Dietary Supplements CAN Impact Blood Pressure

by Sandy Todd Webster on Feb 11, 2014

Food for Thought

A large, population-based study of Midwest adults has shown that use of certain dietary supplements, including fish oil, echinacea and coenzyme Q10, was tied to changes in subjects’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.

The November 28 issue of BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2013, [13], 339) published the study, which followed 9,732 men and women in the Personalized Medicine Research Project in central Wisconsin. Subjects’ dietary history data (obtained by questionnaire) was compared with the median systolic and diastolic BP levels of those who did and did not report use of one or more dietary supplements more than once a week in the previous year.

Nine of the 37 dietary supplements evaluated were linked with changes in BP among users and nonusers after adjustments for age, sex, body mass index and smoking status. Mean systolic BP was higher for participants who used bilberry, coenzyme Q10, evening primrose oil, garlic, goldenseal and milk thistle. Mean diastolic BP was higher for participants who used echinacea, fish oil, garlic and milk thistle. Only iron was associated with a decrease in mean diastolic BP.

“These results should not be interpreted as causal, nor can the direction of the association be assumed to be correct, because the temporality of the association is unknown,” the researchers concluded. “Despite these limitations, these data are intriguing and suggest areas for further research, where sufficient evidence does not already exist, into potential dietary supplements that could be used to lower BP or for which use should be cautioned in people with hypertension.”

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.