4 Best Supplements to Lower Your Blood Pressure
More than half of all Americans have high blood pressure. One heart doctor says managing the condition may be simpler than you realize.
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According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, more than half of all adults have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. High blood pressure is diagnosed when blood flows through your arteries at higher-than-normal pressures—yet only a quarter of people with this condition have their high blood pressure under control.
It’s been demonstrated that the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can help many people lower blood pressure. The DASH diet is one example of how lifestyle changes—such as diet, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and being physically active—can help you manage, or avoid, high blood pressure. Another habit to help prevent high blood pressure is to work a few hypertension-targeting supplements into your diet.
This was demonstrated in a 2016 medical study that investigated the potential blood pressure‐lowering effect of different nutritional supplements. Although additional clinical research is required, the study found antihypertensive effects in the general population who had “uncomplicated hypertension.” The researchers also suggested these supplements could be implemented “with a low-added cardiovascular risk.” Meaning that in general, if you haven’t been diagnosed with serious high blood pressure but instead want to make healthy lifestyle additions to your routine that could fight blood pressure, these supplements could help.
Chris Davis, MD, FACC, is triple-board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology. As Dr. Davis has also completed training in functional medicine and regenerative medicine, there are four supplements this uniquely qualified cardiologist recommends for lowering blood pressure. (Though it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before adding supplements or making other changes to your routine, especially if you take medications.)
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A 2018 study showed that beet root juice “might help to control arterial blood pressure in healthy subjects, pre-hypertensive population, and even patients diagnosed and treated with drugs.” The best results may be from freshly juiced beet root, though beet root capsules are a convenient way to take this supplement, which is also beneficial for the liver, digestive health, and overall reduction of inflammation.
“Beet root is naturally rich in inorganic nitrates, which eventually are converted to nitric oxide, which is a potent arterial dilator,” Dr. Davis says. “However, the conversion of the nitrate is dependent on normal bacteria in the mouth and G.I. tract.”
“Multiple studies have shown statistically significant improvement in blood pressure and arterial elasticity using aged garlic,” Dr. Davis says. “Plus, garlic also has significant antioxidant properties.”
One 2012 randomized controlled trial in Italy showed a significant reduction in mean systolic blood pressure in those who took two aged garlic capsules daily for 12 weeks, as compared to the placebo group.
Grape seed extract
Grape seed extract has been studied for its impact on various conditions, including LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and hypertension. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed “significantly modulated blood pressure, with “a pronounced effect” after 16 weeks of taking 300 milligrams of grape seed extract tablets per day.
“Grape seed extract contains a variety of polyphenol compounds that have been shown to improve blood pressure,” Dr. Davis says. Referenced in many studies, polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring compounds that may lower the risk of certain conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and cognitive decline.
Magnesium supplements have a lot to offer (this is our senior editor’s favorite)—from stress reduction to diabetes prevention, bone health, lowering blood pressure and more. “Magnesium helps to relax the arteries via stimulation of nitric oxide production and also influences calcium influx, which helps to control blood pressure as well,” Dr. Davis says.
It’s only been a year—since January 2022—that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration allows companies to make claims that magnesium leads to reduced blood pressure. Supplements may help, you can also get magnesium through foods such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, dark chocolate, and black beans.
Supplements that lower blood pressure can do even more
Dr. Davis points out that all of these supplements he recommends for lower blood pressure have overall health benefits as well. “Supplements like beet root and garlic have so many other benefits that it would be reasonable to use the supplement if you have a family history of heart disease, hypertension, or high cholesterol,” Dr. Davis says, “Other benefits include acting as potent antioxidants that would address the ever-increasing issue of environmental toxin exposure that we all are faced with.”
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration, "Hypertension"
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, "Nutraceuticals with a clinically detectable blood pressure‐lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta‐analyses"
- Dr. Chris Davis is triple board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology
- Biomolecules, "Dietary Nitrate from Beetroot Juice for Hypertension: A Systematic Review
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial"
- Nutrients, "Grape Seed Extract Positively Modulates Blood Pressure and Perceived Stress: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Volunteers"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, "Grape Seed Extract"
- Journal of Food Biochemistry, "Health benefits of polyphenols: A concise review"
- U.S. Food & Drugs Administration, "FDA Announces Qualified Health Claim for Magnesium and Reduced Risk of High Blood Pressure"