Supplements for High Blood Pressure
People sometimes try potassium, calcium, magnesium, and various herbs to help treat high blood pressure. While research has shown that potassium does lower blood pressure, studies have not found that other commonly tried high blood pressure supplements actually reduce hypertension. Most healthcare providers recommend a diet rich in potassium, as opposed to supplements, for this condition.
Blood pressure can be unhealthy, even if it stays only slightly above the normal level of less than 120/80 mmHg. The more blood pressure rises above normal, the greater the health risk (see Effects of High Blood Pressure).
In the past, hypertension research scientists tried to find clues about what in the diet affects blood pressure by testing various possible supplements for high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), such as:
- Various herbs
- Other "natural" products.
While research has shown that potassium does lower blood pressure, studies have not found that other commonly tried supplements actually lower high blood pressure.
The recommended intake of potassium for adolescents and adults is 4700 mg/day. Recommended potassium intakes for children include:
- 1 to 3 years of age -- 3000 mg/day
- 4 to 8 years of age -- 3800 mg/day
- 9 to 13 years of age -- 4500 mg/day.
Using Potassium Supplements
At this point, healthcare providers recommend a diet rich in potassium to lower blood pressure or for high blood pressure prevention. While salt substitutes containing potassium chloride and other potassium supplements may be useful for some individuals, they can be harmful to people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications (such as ACE inhibitors).
Individuals should consult a healthcare provider before using salt substitutes or potassium supplements for high blood pressure.
(Click Potassium and High Blood Pressure for ideas on how to incorporate potassium into a healthy diet.)