Following a healthy diet is one of the key lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure. When optimizing your diet for blood pressure control, what you eat is as important as cutting back on sodium, saturated fats and trans fats. Eating a varied, well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help ensure your body gets the essential vitamins and minerals that play a role in blood pressure regulation and heart health.

Vitamins for High Blood Pressure

Vitamins are organic nutrients that come from animals and plants. They have important jobs within the body for metabolism regulation, hormone regulation and growth. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized by the human body, so they must be consumed in food. Nonessential nutrients can be synthesized by the human body, so they don’t need to be obtained directly from food. This means that you need to eat foods rich in vitamins to supply your body with the nutrients it requires. Some vitamins support activities of the heart and cardiovascular system.

What Vitamins are Good for High Blood Pressure?

Some vitamins assist with the body’s natural blood pressure regulation process. Others protect and support heart activity. Foods rich in vitamins are a part of a healthy eating plan for high blood pressure

An effective treatment plan for high blood pressure involves making lifestyle changes like eating well-balanced meals and exercising more. However, genetics is a major player in the development of hypertension. Many people also need medication to treat the condition. But vitamins, a low-salt diet and consistent exercise helps to prevent the need for medication or reduce the amount of medication needed for blood pressure control. 

Read on to learn more about the relationship between specific vitamins and high blood pressure.

B12 and High Blood Pressure

Vitamin B12 is part of a group of vitamins known as the B-complex. Your body needs it to maintain healthy blood and nerve cells and to produce the DNA genetic material found in all of the cells.

Vitamin B12 also lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid. People with high levels of homocysteine may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. As a result, some speculate that vitamin B12 supplements may be beneficial for people at risk for heart disease, such as those with high blood pressure. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports studies so far have shown vitamin B12 supplements lower levels of homocysteine, but not CVD risk.

Your doctor may recommend a vitamin B12 supplement if you’re an older adult, vegetarian or vegan, or have:

  • Pernicious anemia
  • A digestive disorder
  • Undergone certain gastrointestinal surgeries

CoQ10 and High Blood Pressure

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is not technically a vitamin. Your body manufactures it. However, the rate of CoQ10 production slows with age. One key job of coenzyme Q10 is to act as an antioxidant. It protects organs and tissues from free radicals found in pollution and ultraviolet energy.

Ongoing research has found an association between low CoQ10 levels and heart disease. However, it isn’t clear whether coenzyme Q10 levels actually cause the disease. People have speculated that taking coenzyme Q10 supplements may lower blood pressure, but studies yield mixed results. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says that it is unlikely that CoQ10 significantly lowers blood pressure. 

Vitamin K and High Blood Pressure

Vitamin K is the name for a group of compounds involved in blood clotting and distributing calcium throughout the body. There are two main types: K1 and K2. Menaquinone-4 (MK4) and menaquinone-7 (MK7) are two forms of vitamin K2.

Some scientists believe that low levels of vitamin K2 may lead to an increase in calcium deposits in the arteries, which can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart disease. However, there have not been many studies to investigate K2 MK4 or K2 MK7 and high blood pressure control. More research is necessary to explore the hypothesis that vitamin K2 may be beneficial for high blood pressure or heart disease.

Minerals for High Blood Pressure

Minerals are inorganic nutrients. Like vitamins, they play important roles in bodily processes, and you obtain them by eating healthy foods. Some minerals support heart function and blood pressure control.

Magnesium for High Blood Pressure

Magnesium assists in the regulation of many systems of the body. It aids in the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels. As a result, some people speculate that magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure. The NIH  reports that research into the blood pressure-regulating benefits of magnesium supplements have found that the mineral likely only lowers blood pressure to a small extent.

Although magnesium deficiency serious enough to cause symptoms is rare in the U.S., many people don’t consume enough magnesium on a regular basis. One study found that 48% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium from their diets. If you have low magnesium, your doctor may recommend a supplement to address the deficiency.

Potassium and High Blood Pressure

Potassium helps muscles work. This includes the cardiac muscle of the heart. Specifically, the mineral relaxes blood vessels. It also aids in the conduction of electrical signals in the heart that control your heartbeat.

Low levels of potassium may increase the risk of hypertension, according to the NIH. The impact of low potassium on blood pressure becomes greater when you consume too much sodium. A healthy diet for hypertension usually includes potassium-rich foods, and there is evidence to suggest that potassium supplements can lower blood pressure levels.

In addition, people who take thiazide diuretics may need a potassium supplement for their high blood pressure treatment plan. These medications can cause the body to release too much potassium in urine, increasing the risk of potassium deficiency.

Calcium for High Blood Pressure

Most people associate calcium with bone health, but this mineral has other important jobs in the body. It helps to regulate blood pressure by aiding in the tightening and relaxing of blood vessels.

A few large studies found a link between low calcium levels and an increased risk of high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and stroke. Increasing calcium through diet may lower blood pressure, according to the NIH. There is less evidence to show that taking a calcium supplement is effective for blood pressure control or heart health. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, winter squash, edamame, canned sardines, canned salmon with bones, almonds and leafy greens.

Even though calcium supplements may not benefit people with hypertension, some people still need to take them. Doctors frequently recommend calcium supplements for bone health. A little less than half of all adults consume the recommended amount of calcium through diet. In older adults, low calcium levels can weaken bones and contribute to osteoporosis, raising the risk of bone fractures.

Minerals and Vitamins to Avoid with High Blood Pressure

There is only one mineral that you should consciously avoid with high blood pressure—sodium. Although your body needs small amounts of sodium, most people consume too much. Excess levels of sodium can lead to fluid retention and increased blood pressure levels.

Simply avoiding salty foods may not be enough to adequately reduce sodium intake. Many processed foods contain large amounts of sodium. It is even found in canned vegetables. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. This is also the recommended amount for people following the DASH diet, the eating plan recommended by the American Heart Association and the NIH for blood pressure control which recommends reducing sodium intake to 1,600 mg a day for those at risk for high  blood pressure.

Do Supplements Lower Blood Pressure?

There is no evidence to prove that any dietary supplement lowers blood pressure in everyone who takes it. No supplement is likely to lower blood pressure on its own. If you are low on a vitamin or mineral or at risk for low levels of one, your primary care provider will likely recommend that you take a supplement.

Other supplements such as garlic, beets, and hibiscus tea have shown evidence to lower blood pressure. The nitric oxide benefits from beets help to keep arteries dilated for proper blood flow.  Garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol as well as high blood pressure.

Before taking any new vitamin or mineral supplement, you should check with your primary care provider to ensure that it’s right for you.

Is Diet Enough to Lower Blood Pressure?

Following a healthy diet can lower blood pressure levels, especially when combined with regular exercise. In addition, a diet and exercise plan tailored to your needs can also help you lose weight, which lowers blood pressure even more. Still, many people can’t get their blood pressure within normal levels simply through diet and exercise. Depending on your risk factors for complications, your medical history and your current blood pressure levels, you may need to combine lifestyle changes with one or more blood pressure medications to manage hypertension.

Forward Simplifies Heart-Healthy Diets

During our 12-week, doctor-led Healthy Heart program, we analyze your diet and talk to you about your habits, customs and schedule. Then, we optimize your diet, giving you a healthy eating plan rich in vitamins and minerals that is simple for you to follow. We act as your primary care provider and deliver ongoing support and biometric monitoring to encourage you to reach your health goals and allow you to clearly see the progress you’re making through diet, exercise and medication, if needed.

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