bring down the level of homocysteine but we would recommend that they be in a methylated form.
Potassium is a useful mineral but we do not recommend supplementation as taking too much can cause the heart to stop. Yes this can be fatal. It is best sourced from foods such as cooked spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes if tolerated.
Magnesium is often lacking and we would recommend 500-1,000mgs at night time. The types can be varied say citrate for a couple months then glycinate. There are also products that contain up to seven types of magnesium in a single tablet. Build up the dose until you get loose stools then cut back. The dose varies between individuals and the forms have differing laxative effects.
Calcium supplementation in women is associated in an increase in heart disease. We recommend this is from foods. Small wild fish with their bones are ideal rather than from milk.
Zinc 25-50 mgs /day. In the longer term this needs to be balanced with copper rich foods such as liver, organ meats and oysters.