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Acupuncture in Toowoomba – for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure, sometimes called arterial hypertension, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. This requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. Blood pressure is summarised by two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole) and equate to a maximum and minimum pressure, respectively. Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mm Hg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mm Hg diastolic (bottom reading). High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mm Hg.

Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) hypertension or secondary hypertension; about 90–95% of cases are categorized as “primary hypertension” which means high blood pressure with no obvious underlying medical cause. The remaining 5–10% of cases (secondary hypertension) are caused by other conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart or endocrine system.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attacks), heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm), peripheral arterial disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease. Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy. Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications, although drug treatment is often necessary in people for whom lifestyle changes prove ineffective or insufficient.

REFERENCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertension

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Acupuncture in Toowoomba for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) 

Review of trials examining the use of acupuncture to treat hypertension
Although hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke in the US, only approximately a quarter of adults receive adequate hypertension treatment and control their blood pressure (BP) effectively. There are disparities in the prevalence of hypertension, its treatment and control with respect to age, sex, racial groups and education. The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of high BP (JNC 7 report) provides lifestyle modification with and without pharmacological intervention recommendations for preventing and treating different stages of hypertension. Recently, nonpharmacological approaches including yoga, meditation, acupressure and acupuncture have been considered as potential therapeutic options. Acupuncture has been used empirically for nearly 3000 years to treat a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, hypotension, coronary disease and certain arrhythmias. Previous studies suggest that short and chronic elevation in BP can be lowered in animal models and human subjects. However, the mechanisms underlying the antihypertensive effects of acupuncture are not yet fully understood. An increasing interest in acupuncture healthcare has led to a growing number of investigators to pursue research in this field. This article briefly summarizes available studies, including our own reports, that demonstrate evidence for acupuncture modulation of cardiovascular function, particularly BP reduction, and concludes that future treatment of hypertension can potentially include acupuncture as a nonpharmacological intervention.

REFERENCE: Future Cardiology, May 2006, Vol. 2, No. 3, Pages 287-292 , DOI 10.2217/14796678.2.3.287(doi:10.2217/14796678.2.3.287), Wei Zhou & John C Longhurst

If you wish to have a course of acupuncture at ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic for your hypertension call 4636 6100 to book you appointments.

Fructose: Eliminate This Everyday Food and Watch Your High Blood Pressure Plunge

By Dr. Mercola

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern that can lead to heart disease and increased risk for stroke. The good news is, by optimizing your dietary intake, exercising, and effectively managing your stress, the odds of normalizing your blood pressure are greatly in your favor.

If you or someone you love is affected by high blood pressure, then please review and share the guidelines given below. A list of supplementary articles is also included, if you desire further information. Hypertension is actually an easily treated condition, but one that can cause serious damage to your health if ignored.

Your Diet Will Raise or Lower Your Blood Pressure

Are you on a high grain, low fat regimen? If so, I have bad news for you, because this nutritional combination is a prescription for hypertension and can absolutely devastate your health.

Groundbreaking research published in 1998 in the journal Diabetes reported that nearly two-thirds of the test subjects who were insulin resistant (IR) also had high blood pressure, and insulin resistance is directly attributable to a high sugar, high grain diet, especially if accompanied by inadequate exercise. So, chances are that if you have hypertension, you also have poorly controlled blood sugar levels, because these two problems often go hand in hand.

As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pressure.

As explained by Dr. Rosedale, insulin stores magnesium. If your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict rather than relax, which will raise your blood pressure and decrease your energy level. Insulin also affects your blood pressure by causing your body to retain sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention in turn causes high blood pressure and can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure. If your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar level, then normalizing your blood sugar levels will also bring your blood pressure readings into the healthy range.

Fructose Can Cause Your Blood Pressure to Skyrocket

The first thing you need to do is remove all grains and sugars from your diet, particularly fructose, until both your weight and your blood pressure have normalized. Eating sugars and grains — including any type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, or rice — will cause your insulin levels and your blood pressure to remain elevated.

A study1 published earlier this year discovered that those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg. (For comparison, a normal blood pressure reading is below 120/80 mmHg.) Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose daily also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26 percent, and 140/90 by 30 percent.

This is significant because the average American now consumes 70 grams of fructose EVERY day!

Fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products that are bad for your body, one being uric acid. Uric acid drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to increases in blood pressure. In fact, 17 out of 17 studies demonstrate that elevated uric acid levels lead to hypertension. For more information on the connection between fructose, uric acid, and hypertension, please see this article that explains it in greater depth.

I’ve also interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson, one of the leading medical researchers in this field, about his research into the health dangers of fructose, specifically how fructose causes health problems such as high blood pressure.

My Recommended Fructose Allowance

As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. Since the average 12-ounce can of sodacontains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, this can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment.

In addition, most people would be wise to also limit the amount of fructose you get from fruit to 15 grams or less, because you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” sources of fructose (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) from most beverages and just about any processed food you eat.

Fifteen grams of fructose is not much — it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or just two Medjool dates. In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Johnson includes detailed tables showing the fructose content in different foods, and I’ve included a sample of these values in the linked article.

Additional Dietary Considerations

  1. Normalize your omega 6:3 ratio — Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential for your health. Most Americans, however, are getting too much omega-6 in their diet and far too little omega-3. Consuming omega-3 fats is one of the best ways to re-sensitize your insulin receptors if you suffer from insulin resistance. Omega-6 fats are found in corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. If you’re consuming a lot of these oils, you’ll want to avoid or limit them. Omega-3 fats are typically found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fish, with fish being by far the best source. Unfortunately, most fresh fish today contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Your best bet is to find a safe source of fish, or if this proves too difficult, supplement with a high quality krill oil, which has been found to be 48 times more potent than fish oil.
  2. Eliminate caffeine — The connection between caffeine consumption and high blood pressure is not well understood, but there is ample evidence to indicate that if you have hypertension, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods can ex­acerbate your condition. Caffeine is a drug, and while it’s entirely legal and widely consumed, it can have a powerful effect on your individual physiology. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your diet, try to do it gradually over a period of days or even weeks in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
  3. Consume Fermented Foods – Differences in gut flora from one person to another appears to have a large effect on whether or not you develop heart disease. If your gut flora is not healthy, your risk is much greater for heart disease, as well as many other chronic health problems. The best way to optimize your gut flora is by including some naturally fermented foods in your diet, such as sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir, and natto. An additional benefit of fermented foods is that some of them are excellent sources of vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease.

Use Exercise as a Drug

Physical activity is by far one of the most potent “drugs” there is, and its side effects are exactly the kinds you want to experience. Regardless of the primary reason you start an exercise program, your efforts will be rewarded in countless other ways.

A comprehensive exercise regimen, such as my Peak Fitness program, is very important in producing long-term benefits in people with high blood pressure. Nearly every program should incorporate anaerobic sprint or burst-type exercises one to three times a week, as these have been shown to be even more effective than aerobic exercises at reducing your risk of dying from a heart attack.

If you are insulin resistant, you’ll definitely want to include weight training in your exercise program. When you work individual muscle groups, you increase blood flow to those muscles. Good blood flow will increase your insulin sensitivity. Depending on your physical condition when you embark on your exercise program, you may need to consult with a health care professional for help increasing to the intensity required to lower your insulin level. Exercise in combination with the supplement L-arginine has been shown to correct the abnormal functioning of blood vessels seen in people with chronic heart failure. However, I would view this more as a drug approach and not necessarily a supplement you would consider using for optimizing health in general. L-arginine probably works through its interaction with nitric oxide. I would consider it an adjunct, not a replacement, for coenzyme Q10, which is a well-proven therapy for heart failure.

Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

Believe it or not, the farther you live from the equator, the higher your risk of developing high blood pressure2. And did you know that blood pressure is typically higher in winter months than in summer?

Sunlight actually affects blood pressure in several ways:

  • Sun exposure causes your body to produce vitamin D. Lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid hormone production, which increases blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance (IR) and Syndrome X (also known as Metabolic Syndrome), a group of health problems that can include IR, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, and high blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D is also a negative inhibitor of your body’s renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates blood pressure. If you’re vitamin D deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hypertension.
  • Additionally, exposure to UV rays is thought to cause the release of endorphins, chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and pain relief. Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important factor in resolving hypertension.

Exposure to appropriate amounts of sunlight is a basic health requirement that extends far beyond blood pressure normalization. Vitamin D helps systems and organs throughout your body to function properly. Ideally, you’ll want to get your vitamin D through safe exposure to sunshine or a safe tanning bed, but vitamin D3 supplements can also be used. Please do NOT let your doctor give you a “prescription” vitamin D. That is vitamin D2, which is synthetic, and not nearly as beneficial as the real vitamin D, which is D3 (cholecalciferol).

Keep in mind that if you decide to supplement with oral vitamin D3, you must carefully monitor your vitamin D blood levels to avoid overdosing. (This is why it is highly preferable to get your vitamin D through sun exposure, since there is virtually no chance of overdosing.)

To learn much more about vitamin D test values and the best labs to get your tests done, please visit the linked page. I also recommend watching my free one-hour vitamin D lecture for more information about the incredible health benefits of this essential nutrient.

Controlling Your Stress is Crucial

One in three American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), and just as many, if not more, battle emotional and mental stress on a day-to-day basis.

Are these two conditions connected?

You bet. As reported by ABC World News on September 16, 20103, one cardiologist believes the connection between stress and hypertension is undeniable, yet still does not receive the emphasis it deserves. In response, Dr. Kennedy developed a stress-relieving technique he calls “The 15 Minute Heart Cure,” a set of breathing and creative visualization techniques that can be done anywhere, anytime. The technique is demonstrated in the ABC World News video above. By teaching your body to slow down and relax when stress hits — essentially short-circuiting your physical stress reaction — you can protect your health.

My preferred method is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an easy to learn, easy to use technique for releasing negative emotions. EFT combines visualization with calm, relaxed breathing, while employing gentle tapping to “reprogram” deeply seated emotional patterns.

Supplements and Other Alternatives

Although certain supplements may be helpful, it’s important to understand they should never be used as a substitute for basic lifestyle choices that treat the real cause of the problem. Using only supplements without modifying your lifestyle is an allopathic approach not very different from using drugs. In most instances, it is not likely to be effective. Once you have made some beneficial changes to your lifestyle, you can then consider some of the following supplements as a way to further enhance your health:

  • Calcium and magnesium. Daily calcium and magnesium supplementation can be useful in lowering blood pressure, especially if yours is on the high end of high. However, if you avoid sugars and grains and eat for your Nutritional Type™ (see above), it’s unlikely additional calcium or magnesium supplements will be necessary.
  • Vitamins C and E. Studies indicate that these vitamins can be helpful in lowering your blood pressure. Ideally, you’ll want to get the right amount of both these nutrients through diet alone. If you decide you need a supplement, make sure to take a natural (not synthetic) form of vitamin E. You can tell what you’re buying by carefully reading the label. Natural vitamin E is always listed as the “d-” form (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.) Synthetic vitamin E is listed as “dl-” forms.
  • Olive leaf extract. In one 2008 study, supplementing with 1,000 mg of olive leaf extract daily for eight weeks caused a significant dip in both blood pressure and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in people with borderline hypertension. If you want to incorporate olive leaf extract as a natural adjunct to a nutritionally sound diet, you should look for fresh leaf liquid extracts for maximum synergistic potency. You can also prepare your own olive leaf tea by placing a large teaspoon of dried olive leaves in a tea ball or herb sack. Place it in about two quarts of boiling water and let it steep for three to 10 minutes. The tea should be a medium amber color when done.
  • Electrical acupuncture. Acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation has shown to temporarily lower elevations in blood pressure in animals by as much as 50 percent. It’s currently undergoing testing in humans and could be a promising alternative treatment for controlling blood pressure.
  • Breastfeeding. Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed for more than 12 months have a dramatically lower risk of developing hypertension. Researchers believe long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (the same found in fatty fish) in breast milk provide a protective effect for newborns.
  • Quick tricks. Increasing nitric monoxide in your blood can open constricted blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Methods of increasing the compound include taking a warm bath, breathing in and out through one nostril (close off the other nostril and your mouth), and eating bitter melon, rich in amino acids and vitamin C.

Like obesity, high blood pressure is an epidemic. And like obesity, your best treatment is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments.

A natural approach to preventing disease and healing yourself when illness strikes is always the better choice. In the case of high blood pressure, lifestyle changes — with particular emphasis on normalizing your insulin levels — can put you on the road to a drug-free, all-natural return to optimal health.

REFERENCE: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/08/discover-the-secret-to-lowering-your-blood-pressure-in-15-minutes.aspx

 Reducing High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Naturally

The following article has been extracted from the article “Foundational Lifestyle Strategies to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure” as presented by Dr Joseph Mercola.

SUMMARY:

  • According to the CDC, high blood pressure is the second greatest public health threat in the US, and 36 million people – about half of all with hypertension – have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern that can lead to heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. However, following a healthy nutrition plan, along with exercising, maintaining vitamin D levels, and implementing effective stress reduction techniques will normalize blood pressure in most people.
  • Insulin resistance and elevated uric acid levels are significantly associated with high blood pressure. Any program adopted to address high BP needs to help normalize these two factors.
  • Items that need to be excluded from your diet if you have high blood pressure include: fructose, grains, beer and caffeine.
  • Potentially helpful supplements and other alternative strategies include calcium and magnesium, vitamins C and E, olive extract, electrical acupuncture, and techniques for increasing nitric oxide in your blood.

 What do the Numbers Mean?

If you’ve ever had your blood pressure taken, you know that there are two num­bers given in a blood pressure reading. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure reading. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure.

Example:

120 / 80 =

120 systolic arterial pressure and

80 diastolic arterial pressure

Systolic pressure is the highest pressure, in your arteries and occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest arterial pressure, and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle.

Both numbers in a blood pressure test are important, but if you’re 50 or older, your systolic pressure gives the most accurate diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to the most recent report (issued 2003) by the Joint National Commit­tee (JNC) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, the following guidelines apply for determining whether you might suf­fer from hypertension:

Blood Pressure Classification Systolic over Diastolic

Normal <120 over <80
Pre-hypertension 120-139 over 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 over 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension ≥160 over ≥100

per JNC 7 Express, December 2003

Getting an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

Your blood pressure readings can vary significantly from day to day – even from morning to evening, and often within the same hour. It is when your blood pres­sure remains consistently elevated that significant health problems can occur. However, it’s important to remember that there are several variables that can affect the va­lidity of your blood pressure reading. For example:

  • If you’re overweight, a size ‘average’ blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading. Estimates indicate that eight to ten percent of overweight and obese patients are wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive due to ill-fitting blood pressure cuffs. Since two-thirds of Americans are overweight, this is a significant concern. You should make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the right size cuff for your size.
  • Arm position. If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading can be up to 10 percent higher than it really is. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.
  • White coat hypertension, which is an elevation in blood pressure caused by the stress or fear associated with visits to doctors and other medical personnel, can be a transient but serious concern. Stress reduction in this situation is key. To decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, I’d encourage you to breathe deeply and relax when you’re getting your blood pressure taken.

First, Evaluate Your Diet

Ground-breaking research published in 1998 in the journal Diabetes3 reported that nearly two-thirds of the test subjects who were insulin resistant also had high blood pressure, and insulin resistance is directly attributable to a high sugar, high grain diet along with insufficient amounts of exercise. So, chances are that if you have hypertension, you also have poorly controlled blood sugar levels, and most likely eat a diet high in grains and sugars, and low in healthful fats.

Why does insulin resistance promote hypertension?

As explained by Dr. Rosedale, insulin stores magnesium, which relaxes your muscles, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium. It simply passes out of your body through urination. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict, which will raise your blood pressure and decrease your energy level. Dr Mercola wrote a medical review paper on this in 1985.4

Insulin also affects your blood pressure by causing your body to retain sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention in turn causes high blood pressure. Another dietary mechanism responsible for driving up your blood pressure is directly and specifically related to your fructose consumption.

Fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products, one of which is uric acid. Uric acid drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to increases in blood pressure. In fact, 17 out of 17 studies demonstrate that elevated uric acid levels lead to hypertension.

According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter, and there appears to be a steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl. The ideal uric acid level appears to be around 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women.

How to Take Control of Your Blood Pressure

If your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar level, then normalizing your blood sugar levels will also bring your blood pressure readings into the healthy range. To accomplish that, the first thing you need to do is remove all grains and sugars, particularly fructose, from your diet until both your weight and your blood pressure have normalized.

Following my comprehensive nutrition plan (which has recently been revised and updated) can help you take control of your diet in an incremental manner. Following this plan will automatically help normalize your insulin levels. Not only will it help normalize your blood pressure but it will also radically reduce your risk of the two most common causes of death, heart disease and cancer, and also other major epidemics such as obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

To emphasize how important this one action can be, consider the following: According to a 2010 study5, those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg. Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose daily also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26 percent, and 140/90 by 30 percent.

This is significant because the average American now consumes about 70 grams of fructose EVERY day! Worse yet, about 25 percent of all Americans consume over 134 grams of fructose a day, according to research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, and author of two books on the dangers of fructose, The Sugar Fix, and The Fat Switch.

As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, for most people – especially if you struggle with high blood pressure and insulin resistance – it would be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, as it is virtually guaranteed that you will consume “hidden” sources of fructose from most beverages and just about any processed food you might eat.

Three Additional Dietary Considerations

Besides dramatically reducing or eliminating fructose and other sugars, including grains, normalizing your omega 6:3 ratio is an important dietary factor if you’re hypertensive. Consuming omega-3 fats, such as that from krill oil, is one of the best ways to re-sensitize your insulin receptors if you suffer from insulin resistance. Omega-6 fats are found in corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. If you’re consuming a lot of these oils, you’ll want to avoid or limit them.

If you’re struggling with high blood pressure, you’d also be wise to limit your coffee consumption. The connection between caffeine and high blood pressure is not well understood, but there is ample evidence to indicate that if you have hypertension, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods can ex­acerbate your condition. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your diet, try to do it gradually over a period of days or even weeks in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.

Another common substance that also elevates uric acid levels – and hence your blood pressure – besides fructose, is beer. The yeast and everything that’s used to make beer result in a powerful uric acid trigger, so decreasing or eliminating beer consumption is also something to consider when you’re trying to normalize your blood pressure.

Exercise – Ideally Outdoors!

Another vital strategy to take control of your health is exercise. A regular, effective exercise program consisting of aerobics, Peak Fitness exercises, core building and strength training, can go a long way toward reducing your insulin levels and your blood pressure. The newest evidence strongly suggests that 20-minute sessions of high intensity exercises are FAR superior to lengthy cardio or aerobics sessions, and provide you with more benefits in a fraction of the time.

Nearly every program should incorporate anaerobic sprint or burst-type exercises one to three times a week, as these have been shown to be even more effective than aerobic exercises at reducing your risk of dying from a heart attack. And, if you’re insulin resistant, you’ll definitely want to include weight training in your program. When you work individual muscle groups, you increase blood flow to those muscles, and good blood flow helps increase your insulin sensitivity.

The vast majority of people can normalize their blood pressure by implementing these strategies, along with normalizing your Vitamin D3 levels (ideally via appropriate sun exposure), and reducing your stress.

Yes, there’s overwhelming evidence that vitamin D3 is essential for your heart and cardiovascular system, so it’s not surprising that it would have a beneficial impact on blood pressure. In fact, research shows the further you live from the equator, the higher your risk of de­veloping high blood pressure6, and blood pressure is typi­cally higher in winter months than during the summer. A study published last year7 also concluded that the disproportionately higher rate of hypertension among African Americans compared to Caucasians appears to be due to higher incidence of vitamin D3 deficiency.

There are a number of mechanisms that can explain the connection between vitamin D3 and blood pressure:

  • Lack of sunlight re­duces your vitamin D3 stores and increases parathyroid hormone produc­tion, which increases blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance (IR) and Syndrome X (also known as Metabolic Syndrome), a group of health problems that can include IR, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, and high blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D3 is a negative inhibitor of your body’s renin-angiotensin sys­tem (RAS), which regulates blood pressure. If you’re vitamin D3 deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hy­pertension.
  • Exposure to UV rays is thought to cause the release of endor­phins, chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and relief from pain. Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important factor in resolving hypertension.
  • According to research presented at the annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans last year, vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with stiff arteries, which can drive up your blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D3 also increases your body’s natural anti-inflammatory cytokines and suppresses vascular calcification.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are severely deficient in vitamin D3, regardless of race or nationality. In the United States, the late winter average vitamin D3 is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a very serious deficiency state. Overall, it’s estimated that 85 percent of the American public are deficient, and as much as 95 percent of U.S. senior citizens, so getting regular exercise outdoors in full sun could be like hitting two birds with one stone…

Stress, including unresolved emotional issues, can also contribute to hypertension in some people. Prayer, meditation, or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) are all useful techniques to keep your stress levels under control. Daily sun exposure and exercise are also oft ignored but effective, all natural mood-boosters and stress-relievers.

Supplements and Other Alternatives

Although there are supplements that can be helpful, such as the ones I’ve listed here, it’s important to understand that they should never be considered as an alternative to the primary recommendations above, which treat the real cause of the problem. Using the supplements below without incorporating the lifestyle recommendations discussed above is an allopathic approach not very different from using drugs. In most instances, it is not likely to be effective.

  • Calcium and magnesium. Even though I wrote a review paper on this nearly 30 years ago that emphasized the importance of calcium, it is now very clear to me that magnesium is far more important to consider supplementing than calcium. Daily magnesium supplementa­tion can be useful in lowering blood pressure, especially if yours is on the high end of high. However, if you avoid sugars and grains and especially if you eat for your Nutritional Type™, it’s unlikely additional sup­plements will be necessary.
  • Vitamins C and E. Studies indicate that these vitamins can be helpful in lowering blood pressure. If you’re eating for your nutritional type, you should be getting the right amount of both these nutrients through your diet alone. If you decide you need a supplement, make sure to take a natural (not synthetic) form of vitamin E. You can tell what you’re buying by care­fully reading the label. Natural vitamin E is always listed as the ‘d-‘ form (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.) Synthetic vitamin E is listed as ‘dl-‘ forms. You also want to limit your dose to no more than 100 units a day and make sure you take one that has tocotrienols in it.
  • Olive leaf extract. In one 2008 study, supplementing with 1,000 mg of olive leaf extract daily over eight weeks caused a significant dip in both blood pressure and LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol in people with borderline hypertension. If you want to incorporate olive leaves as a natural adjunct to a nutrition­ally sound diet, you should look for fresh leaf liquid extracts for maximum synergistic potency. You can also prepare your own olive leaf tea by placing a large teaspoon of dried olive leaves in a tea ball or herb sack. Place it in about two quarts of boiling water and let it steep for three to 10 minutes. The tea should be a medium amber color when done.
  • Electrical acupuncture. Acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation has shown to temporarily lower elevations in blood pressure in animals by as much as 50 percent. It’s currently undergoing testing in humans and could be a promising alternative treatment for controlling blood pressure.
  • Breastfeeding. Studies have shown that babies who are breast­fed for more than 12 months have a dramatically reduced risk of de­velop­ing hypertension. Researchers believe long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (the same found in fatty fish) in breast milk provide a protective ef­fect for newborns.
  • Quick tricks. Increasing nitric oxide in your blood can open con­stricted blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. Methods for in­creasing the compound include taking a warm bath, breathing in and out through one nostril (close off the other nostril and your mouth), and eating bitter melon, rich in amino acids and vitamin C.

Like obesity, high blood pressure is an epidemic. And, like obesity, your best treatment is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments. A natural approach to preventing disease and healing yourself when illness strikes is always the better choice. In the case of high blood pressure, lifestyle changes – with particular emphasis on normalizing your insulin levels – can put you on the road to a drug-free, all natural return to optimal health.

What About Blood Pressure Medications?

The strategies discussed here should help to resolve high blood pressure issues for the vast majority of people, however, it’s VITAL that you do go on a medication to lower your blood pressure if your blood pressure is very high! Yes, this is one of the few instances where drugs are necessary, as without it you are putting yourself at serious risk of a stroke, and the brain damage that occurs during a stroke tends to be permanent and typically or frequently irreversible.

On the converse side, if you are currently taking high blood pressure medication you want to make sure you never go off of them without careful monitoring. Doing so will put you at high risk for a condition called rebound hypertension that could cause your blood pressure to skyrocket and cause a stroke. In my experience the vast majority of people taking medications for their blood pressure can safely come off of the medications as long as they are carefully supervised by someone familiar with the process.

Once the cause of your problem has been addressed using the lifestyle changes above, then you will be able to slowly wean off your medication.

However, do NOT take antidepressant drugs to treat hypertension!

In recent years, many doctors have started prescribing antidepressants along with blood pressure medication – the thought being that high blood pressure is the result of stress, which is oftentimes the case. But antidepressants have no benefit on this kind of stress and can only put your health at even greater risk… so please, AVOID making the mistake of taking an antidepressant for high blood pressure. If your doctor recommends or prescribes one for your high blood pressure and not your depression, REFUSE it, as there is simply no justification for ever using these dangerous drugs for this purpose.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/19/control-high-blood-pressure.aspx

Daily beetroot juice intake can lower blood pressure

Thursday, April 25, 2013 by: Sandeep Godiyal

(NaturalNews) According to a new study conducted by an Indian researcher, daily intake of beetroot juice can help lower your blood pressure. Hypertensive people who took an average of 8 onz of beetroot juice on a daily basis, saw their blood pressure drop by about 10 mm Hg.

Researchers, however, said that the preliminary findings do not, as of yet, suggest that adding beetroot juice to your regular diet will have an immediate positive impact on one’s health.

The study

Amrita Ahluwalia, PhD, the study’s lead author and vascular pharmacology professor at The London Medical School and The Barts in London said that they are very optimistic that an increase in an individual’s intake of vegetables rich in dietary nitrate content like beetroot and other green leafy veggies can be a good lifestyle approach that one can easily adopt to promote overall cardiovascular health.

Generally, a glass of beetroot juice contains approximately 0.2 g of dietary nitrate. This is the same volume one can get from a big bowl of lettuce, or maybe two beetroots. When ingested, the body converts the nitrate into a chemical known as nitrite, and then later into nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a type of gas that facilitates blood flow and widens the blood vessels.

Dr. Ahluwalia added that even they were surprised at the small amount of nitrate that was required in order to produce such a significant result. She added that the study proves that people with a need to lower their blood pressure require a lot less nitrite to experience health benefits compared to people with healthy or normal blood pressure.

However, she claims that they are still not sure if the effect can be maintained for the long term. The study was conducted on seven men and eight women who had a systolic BP between 140 and 159 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury), were not taking medications for blood pressure, and didn’t have other medical conditions.

The participants were made to take 250 ml of water loaded with a low volume of nitrate, or beetroot juice, and had their BP monitored over a 24 hour period.
Typically, blood pressure is represented by two numbers. The higher and top number is known as the systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure applied on the arteries while the heart beats. On the other hand, the lower and bottom number is called diastolic blood pressure, which measures the BP in the arteries in-between heartbeats.

In the research, those who took beetroot juice experienced lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to the placebo group. This is even after the nitrite flowing in the blood had gone back to levels before the beetroot juice intake, and was maintained even after 24 more hours.

The study is published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

REFERENCE: http://www.naturalnews.com/040071_beetroot_juice_hypertension_high_blood_pressure.html#ixzz2TPHj8PGj

 Arginine Can Improve Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure generally rises and falls throughout the day in a cyclic rhythm and is influenced by many factors, such as exercise and emotional stress (including that of being in a doctor’s office). To get a good idea of what your blood pressure really is, it’s necessary to make numerous measurements at different times and average them.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Most cases of high blood pressure have no obvious medical cause and are referred to as essential, or primary, hypertension. Although doctors still don’t know what causes this most common type of hypertension, current research indicates that a complex interaction between genetic, environmental, and other variables is a significant factor. Secondary hypertension, which is much less common, is high blood pressure caused by known medical conditions, such as kidney disease, pregnancy, and sleep apnea.

Hypertension Can Do Great Damage

It may seem as though a somewhat elevated blood pressure shouldn’t be that big a deal – and this is true when the condition lasts for only a few months, as in pregnancy-induced hypertension. The real problem arises when blood pressure is elevated over a period of years or decades. Over such a time span, hypertension can cause significant damage to blood vessels that supply life-giving oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. The heart, brain, and kidneys, along with all other major body parts, can suffer irreparable harm from long-term hypertension.

Arginine – The Source of Nitric Oxide

Another natural way to help improve blood pressure is with nutritional supplements. Arginine, an amino acid that is vitally important for overall good health, may be a potent weapon in the fight against hypertension. Besides playing a positive role in blood pressure control, arginine (technically, L-arginine, but the L can be taken for granted) can also be helpful in a variety of other conditions, including type 2 diabetes and sexual dysfunction in both women and men.

So how does arginine work its wonders? The answer lies in its ability to produce nitric oxide (NO), a simple gas made up of nitrogen and oxygen that performs some amazing feats in the human body. In fact, NO is such an important molecule that the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was given to three scientists for their pioneering research on its role in human physiology. (Paradoxically, nitric oxide is a free radical, a type of highly reactive molecule that is usually harmful to living tissues. Every rule has its exceptions.)

Nitric oxide penetrates and crosses the membranes of almost all cells in the body, and it helps regulate many cellular functions. It is even involved in memory function. In blood vessels, NO is vitally important because it regulates the tone of the endothelium, the layer of smooth cells that line the inside of the vessels. If these endothelial cells become dysfunctional, they can cause spasms or constrictions of the blood vessels that can then lead to hypertension.

Arginine Reduces Blood Pressure in Healthy Adults

More and more studies are being published showing the beneficial effects of arginine supplementation on blood pressure. A recent study in Italy examined blood pressure changes among six healthy male volunteers who were placed on three different diets.2 The first diet consisted of foods that contained 3 to 4 grams of arginine per day. The second diet was high in arginine-rich foods (nuts and legumes), so that these volunteers consumed about 10 grams of arginine daily. The third diet was the same as the first, except for the addition of 10 grams of supplemental arginine daily.

After only one week, the men on both diets 2 and 3 registered significant decreases in blood pressure compared to those on diet 1. Interestingly, a statistically significant reduction in blood glucose (blood sugar) was also seen in the men on diet 2 or diet 3. Although the authors readily admit that the study had serious limitations (the short duration and the small number of subjects), they concluded that “the present study indicates that an approximately two-fold increase in dietary L-arginine intake had significant hemodynamic and metabolic effects in a group of healthy men.”

Arginine Reduces Blood Pressure in Diabetics

People who suffer from diabetes have an increased risk for developing coronary artery disease, of which high blood pressure is often a significant component. Scientists are now looking at how arginine might help people with diabetes, in terms of both reducing their blood pressure and helping their bodies use insulin more efficiently.

A recent study examined the effects on blood pressure when arginine was given to six patients with type 2 (age-related) diabetes and hypertension.3 They received 3 grams of arginine every hour for 10 hours on either day 2 or day 3 of the study. On both of these days, their blood pressure was monitored for the same 10 hours. The results showed that the patients’ systolic and diastolic pressures were significantly reduced only 2 hours after they started taking arginine.

“A recent study showed that
arginine supplementation
(9 grams daily) may help people
with type 2 diabetes utilize
glucose more efficiently by
improving their insulin sensitivity”.

As with the previously mentioned study, this one was small and needs to be reproduced on a larger scale before any firm conclusions can be drawn. However, since many scientists believe that endothelial dysfunction in the blood vessels is one of the reasons why diabetes is associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, taking supplemental arginine, with its known beneficial effects on endothelial cells, seems to make sense.

REFERENCE: http://www.life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/780-arginine-can-improve-your-blood-pressure

Accupuncture, Acupunture or Accupunture common misspelling

Note that “Acupuncture” is often misspelt as accupuncture, acupunture or accupunture, that is with either too many c’s or not enough c’s. I would love to be able to clear up this very common spelling mistake, and set the record straight.

Ac·u·punc·ture – pronounced ak-yoo-puhngk-cher; Origin: 1675–85; < Latin acū with a needle (ablative of acus  needle) or acu- (as combining form of acus ) + puncture.

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