When Bill Sardi was my guest on the radio program Saturday, he helped us understand the recently revised guidelines for blood pressure that suggest 46% of the population needs treatment. (Read Bill Sardi’s detailed explanation and expert analysis on that topic.) Below I review some of the points he made, but first, here is a link to my updated article, 6 ways to lower blood pressure.
- Blood pressure drugs. It often takes several drug types to reach the standard goals. Typical side-effects include: chronic coughs, nausea, dizziness, mental depression, heart failure, fatigue and gastric irritation. A new study shows that one drug ingredient in many BP medications increases the risk of skin cancer. That is not surprising since diuretics deplete zinc which is important for immune function.
- Zinc for hypertension. Sardi explained that adequate zinc in the body is critical to maintaining normal blood pressure. Read his article on that.
- Zinc is also NEEDED for: (in alphabetical order) Aging, Immunity, Antioxidant/anti-inflammatory, Atrial fibrillation repair, Cancer fighting, Diabetes prevention, Digestion, Eyesight, Fertility, Hair / skin / nails, Hormone balance (e.g. making progesterone), Muscle growth, Senses of taste / smell, Wound healing and more.
- Zinc dose. Of course, everyone is not the same, but typically 30 mg. a day of a well absorbed form. (NOT zinc oxide! Almost any other form is better, e.g. zinc citrate)
- Zinc status is often LOWERED by
- Low intake: to get 30 mg you would need to eat 20 cups of cooked spinach, or 4 cups of pumpkin seeds or 4 chicken steaks a day
- Drugs: Acid blocking heartburn drugs and blood pressure drugs
- Age-related low stomach acid
- Poor absorption / utilization. For example, taking a poorly absorbed form like zinc oxide. Or inadequate intake of B6 which greatly increases zinc absorption and/or selenium which makes it more useable. (Molecular Multi contains 30 mg and avoids these problems. Those are just two of the many reasons I recommend it.
The bottom line of the above and my article is to start with diet and lifestyle improvements, supplement zinc and hope you can avoid the drugs and their side effects. (Reminder, you need zinc for many, many important processes in the body and if you are low, taking blood pressure meds will only make that worse.)