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High blood pressure runs in my family and I’m concerned that I will end up on a prescription medication.


Q. Dear Terry, “High blood pressure runs in my family and I’m concerned that I will end up on a prescription medication. My blood pressure is currently normal and I would like it to stay that way. Do you have anything that can help prevent high blood pressure?” — Timothy P., Hialeah, FL

A. Dear Timothy, I encourage you to discuss any supplementation with your primary healthcare practitioner. With that being said, I think olive leaf and hibiscus can help.

Olive leaf can help maintain or lower blood pressure by its antioxidant activity (protecting the walls of the blood vessels) and because it’s a vasodilator (widens the blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily). I recommend looking for an olive leaf extract standardized to oleuropein (anywhere from 16-24%), which is the compound associated with olive leaf’s ability to reduce blood pressure.

Aside from being a beautiful flower, hibiscus has many beneficial health properties. Hibiscus contains compounds called anthocyanins, which work in a similar way to some drugs used to lower blood pressure. These plant compounds are called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. To put it simply, they work by moderating the activity of an enzyme that causes blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to increase. This natural ACE inhibitor helps keep blood vessels relaxed and open, and therefore, blood pressure goes down. Look for a hibiscus extract that is standardized to greater than 45% polyphenols.

I would take a combination of olive leaf and hibiscus every day.

You may also want to consider adding in grape seed extract. Grape seed extract helps to reduce high blood pressure, protect the blood vessel walls from damaging free radical activity, and prevent the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

When looking for a grape seed extract, it is important to choose one that is standardized to contain only OPCs that are small enough to be absorbed, so you’ll receive the maximum benefits. Many extracts contain tannins, which are too large to be effectively absorbed and don’t contribute to your health the same way that OPCs do. However, these tannins are counted as OPCs and enhance the label claim, even though they cannot be absorbed! Tannin-free is best.

I would take grape seed extract two to three times daily.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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