Review Finds Effectiveness For Non Drug Therapies In Hypertension

Life Extension Featured Article

September 2, 2011

Review finds effectiveness for non-drug therapies in hypertension

Omega-3 fatty acid protects brain from severe stroke damage

A review published online on August 25, 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension concludes that lifestyle interventions such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, as well as nutritional supplements including coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and potassium, are viable alternatives to drugs prescribed to help lower blood pressure.

"The treatment of hypertension is no longer limited to the simple prescription of pharmaceuticals," write Kevin J. Woolf, MD and John D. Bisognano, MD, PhD of the University of Rochester Medical Center in their introduction to the article. "For many patients, maximal medical therapy is insufficient to adequately treat refractory hypertension. In addition, some patients may prefer to explore therapies that do not involve drugs as an initial step."

Drs Woolf and Bisognano discuss the value of the low-sodium DASH diet, which provides greater amounts of fruit, vegetables and fiber and less fat than the average Western diet. Adherence to the DASH diet has been shown to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 11.4 mmHg in hypertensive patients. This reduction is increased with the addition of weight loss counseling and an exercise program. Limiting smoking and alcohol consumption may also help reduce high blood pressure.

Possible antihypertensive dietary supplements mentioned in the review included potassium, calcium, vitamin D, folate, CoQ10, soy protein, flavonoids, fish oil and garlic. Dr Woolf noted that "Coenzyme Q10 has a pretty profound effect on blood pressure," an observation that reflects the findings of a recent meta-analysis.

Herbal supplements discussed included forskolin, mistletoe and hawthorn. The authors also described devices such as the implantable Rheos device, the Symplicity catheter, the RESPeRATE device and the Zona Plus dynamometer, all of which have resulted in a significant reduction in systolic pressure when used by hypertensive patients.

"Right now we're seeing a cultural shift where an increasing number of people want to avoid standard pharmaceuticals," noted Dr Bisognano, who is the director of Outpatient Cardiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "We're also seeing a growing number of patients who require a large number of drugs to control their blood pressure and are looking for something else to help manage it."

"Patients have different backgrounds and different approaches to living their lives," added Dr Woolf. "This is where the art of medicine comes in; getting to know patients and what they will and will not embrace can help physicians identify different therapies that suit their patients' habits and that will hopefully make a difference for them."

Printer Friendly Save as PDF Email this Page View Archive Subscribe Today
Health Concern Life Extension Highlight

Blood Pressure Management

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted upon blood vessel walls by blood as it flows through the arteries. High blood pressure occurs when there is an increase of force against the arterial wall, with potentially damaging consequences.

Since the heart has distinct "beats", the pressure of oxygenated blood in the arteries is not continuous, but varies between two values, one when the heart is contracting, and one when the heart is relaxing. As the heart contracts, blood is expelled from the left ventricle under the greatest force; this upper pressure limit is the systolic blood pressure.

Following contraction of the heart, the aortic valve closes, which prevents blood from flowing backward into the heart, and helps to maintain the pressure in the arteries. This allows the heart muscle to relax and fill with blood. Unlike all other organs, which receive blood flow when the heart "beats" or contracts, the heart itself is unique in that it receives blood supply between heartbeats. As the heart contracts to pump blood to the rest of the body, circulation to the heart itself is impeded. Blood pressure during the heart's "resting" period between contractions, called diastole, must be sufficient to deliver an adequate supply of oxygenated blood to cardiac tissue.

As a critical component of mitochondrial function and energy production, CoQ10 has a central role in proper cardiac function (Adrash 2008). Within blood vessels, CoQ10 may directly contribute to the functionality of vascular smooth muscle cells, allowing them to properly dilate (Digiesi 1992). As a lipid-soluble antioxidant, CoQ10 may quench free radicals and spare levels of vasodilatory nitric oxide (Rosenfeldt 2007).

In two separate reviews of human CoQ10 studies (a total of 12 studies comprising 328 hypertensive patients), all showed improvements in blood pressure (Ho 2009; Rosenfeldt 2007). Three randomized, controlled trials of CoQ10 (100-120 mg/day for up to 8 weeks) demonstrated mean decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 11 mmHg and 7 mmHg, respectively, while open label trials revealed slightly larger average decreases (-13.5/-10.3 mmHg) (Rosenfeldt 2007).

CoQ10 (at 200 mg/day) has also been shown to improve blood pressure and blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics when combined with the cholesterol-lowering drug fenofibrate (Chew 2008). CoQ10 may lead to modest reductions in diastolic blood pressure in chronic kidney disease patients when combined with fish oil (Mori 2009).

Life Extension Magazine® September, 2011 Issue Now Online!

Life Extension Magazine September, 2011

Featured Products

Enhanced Berry Complete with RZD™ Açaí

add to cart

In 2008, Life Extension introduced Berry Complete, a unique, high-potency blend of extracts from nature's most powerful free radical fighters. The antioxidant strength of just one capsule equaled more than 50% of the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

This is the next generation of that powerful antioxidant formula, and a single capsule of Enhanced Berry Complete with RZD™ Açaí delivers an antioxidant value equivalent to more than 100% of the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake.

It is also the first antioxidant formula to use a cutting-edge extraction technology called Radiant Zone Drying™. This patented process delivers the most complete nutritional profile of the açaí berry — for a breakthrough in antioxidant defense.

Triple Action Under Eye Rejuvenator

add to cart

This remarkable formulation brings 15 active ingredients to bear on the delicate area under your eyes. It starts with this triple threat for triple action: Eyeliss™, a patented ingredient that fights the appearance of bags by helping improve the firmness and elasticity of under-eye skin; Sesaflash™, a tightening and hydrating agent derived from sesame; and Haloxyl™, shown to help reduce under-eye darkness. In addition, this formulation also includes:

  • Sodium hyaluronate to hydrate
  • Cucumber for its astringent properties
  • Sunflower seed oil to provide all the benefits of vitamin E
  • Squalene from olives as a non-chemical moisturizer
  • Tocopherol to prevent skin moisture from evaporating and to function as an antioxidant
  • And borage oil to nurture and rejuvenate skin
News Archive

Life Extension Update

What's Hot

Life Extension® Magazine

RZD™ and Radiant Zone Dried™ are trademarks of Columbia PhytoTechnology, LLC. Haloxyl™ and Eyeliss™ are trademarks of Sederma, Inc. Sesaflash™ is a trademark of Seppic, Inc.

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 1-800-678-8989.
Sign up for Life Extension Update

For Customer Service inquiries, please email or call 1 800 678 8989.

For copyright permission, please refer to Life Extension copyright policy.