High Blood Pressure: Causes and Natural Ways to Combat It

High Blood Pressure: Causes and Natural Ways to Combat It

(This abridged blog is taken from the original one published on Health & Nature News)

Hypertension (aka “The Silent Killer”) is so named because it doesn’t give us any signs or symptoms to throw a red flag in front of us to tell us that something is wrong with our circulatory system. It is estimated that about one out of every four people in this country have hypertension. Each year, there are 2 million new cases of high blood pressure diagnosed and the number seems to be rising. It is also the most chronic illness that we as Americans face today. So, what is going on in our bloodstream to cause this rise in the tension of our arteries, and are there ways to fix it?

Causes of High Blood Pressure

Arterial hypertension plagues millions of Americans each year and can be caused by a multitude of factors. It is also one of the major risk factors for heart attacks, arterial aneurysms, heart failure, and strokes. It is such a health risk that it has been shown that if abnormally high pressure is left untreated, patients usually end up dying within just a few years.[1] Hypertension is diagnosed if the resting blood pressure is continuously at or above 130/80 or 140/90 mmHg.[2] High blood pressure is caused by excess body weight, too much salt in the diet, smoking, and alcohol use[3] just to name a few. Secondary causes, which can bring on temporary high blood pressure, are usually a result of mental stress, kidney disorders, prescription medications, etc.

Advancements in Technology and Nutrition

Hypertension can be a scary thing, but along with diet and exercise it is nice to know that there are other options to take control of our high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril and Benazepril are very good at lowering blood pressure through the angiotensin I → angiotensin II pathway. Other prescription medications like Bumetanide help lower blood pressure by acting as a diuretic – thus decreasing blood volume. Conversely, drugs such as sodium nitroprusside act as vasodilators - relaxing arterial walls so blood can move more easily through the blood stream.

But what if one decides to go the naturopathic route and stay away from drugs? Interestingly, nature has provided a wonderful array of nutrients that act in a similar manner to these prescription meds.


Omega 3s

Often wonder why fish never get high blood pressure? All kidding aside, certain types of fish contain unique lipids called Omega 3 fatty acids. These interesting little fatty acids are crucial to human physiology but ironically, we can’t make them on our own. So, we must rely on an outside source. Studies show that these good fats can actually lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension.[4] So, eat more fish… not just for healthy hair, skin, and nails but for your circulatory system.



Thankfully, our bodies can make something on its own that helps to lower blood pressure. L-arginine is a non-essential amino acid (essential in infants) that can produce nitric oxide as one of its metabolites. Nitric Oxide (NO) is a very potent vasodilator, relaxing arterial walls and thus lowering blood pressure. This has been shown in various studies using high doses of L-arginine.[5],[6]


Co-Enzyme Q10

If you were to think of the mitochondria as the motor of each cell, then Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) would be the spark plug to the motor. CoQ10 is a small molecule that our bodies make to keep the “motor” running. As we age however, we make less and less. This is one of the reasons why supplementation with CoQ10 is more popular with the elderly. Alternatively, CoQ10 seems to have benefits other than providing energy to the motor. With mechanisms still not completely understood, CoQ10 has been shown to lower blood pressure.[7] Although a little on the pricey side, CoQ10 may be a promising alternative to conventional blood pressure-lowering methods.



Saving the best for last, the age-old remedy for high blood pressure (and vampires)… garlic. This sulfur-containing little bulb has been used for centuries to treat hypertension. Even current meta analytical studies show this to be true. Interestingly, research does seem to have a mechanism for garlic’s ability to lower blood pressure, this being done by some of the polysulfides found in garlic actually stimulating the production of H2S and NO11, both of which induce smooth muscle cell relaxation, vasodilation, and BP reduction.[8] Good news for us, bad news for vampires.


With millions of people each year falling victim to the silent killer, it seems comforting to know that there are means to lower the risk of and/or prevent high blood pressure altogether. Traditional medicine has come a long way and natural supplementation can definitely be a viable, affordable and efficacious solution. Ultimately, generations to come could see even more progress in the treatment of hypertension through further medical advancements and natural pathways.


Did you miss last week’s blog? Have a read…


Author: Chad Brey, a California State University, Northridge alumnus, has since worked as a chemist for various analytical and research facilities such as Amgen, Baxter, and Nusil Technology. Since 1997 he has worked in the dietary supplement industry for companies such as Earthwise Nutrition (formerly known as Great Earth Vitamins) and has earned a number of certificates as an IACET-certified dietary supplement specialist. Chad has written dozens of technical articles on the specifics of how certain dietary supplements work. Chad has formulated and developed small and large molecules in research and development laboratories since 2003 and continues to consult others in R&D today.



[1] Textbook of Medical Physiology, 7th Ed., Guyton & Hall, Elsevier-Saunders, ISBN 0-7216-0240-1, p. 220.

[2] Poulter, NR; Prabhakaran, D; Caulfield, M (22 August 2015). "Hypertension". Lancet. 386 (9995): 801–12.

[3] "High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet". CDC. 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.

[4] Morris MC, Sacks F, Rosner B, Circulation. 1993;88:523–33.

[5] Pezza V, et al, Am J Hypertens. (1998) 11:1267–70 [letter].

[6] Calver A, Collier J, Vallance P, Clin Sci (1991) 81:695–700.

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17287847/#:~:text=We%20conclude%20that%20coenzyme%20Q10,Hg%20without%20significant%20side%20effects.

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966103/


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