When it comes to over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, doctors are more concerned about what you are taking when you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Certain OTC medicine can raise your blood pressure including anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen, migraine headache medications, decongestants, weight loss medicine and other products. However, there are OTC vitamin and mineral supplements that may lower blood pressure.
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Researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, report on a six-year study of Chinese adults revealed that taking two multivitamin/mineral supplements a day reduced elevated blood pressure. In the same article on multivitamins and hypertension, Tufts also reports that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet significantly reduces elevated blood pressure levels in adults. The low fat dairy foods and increased number of fruits and vegetables in the diet include plenty of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University reports that vitamin C supplements have been found in several studies to lower blood pressure. A study by researchers from the Institute and Boston University School of Medicine revealed a daily supplement of 500 mg dropped systolic blood pressure, the top number in the blood pressure reading, by 9 percent after four weeks. More research is needed and the Institute recommends consulting a doctor about any medication or vitamins.
Potassium supplements have been shown to significantly reduce high blood pressure. In a Johns Hopkins study published in the Jan. 8, 1996 issue of "Archives of Internal Medicine," a group of African American adults were given either potassium tables or a placebo for 21 days. Systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 6.9 points in people given the supplements. Many doctors prefer including a diet with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Foods rich in potassium include lean meat, whole grains, beans and fresh produce.
Magnesium also plays an important role in lowering blood pressure, according to "Healing with Vitamins" (Rodale, 1998) by the editors of "Prevention" Health Books. It reports that a study of 71 people in Sweden given about 350 milligrams of magnesium a day lowered blood pressure in people with mildly elevated blood pressure. Most people should get between 300 and 400 milligrams of magnesium daily to keep their blood pressure down.
Even though the effects of vitamins and minerals look promising, people who have high blood pressure should talk to their doctor before relying on nutritional supplements. Make sure you inform the doctor of prescription and over-the-counter medicine you are taking when being consulted on maintaining or lowering your blood pressure.