FAQ

Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency linked to high blood pressure

Researchers have found that vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are associated with high blood pressure in adults and they are now finding that low levels in infants and children may increase the risk of high blood pressure later in life. childhood and during adolescence.

Vitamin D plays an important role in several health conditions, and it may be one of the simplest solutions to a wide range of problems. The ideal is to obtain vitamin D by exposure to the sun. However, since many dermatologists and other organizations started telling people to avoid the sun and use copious amounts of sunscreen, vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions.

A study published in 2018 found that 39.92% of people had vitamin D levels of 20 ng/mL or less and 60.08% had levels of 20 ng/mL or more. The lowest sufficient level being 30 ng/mL, at least 40% of the population studied was deficient in vitamin D, and probably more. Evidence suggests that low levels are associated with high blood pressure. A literature review of 30 randomized clinical trials and 4,744 participants found that vitamin D3 may help reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The effect appeared to be dose, duration and population dependent.

A second study involving 17 trials and 1,687 participants found that vitamin D supplementation had a statistically significant difference in reducing systolic and diastolic pressure in people who had vitamin D deficiency and high blood pressure.

Low vitamin D levels also appear to have predictive value in children. Researchers followed 775 children aged from birth to 18 between 2005 and 2012 to study the effect of vitamin D on the development of high systolic blood pressure. Low vitamin D status was defined as less than 11 ng/mL at birth and less than 25 ng/mL during infancy.

The researchers compared children with low vitamin D levels to children born with adequate levels. They found that children with low levels had about a 60% higher risk of high systolic blood pressure between the ages of 6 and 18. Children whose levels were persistently low throughout childhood had a twice as high risk of high systolic blood pressure between the ages of 3 and 18.

Other Strategies to Help Control Blood Pressure

Many factors can have a positive or negative effect on your blood pressure. As we have seen, your diet plays an important role in the nutrients supplied to your arterial system.

Here are several other strategies you can consider:

Pay attention to your sodium/potassium ratio

In Western countries, salt has been denounced as one of the main causes of high blood pressure. The idea is that with more salt, the body retains more fluid and therefore increases the work of the heart. However, it’s important to understand that sodium and potassium work together to affect your blood pressure. The average reported intake of potassium from food is about half of the recommended 4700 mg. Research has shown that these low levels of potassium can have a significant impact on blood pressure especially in regards to the amount of salt normally present in the western diet. Potassium works to relax the walls of your arteries, which prevents your muscles from cramping and lowers your blood pressure.

Lowering blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated with a reduced risk of stroke and all-cause mortality. It is recommended to consume two to three times more potassium than sodium, depending on whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes. If researchers are only interested in sodium levels and not the ratio, which is more important than overall salt intake, it may seem that salt is the driver of high blood pressure. Therefore, by reducing your salt intake, you automatically improve the ratio.

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Exercise more

Get active and exercise to help manage blood pressure. Studies have also shown the effectiveness of exercise, including as a preventative strategy. Regular activity can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rest, and prevent the remodeling of high blood pressure that is pathological and increases the risk of heart failure and death.

Reduce stress

Better manage stress to help control high blood pressure. Stress stimulates the nervous system to produce hormones that cause vasoconstriction, which can lead to a short-term increase in blood pressure. Chronic stress can also affect sleep patterns, eating habits and motivation to exercise3 which are all key factors in increasing blood pressure. Acute stress is also associated with broken heart syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition that mimics a heart attack.

Try inspiratory muscle strength training

One study showed that high resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) can reduce blood pressure measurements as well as aerobic exercise or meditation. The IMST was originally developed for critically ill patients with respiratory diseases. This strategy uses a hand-held device that provides resistance to the user when inhaling vigorously, which strengthens the muscles.

Incorporate meditation

Mind-body practices that trigger your body’s relaxation response, such as meditation, play an important role in lowering blood pressure by favorably influencing a set of recently identified genes and biological pathways. When the relaxation response is triggered, biochemical changes occur, including a decrease in oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and heart and respiratory rates.

Using Intermittent Fasting

This is a form of time-restricted eating in which you typically fast for 16-18 hours with a six- to eight-hour window to eat. A recent study suggested that fasting may help normalize blood pressure by influencing gut microbiota.

Sauna

Sometimes some of the simplest strategies can have a huge impact. Sweating in a sauna can help expel toxins, improve blood circulation and mitochondrial function. The sauna can be used as a mimetic exercise to increase longevity. A single sauna session can lower blood pressure, improve heart rate variability, and improve arterial compliance. Some of the positive effects of the sauna on heart health may be related to physiological changes similar to those that occur during physical exercise.

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Check your magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to a significant number of health problems since it is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. One scientific review has suggested that low magnesium levels may be the strongest predictor of heart disease and another65 has suggested that subclinical deficiency can compromise cardiovascular health. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to a high risk of high blood pressure stroke and sudden cardiac death.

The best way to determine your status is to perform a magnesium test which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells. There are several reasons why you may have insufficient or deficient levels of magnesium, including insufficient intake in your diet, sweating, stress, and lack of sleep. Seek to eat more magnesium-rich foods and consider taking high-quality magnesium supplements if needed. Another way to effectively raise your levels is to take an Epsom salt bath, as magnesium is effectively absorbed through the skin.

Sources

Vitamin D Trajectories From Birth to Early Childhood and Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure During Childhood and Adolescence

Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences

Effect of vitamin D3 supplementation on blood pressure in adults: An updated meta-analysis

The effect of vitamin D3 on blood pressure in people with vitamin D deficiency

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