There is a reason high blood pressure is called the “silent killer” - the majority of people who have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) have no idea there is a problem. It’s often discovered during a routine physical, a blood donation, or at a health fair with free blood pressure exams.
But despite the fact that it might not cause immediately noticeable effects, high blood pressure is incredibly harmful. It stresses every organ in your body and can cause kidney failure, blindness, brain damage, and heart attacks. Or, it can kill or disable you outright, and you’d never feel a thing beforehand.
If you’re aware that you have hypertension, your doctor most likely prescribed medications and urged you to make lifestyle changes. But there are natural ingredients that can lower your blood pressure effectively and safely that I would encourage you to add to your regimen: olive leaf with oleuropein, and tannin-free grape seed extract, with 100 percent absorbable oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs).
Consequences of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure needs to be taken seriously. When plaque buildup in the arteries and veins leads to narrower vessels and increased blood pressure, your heart works harder and harder to keep blood circulating. And when that happens, it can lead to:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Vision problems and blindness
- Kidney failure
You can think of it in the same way that water from a garden hose sprays out faster and harder if you partially block the nozzle. When arteries are blocked by plaque, blood moves through them with increasingly greater force.
There are many different prescription medications used to lower blood pressure. Each works in different ways and each has potential side effects, some significant. As much as I wish everyone could avoid synthetic drugs altogether, there are times when they are necessary. I know from the personal experience of a longtime friend how dangerous uncontrolled high blood pressure can be. I would never advise anyone to just stop taking high blood pressure medications and try a natural product instead. What I do think is that with better lifestyle choices, and the use of powerful botanicals like olive leaf and grape seed, you can work with your doctor to reduce the dosage of medications, or if you are pre-hypertensive, perhaps delay or avoid the need for prescription drugs altogether.
Olive oil and extract from olive leaves are both good medicine for your heart. Olive oil is full of beneficial, healthy (monounsaturated) fats, and antioxidants. Adding olive oil to your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering levels of bad LDL cholesterol and raising good HDL cholesterol levels. Look for virgin or extra virgin olive oil, as it has the least amount of processing and the highest levels of beneficial compounds.
Olive leaves have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. In a clinical trial, administration of a special olive leaf extract lowered systolic pressure by 11 points and diastolic pressure by 5 points. The participants experienced additional benefits – their LDL cholesterol levels went down as well. Similar results have been reported in other scientific studies.
Researchers believe that a combination of antioxidant activity (much more powerful than vitamin E) which protects the walls of the blood vessels, and vasodilating activity (widening narrow blood vessels so that blood flows more easily and with less effort by the heart) account for the blood pressure reducing effects of olive leaf. I recommend an olive leaf extract standardized to the key compound oleuropein, for the best results.
Grape Seed Extract
The oligomeric proanthocyanidins – OPCs – from grape seed are compounds that do much of the extract’s heavy lifting. But there’s a catch: the OPCs must be small enough to be easily absorbed so they can be effective. And that’s where you have to be careful in the kind of grape seed extract you add to your regimen to control your blood pressure.
Many extracts contain tannins, which are too large to be effectively absorbed and therefore, won’t actually help you stay healthy. That’s why I recommend a French grape seed extract that is standardized to contain only OPCs that are small enough to be absorbed, so you’ll get astounding results.
For example, in an Italian clinical study, individuals with pre- or mild hypertension were divided into three groups, two with grape seed extract, at lower and higher dosages, and one with a diet and exercise intervention only, serving as a control group. At the end of the four-month trial, both grape seed extract groups saw an improvement in blood pressure, although those at the higher dosage noticed more dramatic effects. In fact, blood pressure numbers normalized in 93 percent of those in the higher dosage group.
Research published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences examined the vasodilating—blood vessel relaxing—properties of grape seed fractions. By allowing blood vessels to open rather than restrict, blood travels with less force, reducing pressure. Grape seed increased the level and activity of compounds (nitric oxide and cyclic GMP) that reduce blood vessel tension.
A Yale review of grape seed extract studies concluded from the existing research that this powerful botanical lowers systolic blood pressure and heart rate, so a broad spectrum of medical experts have taken notice of this powerful botanical. I think this definitely shows how well regarded grape seed extract has become.
Be Good to Yourself
Managing your blood pressure is one of the healthiest gifts you can give yourself. Keeping a sensible diet and exercising wisely, taking time to relax, getting a good night’s sleep, and adding olive leaf and tannin-free, 100% absorbable grape seed extract to your supplemental regimen will help you live a long and happy life.
To get your blood pressure down and help your heart work at its best, I suggest taking 500 mg of olive leaf extract and 100 mg of French grape seed extract twice daily.