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Supplements to Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure

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Approximately half of all adults in the US take nutritional supplements, and many don’t tell their doctors about it since a common myth is that over-the-counter products and supplements don’t carry any significant health risks since they’re considered “health foods.” While the goal is to optimize health, many people don’t realize that supplements and over-the-counter medications can be harmful as they may interact with food and other medications (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs). In addition to that, they can also affect certain medical conditions. For example, some supplements can raise your blood pressure or interact with your blood pressure medicine, making it less effective. 

Please continue reading to learn which supplements to avoid if you have high blood pressure. We will also discuss whether any supplements can help control high blood pressure.

What vitamin can cause high blood pressure?

No vitamins can cause high blood pressure. Taking supplements of vitamin A, B vitamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K has not been shown to raise blood pressure. 

However, certain herbal supplements can affect systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure, the upper and lower numbers of your blood pressure reading, respectively. These include:

  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Guarana (Paullinia cupana)
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius)
  • Arnica (Arnica montana)
  • Ephedra (ma-huang)

Also, if you are working on regulating blood pressure, you should know that the following substances and medications can increase blood pressure:

What herbal supplements can interact with blood pressure medications?

Several commonly used herbal supplements can interact with blood pressure medications. If you take blood pressure medication to lower high blood pressure, tell your doctor about all the supplements you are on. This will help to avoid possible drug interactions. 

Some of the supplements that can interact with heart medications (anticoagulants, nitrates, statins) and blood pressure medications (beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers) are listed below:

  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Danshen
  • Evening primrose
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Hawthorn
  • Licorice
  • Saw palmetto
  • St. John's Wort

Can vitamin D supplements cause high blood pressure?

The link between vitamin D and blood pressure levels is conflicting. It is possible that vitamin D has an effect on the heart and blood vessels indirectly because of its effect on calcium absorption.

Some studies have found that people with low vitamin D levels tend to have high blood pressure. However, systematic reviews have shown that supplementation with vitamin D does not reduce high blood pressure or lower the risk of heart disease. 

Is it OK to take multivitamins with high blood pressure? 

It is safe to take dietary supplements such as multivitamins with high blood pressure. Multivitamins such as Men One A Day or Women One A Day have not been shown to increase the short-term or long-term risk of developing high blood pressure, regardless of age, BMI (body mass index), and other risk factors. 

It is worth noting, however, that research suggests multivitamins are not a preventive strategy for hypertension. In other words, multivitamins do not reduce the risk of developing heart disease or high blood pressure. 

Essentially, the evidence suggests that multivitamins are neither harmful nor specifically beneficial for heart health.

Which supplements can lower blood pressure?

Doctors do not recommend relying on dietary supplements to treat high blood pressure. There is no strong scientific evidence that any supplement can help to lower blood pressure. Supplements are not an alternative for prescription blood pressure medications or lifestyle changes. 

If you choose to take a supplement to lower blood pressure, talk to a healthcare professional first. As mentioned above, some supplements may not work at all, and others may actually raise blood pressure due to drug interactions with other medications you’re taking. 

Remember, herbal supplements are not necessarily safe only because they are natural. Any potential benefits may be offset by adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal supplements, especially if you have high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medications. 

The best way to control your blood pressure is by achieving a healthy weight, reducing sodium intake, eating a heart-healthy diet (DASH diet), and getting regular exercise. You should continue checking your blood pressure regularly at home while taking prescription medications for high blood pressure, so you know your baseline blood pressure and whether or not the blood pressure medication is effective.
 

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/blood-pressure/art-20045245
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/herbal-supplements/art-20046488
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4927371/#
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/vitamin-d-deficiency/faq-20058280#