Heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease, is the second leading cause of death in North America. Heart disease is essentially the build up of plaque in the arteries of the heart and with that we see an increase of blood pressure (known as hypertension). Eventually, this could lead to heart attack, heart failure and unfortunately death.
Hypertension Diagnosis and Medication
Knowing if you have hypertension is most often missed until a severe medical event such as a heart attack occurs. However, some individuals may experience symptoms such as light-headedness, fainting episodes, vertigo, or altered vision.
As blood pressure starts to increase, and is detected by your healthcare provider, a blood pressure lowering medication is typically prescribed. There are many different high blood pressure medications (antihypertensives) available and your health care provider might prescribe more than one type in order to successfully bring your blood pressure down to a healthy level. Antihypertensives act on several different systems on the body to lower blood pressure, which are called beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, or angiotensin II blockers.
In order to consider a diagnosis of hypertension, you need three blood pressure readings that are higher than 140-159 (top number) over 90-99 (bottom number). The medications that are typically chosen by your healthcare provider will target two things: lower blood pressure along with potentially lower cholesterol. The intent to lowering cholesterol, may prevent or even help stop the build up of plaque in the arteries, which can be a contributing factor to hypertension.
Before Going to Medications
Before medicating, it is important to always analyze your daily choices to see if what you are doing, is playing a role in your heart health. One question I always first ask my patients as a Naturopathic Doctor is: what can raise your blood pressure? One of the first areas I look are the drugs that someone may be on that play a role in increasing blood pressure. These include oral contraceptive, erythropoietin, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), stimulants including cocaine, salt, and excessive alcohol use. Second I will look at lifestyle: from diet, stress, sleep quality to exercise. The third area is then turning to natural substances that either can be used along side medications or used before medications are considered when blood pressure is starting to fluctuate or is not high enough to consider pharmaceutical drugs.
One of the main herbs we will turn to support the cardiovascular system is Hawthorn. This herb has the ability to not only support heart function but this herb also has the ability to lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL- and VLDL-fractions – all of which have the potential to play a role in arteriole plaque build up. One of the most exciting aspects of this herb is its vasodilation ability by way of dilating coronary vessels, inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme, and possesses mild diuretic activity. Overall, Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn) shows little toxicity, which allows it to be a potentially safe adjunct treatment when taking medication.
In order to help maintain the heart function and its contractibility, it needs energy. This energy is produced by a powerhouse organelle called the mitochondria which is responsible for making an energy component called ATP. Coenzyme Q10 is a component that plays an important role in maintain mitochondrial function. It is also important to take if you are on a cholesterol lower medication due to the medication lowering CoQ10.
Gaba & L-theanine
Stress is one of the leading causes of raising blood pressure so using Gaba (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) and L-theanine can play an important role at modulating stress and therefore reducing blood pressure.
Some excellent PROVITA products to utilize for cardiovascular health include Kardio Flow for supporting heart function improve blood flow and Tensopril Pro to help control blood pressure.
- Kardio Flow is a unique, multipotent combination of vitamins, minerals, specific amino acids as well as nutraceuticals known to support cardiovascular function and improve blood flow.
- Tensopril Pro is an efficient combination of ingredients known to help maintain healthy blood pressure via several action pathways.
- If high cholesterol is also present one may also consider Lipid Pro that helps lower elevated blood lipid levels / hyperlipidemia such as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Since high cholesterol levels are usually associated with higher blood sugar, Lipid Pro can also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- Zhang Z, Chang Q, Zhu M, et al. Characterization of antioxidants present in hawthorn fruits. J Nutr Biochem. 2001;12:144-152
- Blesken R. Crataegus in cardiology. Fortschr Med 1992;110:290-292. [Article in German]
- Rewerski VW, Piechocki T, Tyalski M, Lewak S. Some pharmacological properties of oligomeric procyanadin isolated from hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha). Arzneimittelforschung 1967;17:490-491.
- www.healthline.com. CoQ10 and Statins: What You Need to Know. https://www.healthline.com/health/coq10-and-statins#benefits.
About the Author
Dr. Taylor Bean is a Naturopathic Doctor and owner of TaylorMade Wellness in Salmon Arm, BC. She began her career working overseas In Singapore for two years, to now 6 years working in Canada, she has been able to blend Eastern and Western approaches from a clinical and cultural perspective. As a mother of two, she has a passion working with pregnant mothers achieve a healthy pregnancy and smooth labor along with working with children to help them thrive.
The statements on this website are informational only and shall not to be construed as medical advice to diagnose, prevent or treat any medical condition. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking natural supplements, especially if you have a serious health condition and you are on medication for it.