Managing blood pressure is key to keeping the heart and body healthy. Unfortunately, higher-than-normal blood pressures are becoming more common, and they have contributed to the growing detriment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) around the world.
Globally, hypertension is responsible for 9.4 million of the 17 million deaths attributed to heart disease each year, according the World Health Organization (WHO). And WHO data indicated the statistic is growing; the number of people diagnosed with hypertension rose from 600 million in 1980 to 1 billion in 2008. In the United States, the American Heart Association (AHA) estimated 80 million people are plagued by hypertension.
According to Jeremy Bartos, Ph.D., scientific and regulatory affairs manager, Glanbia Nutritionals, the body has a system of checks and balances to help regulate blood pressure while adapting to certain situations, such as exercise or in high heat. “But other factors over time can affect blood pressure as well, such as oxidized LDL [low-density lipoprotein] cholesterol or calcium build-up," he said.
Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a “calcium chaperone," or “calcium street sweeper," Bartos said. Calcium can build up along the walls of blood vessels and lead to calcified arteries and atherosclerosis. Vitamin K2 prevents these effects by activating a protein called matrix GLA protein (MGP) that removes calcium from the arterial walls, thus maintaining flexibility and healthy blood pressure, he explained.
Additionally, ingredients such as arginine, grape seed extract, L-citrulline and beet root juice can exhibit positive effects on blood pressure by producing nitric oxide (NO), which promotes vasodilation by relaxing the muscles surround the blood vessels.
Several other ingredients, such as flaxseed, fish oil and magnesium, have recent research to support their effects in promoting healthy blood pressure. To read the entire article, “The Pressure’s On," download INSIDER’s free Digital Pulse, “Pumped Up."