Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force that the blood exerts on the arterial walls during contraction and relaxation of the heart. Both hig... Blood pressure is the force that the blood exerts on the arterial walls during contraction and relaxation of the heart. Both high and low blood pressure are important health markers and can increase disease risk if not targeted.

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What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is a measure (mmHg) of the force that is exerted against the arterial wall during heart contractions and relaxations. It is usually given using two measures, systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure is the top figure which measures the force exerted during a heart contraction. Diastolic is the bottom figure and measures the force during relaxation of the heart, or the period between heartbeats. 

Why is blood pressure important?

Blood pressure is a very important parameter of health, and if left untreated can lead to health conditions, complications and adverse events later in life. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure and many don't even know it (Source: Heart.org). 

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

The only way to find out your blood pressure is to get it medically checked by a physician or general practitioner. You can use at-home devices for constant monitoring, however, it is recommended that you check your blood pressure professionally every so often. Not to worry though, your medical doctor will usually do this for you whenever you visit. 

Normal blood pressure is described as 120/80. Anything above 130/90 is described as Hypertension, the medical term for high-blood pressure. 

How can I reduce my blood pressure?

The good news about blood pressure is that in most cases, it can be reduced through medication, lifestyle changes or a combination of both. It is important though that if you believe you have high blood pressure, that you consult your physician and any changes you make should be approved by them.

According to the American Heart Association, lifestyle approaches to achieving and maintaining healthy blood sugar include: 

  • Eat a well-balanced diet that's low in salt
  • Limit alcohol
  • Enjoy regular physical activity
  • Manage stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Take your medications properly
  • Work together with your doctor

(Source: Heart.org)

Why is blood pressure measured in mmHg?

The abbreviation, mmHg, stands for millimetres of mercury which was the compound used in the first accurate pressure gauges (Source: heart.org).

Beneficial nutrients & supplements

First and foremost, it is important to understand that whilst there are foods, nutrients and supplements that may have positive impacts on blood pressure, there is none that has been shown to be 100% effective in all individuals. Any brand that suggests otherwise is not telling the truth. With that said, there are some compounds that have been linked with improvements in blood pressure maintenance and so these have been isolated as supplements.


Garlic

Garlic has been widely used as a food ingredient or spice but also as a herbal remedy for over 5,000 years (Source: NCBI). In a range of recent studies, garlic extract has been shown to provide blood pressure-lowering impacts in those with high blood pressure. One large review of 20 different placebo-controlled studies, garlic was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by almost 10 mmHg (Source: NCBI)

How does garlic impact blood pressure? Well, it is believed that garlic can enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body. This is a molecule that is responsible for relaxing our blood vessels (Source: NCBI).

Magnesium

There has been an abundance of research done investigating the link between magnesium supplementation and blood pressure reduction. In addition, there are a few different pathways by which magnesium may provide benefits. First, it may increase the production of nitric oxide, regulate the reactivity of our blood vessels and reduce injury and tissue damage (Source: NCBI).

In a very thorough review by the authors at Examine, magnesium supplementation appears to be more pronounced when the individuals have either low magnesium levels or high blood pressure (Source: Examine.com).

Nitrate

Nitrate consumed from vegetables, such as beetroot, celery and lettuce, can be converted in the body to nitric oxide. As mentioned above, this molecule can help to improve our blood vessel function, increase the reactivity of the vessels, allowing them to expand more easily and reduce the buildup of reactive oxygen species (Source: NCBI).

Omega 3 

Essential fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA play important roles in endothelial function. This is simply the inner lining of our blood vessels which is responsible for the reactivity of the vessel itself. Omega 3 supplements with EPA and DHA provide the raw material for anti-inflammatory molecules. These can help to reduce inflammation and improve the ability of blood vessels to expand when blood flow increases. These essential fatty acids also limit the production of thromboxane which is known to constrict or "tighten-up" blood vessels (Source: NCBI).

Want to learn more?

Here at Plent, we are different than most other supplement retailers out there. We are committed to consumer education and empowerment, brand transparency and quality assurance of all our own supplements. For this reason, we want all our customers to have a full and rounded understanding of the world of supplementation. If you would like to read more about Blood Pressure from the experts, check out the links below: