Tuesday, June 9, 2015

7 Little-known high blood pressure causes

Most people know that eating too much salt, being overweight, smoking and lacking exercise can all contribute to high blood pressure.

But there are many more factors that play into hypertension than many people realize.

Let’s look at seven of these factors, as well as strategies that can safely help reduce your numbers.

1- Sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption.
A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates contributes to obesity, which is a high blood pressure risk factor.

But a high-sugar diet can also promote sodium retention, which can increase blood volume and cause hypertension. 

Also, excess glucose in your bloodstream can cause arterial inflammation, which can encourage plaque to form, then atherosclerosis and ultimately hypertension.

2- Low potassium diet
Although a high sodium diet can drive up blood pressure, just as much of a concern is too little potassium. 

Sodium and potassium work together in the “sodium-potassium pump” which creates electrical charges in your cells that control your muscles, organs and bodily functions.  These electrical charges also regulate calcium levels in your cells. 

But when you have too little potassium, that causes elevated calcium levels, which in turn makes the smooth muscle cells in your arteries contract, raising your blood pressure.

3- Nutrient deficiencies
Magnesium and calcium work together to regulate your heart rate, and being low in either can stress your heart and ultimately trigger high blood pressure. 

Lacking antioxidants is another factor.  Uncontrolled free radicals can cause arterial damage which can lead to atherosclerosis and hypertension.

B vitamin deficiencies can also lead to hypertension through homocysteine build-up.  Homocysteine is a by-product of digesting proteins that can cause free radical damage to your arteries if it builds up in your bloodstream. 

Folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 all work to convert homocysteine into benign amino acids, but if you are deficient in these B vitamins, homocysteine levels can rise.  

Lastly, lacking Omega-3 essential fatty acids can contribute to high blood pressure.  Omega-3 EFAs help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce the risk of clots and improve blood flow and help prevent atherosclerosis.

4- Kidney problems
Renal artery stenosis (narrowing of an artery that services the kidneys) can drive up your blood pressure.

In addition, overproduction of aldosterone can be a factor. 

Aldosterone is the hormone that helps the kidneys regulate sodium and potassium levels.  When it is overproduced, it causes your body to retain too much sodium and not enough potassium.

5- Thyroid problems
An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

6- Medications
Medications such as decongestants, NSAIDs, diet pills and oral contraceptives can raise your blood pressure.

7- Heavy metal exposure
Elevated levels of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and copper can cause elevations in your blood pressure.

Boldly go beyond the blood pressure cuff
With all of the possible high blood pressure factors, getting to the bottom of hypertension has to go way beyond readings from a blood pressure cuff!

Here are some tests you can ask your doctor to run:
  • Urine tests--to check for protein and/or blood in your urine which suggest kidney problems
  • Hair or urine tests—for heavy metal exposure
  • Blood tests--to check for elevated glucose and hyperthyroidism
  • Blood levels of potassium, chloride, calcium, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood urea nitrogen and/or creatinine (for kidney function)
  • C-reactive protein--High levels of CRP may be a sign of atherosclerosis. 
  • Fibrinogen--Fibrinogen is a clotting factor, and high blood levels of it are signs of atherosclerosis.
  • Homocysteine
  • Nutrient analysis—to check for deficiencies, especially in B vitamins.
Also, if you’re on any medications that elevate blood pressure, ask your doctor about safer alternatives.

Do your part too!
You’ve got to do your part too.

In addition to quitting smoking and getting regular exercise, here are four nutrient strategies for counteracting high blood pressure.

1- Balance sodium and potassium
The way to counteract a sodium-potassium imbalance is to limit your intake of the #1 source of sodium—processed and fast foods—and increase sources of potassium-rich foods.

Potassium-rich foods include avocados, Swiss chard, green beans, broccoli, coconut, prunes, lima beans, tomatoes, spinach, bananas, sweet potatoes, chicken, roast beef and salmon.

2- Get enough antioxidants
The Superstar antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). 

Below are food sources of each:

Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, calf’s liver, winter squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, basil, cantaloupe
Vitamin C: Bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits romaine lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, spinach, pineapple, green beans, kale, raspberries, asparagus
Vitamin E: Swiss chard, almonds, spinach, collard greens, kale, papaya, olives, bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli
CoQ10: Fish, calf’s liver, whole grains

These are the recommended supplement doses to help counteract hypertension:
  • Vitamin A: 5,000-10,000 IU
  • Vitamin C: 2,500-4,000 mg.
  • Vitamin E: 400-800 IU
  • CoQ10: 50-300 mg.
3- Get your B’s to control homocysteine
Food sources of homocysteine-controlling essential B vitamins are:

Folic acid (aka folate): Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, green peas
Vitamin B6: Spinach, bell peppers, garlic, tuna, cauliflower, bananas, broccoli, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cod, asparagus
Vitamin B12: Calf’s liver, sardines, venison, shrimp, scallops, salmon beef, lamb, cod, yogurt, milk, eggs

Recommended doses for supplementation include:
  • Folic acid: 1-5 mg.
  • Vitamin B6: 100-500 mg.
  • Vitamin B12: 1,000-2,500 mcg.
And if you want to supplement B12, check out our Hydroxaden 2.5!

Hydroxaden 2.5 is a vitamin B12 spray that you spritz under your tongue each day.  The B12 can be quickly and efficiently absorbed into your bloodstream where it's needed through the mucus membranes in your mouth.

4- Get enough Omega-3 EFAs
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been medically PROVEN to help lower blood pressure, and increasing numbers of doctors are advising their patients to up their Omega-3 intake.

One of the best ways to engage this natural anti-inflammatory and help lower blood pressure is to take a very high-quality fish oil supplement like VitalMega-3.

VitalMega-3 delivers 1,200 mg. of Omega-3 in every daily 2-capsule dose, including 600 mg. of EPA and 400 mg. DHA.

Work with your doctor to get to the bottom of all that’s behind your blood pressure problems, and most importantly, DO YOUR PART to keep your numbers where they should be.

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