My systolic blood pressure has been creeping up over the past several years.
Dear Terry, “My systolic blood pressure has been creeping up over the past several years. It ranges from 130-157. My diastolic number is in the normal range. Is there a supplement that will help me bring the systolic number down?” — Phyllis P., Plymouth, MN
Dear Phyllis, High blood pressure is a very serious medical condition. While I have some safe and effective nutrients that can help, I do encourage individuals to consult with their healthcare practitioner. I can make some recommendations, but that never replaces a doctor’s care and oversight.
Olive leaf and hibiscus extracts can help safely lower blood pressure. Both have been shown in clinical trials to lower blood pressure levels. In fact, in a study comparing hibiscus to the prescription blood pressure drug lisinopril, those using hibiscus had better blood pressure reduction than those taking the synthetic drug, and with absolutely no side effects at all. When choosing extracts, look for ones that are standardized to their key compounds. In the case of olive leaf, it should be standardized to a minimum of 16% oleuropein, while hibiscus should be standardized to a minimum of 45% polyphenols. I recommend taking these extracts twice daily.
You may also want to consider taking grape seed extract. Grape seed extract helps to reduce high blood pressure and protects the blood vessel walls from damaging free radical activity. I would recommend taking 150 mg of grape seed extract twice daily. 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 get 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.
Weight loss via exercise and healthy diet, relaxation techniques, and getting a good night’s sleep can all help to lower your blood pressure also.
But, be patient – you need to follow this regimen for a minimum of three months before evaluating the benefits.
Terry . . . Naturally