Those who are more susceptible to the effects of salt to increase blood pressure may be deficient in minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and perhaps calcium.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium have a direct effect on blood volume or influence the ability of blood vessels to relax. Increasing blood volume is like opening a faucet and this increases blood pressure. If the blood vessels contract, the pressure also increases. When the vessels relax, blood pressure tends to drop.
The Power of Potassium
Potassium affects blood volume because it helps you excrete sodium. When you excrete sodium, it also expels water, which reduces blood volume and lowers blood pressure.
How much potassium should you take? The Recommended Daily Amount (DK) is 3,500 milligrams, an amount you can get from eight or nine servings of fruits and vegetables. That amount will help lower your blood pressure. However, a larger amount of potassium will reduce it even more. It would be a good idea to double that amount as a target, that is, 7,000 milligrams or more a day.
The safest way to get potassium is from food. In supplemental form, you need a prescription for doses of more than 99 milligrams per tablet. However, if you are taking a diuretic that drains potassium from your body (non-potassium-sparing diuretic) to treat high blood pressure, you may need a potassium supplement. In this case, your doctor will monitor your blood potassium levels.
Magnesium helps relax the soft muscles of blood vessels, allowing them to dilate. Magnesium supplements have proven effective in people who have high blood pressure due to kidney damage, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and the type of high blood pressure caused by diuretics.
If you are taking diuretics for the treatment of high blood pressure such as thiazides that drain potassium from your body, they will begin to deplete you of magnesium and potassium, which are the minerals you need to regulate your blood pressure.
If your doctor has prescribed a diuretic to control your blood pressure, it may stop working after about six months because magnesium will be removed from your system. Sometimes magnesium supplements make the diuretic more effective again.
For most people it is safe to use up to 350 milligrams a day of a magnesium supplement. The preferred forms are magnesium orotate (magnesium orotate) and magnesium glynate.
Calcium and blood pressure
Calcium sometimes helps lower blood pressure, although it is less effective than potassium or magnesium. It seems to work better in women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy and in children with calcium deficiencies.
In one study, pregnant women who took 2,000 milligrams of calcium a day reduced their incidence of high blood pressure by 54 percent.
The DV for calcium is 1,000 milligrams, an amount that many of us do not consume in our daily diet. However, even if you’re not taking DV and already have high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before taking a calcium supplement.
Generally, I don’t recommend it for high blood pressure unless you see an older woman who has osteoporosis, as too much calcium can interfere with magnesium’s ability as a muscle relaxant.
Other Natural Pressure Relief Aids
Herbs can give you extra help in controlling blood pressure. There are many different herbs that are used for this purpose, and most require medical supervision.
Among the safest and most popular herbs is dandelion, which acts as a natural diuretic that does not drain potassium from your body. If a person has excess fluids that need to be reduced, a dandelion tincture is recommended for up to a few months.
The amount needed depends on your blood pressure. However, if you have a gallbladder, you should not use dandelion preparations without your doctor’s approval.