Vitamin D may lower blood pressure in African-Americans

A trial published in the journal Hypertension (Feb 3, 2013) found that Vitamin D supplementation can lower blood pressure in African-Americans, who are at greater risk for high blood pressure than the general population.

In the research study, participants received a placebo, or 1000, or 2000, or 4000 IUs of Vitamin D3 a day for three months. There was no significant change for those taking the placebo. Those who took the highest amount of Vitamin D daily showed the greatest reduction in blood pressure. “This degree of blood pressure reduction, if confirmed in future studies, would be considered clinically significant,” said the lead author, Dr. John P. Forman. (Quoted in NYT online, where we first read of this story.)

NYBC stocks Vitamin D in several different strengths:

Vitamin D is a low-cost supplement, and is reported to have no adverse effects in daily doses as high as 4000IU. Search under Vitamin D for previous posts on this blog about the vitamin’s potential for cardiovascular health benefits, especially for African-Americans and other groups at elevated risk.


Melatonin for high blood pressure (hypertension)

There’s a long history of studies of melatonin as a sleep aid, but more recently there has also been research with human participants suggesting that this hormone may be helpful not only in regulating sleep patterns but also in lowering blood pressure.

High blood pressure or hypertension poses a risk over the long term to the cardiovascular system, and it’s now widely agreed that controlling hypertension is one of the most significant steps people can take to prevent adverse events such as heart attack.

Using melatonin as an aid to lowering blood pressure presents some advantages over prescription medications used for this purpose, since the prescription drugs often have unwanted side effects such as decreased sexual performance and fatigue.

Note that when low-dose melatonin was used at bedtime to reduce blood pressure in a Harvard Univ. study, the decrease in blood pressure was not dramatic, but still significant enough to help those with borderline blood pressure problems.

Of course anyone interested in the potential of melatonin supplementation for control of blood pressure should consult with a doctor before using.

For further information on this supplement, including comments on dosing, see the NYBC entries:

Melatonin – 1mg

Melatonin – 3mg

Melatonin – 5mg

Beta glucans for immune support, cholesterol regulation

Here’s an excerpt from the NYBC info sheet on Beta Glucans, an extract of yeast cell walls which has been used in immune-compromised patients.

Function: Cholesterol regulation, immune support. May also modestly improve blood pressure.

Beta glucans enhance the power of the immune system by activating a certain type of white blood cell known as macrophages. These cells patrol the body and fend off foreign invaders such as bacteria and fungi by engulfing them.

Beta glucans are also well known to be effective in lowering blood lipid levels and are the key factor for why oat bran is so beneficial in this regard. Like other soluble fiber components, beta glucans work by binding cholesterol, facilitating its elimination from the body. Because beta glucans lower the bad LDL and increase the good HDL blood cholesterol levels, they are useful in preventing coronary heart disease.

See also the NYBC entry on