4 Nutrient Deficiencies Every High Blood Pressure Patient Needs To Know
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition in which the force at which your blood pumps through your arteries is too strong. This can be the result of an underlying medical condition, stress or a narrowing of the arteries. It can also happen when your body is lacking necessary minerals, such as potassium, magnesium or calcium. (Always consult your physician before supplementing with any minerals, especially if you are currently being treated for a medical condition or have existing high blood pressure.)
For some reason we like to think nutrient deficiencies don’t exist in Western countries.
But food quantity and food quality rarely go together.
Nutrient deficiency is a part of the high blood pressure puzzle that I’ve always found quite fascinating. Several nutrients are shown to play a key role in blood pressure regulation, yet can often be overlooked by your doctor or dietitian.
Research shows that having sufficient levels of the following 4 nutrients is important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Similarly, if we are deficient in these nutrients, managing blood pressure becomes all the more difficult.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is a molecule that acts as an antioxidant in our cells.
Most CoQ10 is made by the body itself, although there are some dietary sources too.
The reason we can be deficient in a self-produced nutrient is because several factors can deplete CoQ10 levels overtime. Long-term use of certain pharmaceutical drugs is the main one, with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs the usual culprit (1).
Several disease states are also thought to cause a deficiency including post-myocardial infarction (experienced by 7% of heart attack sufferers), fibromyalgia, depression, Peyronie’s disease, Prader-Willi syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, CoQ10 supplementation is normally advised by doctors for anyone with these diseases.
Through a mechanism related to nitric oxide, CoQ10 appears to protect the blood vessels and enhance blood flow, which influences blood pressure (much in the same way as beetroot juice). This is why a deficiency could be problematic for someone who needs to lower blood pressure.
The current weight of evidence indicates that CoQ10 supplementation in those with high blood pressure may lower readings by up to 11mm Hg systolic and 7mm Hg diastolic (2, 3). Note that we are still lacking larger more well-designed studies.
How to correct CoQ10 levels
There are tests available to check CoQ10 levels, but they’re not particularly cheap nor easy to access.
The best course of action is to ensure you regularly eat foods rich in CoQ10. There are no official dietary recommendations to follow, but a ballpark figure to aim for is at least 5 mg per day.
Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in heart function and blood pressure regulation. Correcting low potassium levels greatly reduces high blood pressure, especially if sodium intake is reduced at the same time. This is best achieved by regularly consuming potassium-rich foods such as potatoes, legumes and other vegetables.
? CoQ10 is thought to influence blood pressure and flow through a mechanism related to nitric oxide. Although most of our CoQ10 is produced by the body itself, certain disease states and long-term statin drug use can cause a deficiency. Eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, nuts, oily fish and beef will help, although in some cases a supplement is necessary too.
? Magnesium deficiency is very strongly associated with high blood pressure. Many studies have shown replacing this magnesium deficiency will significantly improve blood pressure, especially if you already have high blood pressure. Cashews and almonds are very high in magnesium, with one cup providing your daily requirements.
? A diet low in Omega-3 fats is thought to be bad for high blood pressure. This is likely due to the importance our dietary Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio has on heart health. For this reason, there is strong evidence that increasing Omega-3 fats in the diet can help lower blood pressure. Fresh fish is the best source, but supplements are a great alternative.
Any effort to lower blood pressure will be maximised if you stay on top of those 4 nutrients.
Basically, we’ve just been given 4 additional reasons to include more fish, nuts and vegetables into our weekly diet.
VITAMIN deficiency symptoms can include extreme tiredness, a lack of energy and headaches. Not getting enough of this vitamin in your diet could cause high blood pressure.
• Vitamin deficiency symptoms include headaches, pale or yellowish skin and dizziness
• High blood pressure could be a symptom that you lack this vitamin in your diet
• Eating a healthy, balanced diet should help you avoid a vitamin deficiencies
• Other symptoms of this vitamin deficiency include muscle cramps, an irregular heart beat and mental problems
Vitamin deficiency symptoms appear when your body is not getting enough of some of these helpful substances.
You can get all the vitamins you need by eating a healthy and balanced diet, containing foods such as fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy products.
However, it is possible to miss some vitamins, which may cause symptoms to appear including tiredness, muscle cramps and mental problems.
You are more at risk of developing vitamin deficiency symptoms if you eat an unhealthy diet, or do not go outside often enough.
Not getting enough magnesium can lead to symptoms consisting of high blood pressure, muscle cramps and an irregular heartbeat, according to Healthline, a US-based diet advice service.