According to results of a recent study, rats that consumed foods with free radicals -- compounds that are linked to heart disease and other chronic illnesses -- had lower levels of nitric oxide and higher blood pressure.
However, adding vitamins C and E to the rats' diet appeared to partially reverse this degenerative process, resulting in lower blood pressure levels. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, compounds that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Recent studies have shown that antioxidants may help to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension), possibly by protecting the body's supply of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes blood vessels.
Antioxidants are powerful regulators of blood pressure and studies show that multiple types of antioxidants found in a diet heavy in fruit and vegetables, could help mitigate high blood pressure.
" We thought that the presence of oxidative stress, or higher levels of free radicals known to inactivate nitric oxide, may increase blood pressure," said one researcher. "If this was the case, lowering levels of free radicals by giving antioxidants should improve nitric oxide availability and reduce blood pressure," he explained.
To test this theory, the investigators artificially lowered levels of a natural antioxidant chemical, glutathione, to produce oxidative stress in rats. As a result, levels of nitric oxide decreased and blood pressure went up.
But the addition of vitamins C and E to the rats' diet alleviated the degenerative process and led to higher levels of nitric oxide and a partial reduction in blood pressure.
"This shows us that although hypertension is a highly complex disorder that can arise from a number of causes, nitric oxide and oxidative stress play a major role in regulating blood pressure," researchers said.
Hypertension July 2000;36:1-5
It is hard to understand why traditional medicine is so reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace simple, inexpensive, non-toxic supplements to enhance the treatment of high blood pressure.
It should be perfectly clear to everyone that these nutrients are not the cure for high blood pressure, but they will provide some protection while one addresses the main causes of the problem.
Typically, optimizing your diet is the most effective route. Cardiovascular exercise and tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which helps negate the effects of stress on one's life, are also important.
If you're not getting enough vitamin E and want to supplement your diet, I recommend you do your homework and find a high-quality brand that contains natural (not synthetic) forms of vitamin E. I've researched this topic and now recommend the Carlson Vitamin E. You can find it in most of your local health food stores. For your added convenience, we also carry one of the most potent and complete forms of vitamin E on the market: E-Gems Elite. This vitamin will provide you with the optimal benefits that the ideal type of vitamin E has to offer.