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When people take them as part of a healthful lifestyle, certain dietary supplements may sometimes help lower blood pressure.
Doctors refer to high blood pressure as hypertension. It affects about 1 in 3 adults in the United States. Hypertension can damage the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, leading to heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), lifestyle changes are the best way to manage hypertension. The NCCIH recommend:
- eating a healthful, balanced diet
- reducing salt consumption
- exercising regularly
- maintaining a moderate weight
- limiting alcohol consumption
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- managing stress levels
Research has also shown that some foods and dietary supplements can help lower blood pressure. It is important to note that the evidence base is weak. To date, scientists have only carried out a limited number of studies, so they cannot be sure whether supplements can help people with hypertension.
Some people will need to take medications to treat hypertension. There is no evidence to suggest that dietary supplements work as well as hypertension medications.
However, the following supplements could help lower blood pressure:
Potassium is a mineral that the body uses to keep the heart, kidneys, and other organs working properly. It counters the effects of salt in the blood and eases tension in the walls of the blood vessels, both of which can lower blood pressure.
Most people will be able to increase their potassium intake by eating more foods rich in this mineral, such as avocados, bananas, milk, yogurt, mushrooms, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes, and tuna.
For some people, such as those with kidney disorders, too much potassium will do more harm than good. Anyone considering taking a potassium supplement to help with their blood pressure should speak to their doctor first.
Omega-3 fatty acids have many functions within the body, including keeping the blood vessels healthy.
Oily fish, which include salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines, provide plenty of omega-3. Other good sources include nuts and seeds, such as chia seeds and walnuts.
Some people do not get enough omega-3 from their diet and so choose to take supplements. Fish oil, krill oil, and cod liver oil are all available from drugstores and grocery stores. Alternatively, algal oil is made from algae and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast. They help people keep a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Some studies have shown that they can also lower blood pressure.
People usually take probiotics in the form of fermented foods and yogurt or as dietary supplements. These products might contain a variety of microorganisms, each of which has a different effect. Some of the most common are the bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
The study of gut bacteria is an emerging area of science. Due to this, researchers are not yet sure which microorganisms are best for lowering blood pressure or what dosages people should take.
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a type of hibiscus. People may also call it roselle, Florida cranberry, red sorrel, or Jamaican sorrel. People have used it as a natural medicine for many years, and they can consume it as either a supplement or a tea.
The authors of a 2015 review of all the available evidence concluded that consuming this plant in the form of a tea could lower blood pressure. However, researchers need to carry out more studies before they can be sure of how it works or how much people should drink.
The human body needs calcium to build bones and to make the blood clot, the muscles contract, and the heart beat. It is an essential mineral.
A 2015 review found that an increased calcium intake could lower blood pressure, but only slightly. The authors noted that more studies were necessary before doctors could be sure of how it works and how much people should take.
Most people will get all of the calcium that they need from their diet. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy green vegetables, and canned oily fish with bones.
For those who are unable to get enough calcium from their food, calcium supplements are available from drugstores, grocery stores, and online.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is common.
It can damage the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Over time, it can result in heart attack, heart failure, stroke, or chronic kidney disease.
The best way for people to lower their blood pressure is by following a healthful lifestyle. Doing this involves eating a healthful diet that is rich in all of the nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy.
Some people may not be able to get all of the vitamins and minerals that they need from their diet. For these individuals, dietary supplements may help. Anyone who is worried about their blood pressure should speak to a doctor.