From 3 Drugs to None. Hypertension: Gone!
July 8, 2020 | 10 Comments | SAFM Team
I am celebrating yet another client (Jane) getting rid of her hypertension – from Three medications to None. Woohoo!
What did we do? Step-by-step, primarily 6 things, over about six months in total…
- Decreased her sodium intake? Nope. But Jane did need more potassium. In her cells. She was eating enough potassium via fruits and vegetables, but not absorbing enough at the cellular level. Her diuretic medication was actually causing this imbalance. So we increased her magnesium dramatically which increases cellular potassium absorption.
- Increased her exercise? Nope. In fact, exercising too often and too intensely was a big part of Jane’s imbalance. We found out her cortisol levels were too high and exacerbated by too much running. High stress hormone levels are very often part of the hypertension puzzle. Jane took up yoga and is loving it. She also started a morning meditation habit.
- Decreased saturated fat in her diet? Nope. We increased it. Unbeknownst to her, Jane’s labwork revealed evidence of insulin resistance for the past four years in a row. Her PCP had never mentioned it. We took grains entirely out of her diet, increased overall fat intake, and made sure she consumed a rich variety of low-glycemic carbohydrates, especially vegetables and fruits. Despite many myths otherwise, higher natural fat intake often improves blood pressure. Her HbA1c went from 5.9% to 5.3%.
- Stopped her calcium supplements. What? Surprised? In fact, much research confirms the cardiovascular dangers of excessive calcium supplements, especially when taken without Vitamin D, magnesium, and Vitamin K2. Her prior PCP has recommended 1500mg/day of calcium supplements! Prior PCP-recommended testing clearly showed atherosclerotic plaque too, but the only guidance Jane was given was to reduce dietary fat (’nuff said on that one). Jane started taking Fish oil and Vitamin K2 supplements (MK-7 form) twice daily and increased dark leafy greens and tahini to get plenty of food-based calcium.
- Increased nitrates in her diet. Yes! Those things people are usually harping on negatively in bacon and other preserved foods. In fact, natural nitrates are key for producing nitric acid which is what naturally causes blood vessel dilation. Jane started having a (blended, not juiced) smoothie every morning with celery, cucumber, various greens, and a small beet. She added both lemon and ylangylang essential oils to this too.
- Recommended she try a statin drug? Nope. But her beta blocker medication had definitely been depleting her body’s level of CoQ10 (just like statins do) and also melatonin (likely contributing to her highly interrupted sleep the past few years). She started using 100mg CoQ10 (ubiquinol) twice daily. CoQ10 is critical for endothelial function in the lining of blood vessels.
P.S. If you know that healthcare must be transformed to be sustainable and effective (and thus affordable!), and you believe strongly that Functional Medicine is key to making that happen, we urge you to learn about our semester program.
If you haven’t done so already, sign up to receive weekly clinical tips like this via email, and you’ll also get automatic access to a free mini clinical course.
Like us on Facebook to get more great clinical tips and to get notifications of my next Facebook Live!