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Stubborn Hypertension
by Dr Bruce West
From our book Bypassing Bypass, published in 2002

The use of standard holistic therapy for stubborn high blood pressure is a “hit or miss” proposition at best. Many folks spend months or years taking calcium, magnesium, potassium, garlic, CoQ10, carnitine, and handfuls of other supplements only to find that they still have dangerously high blood pressure as soon as they reduce their prescription drugs.

Others eat a low-fat diet and avoid salt like the plague, only to make the same discovery. Still others do everything possible nutritionally and are still disappointed. The ones that use the kinds of products I recommend get the best results; yet, there are still those among these people who are continually disappointed. These are indeed stubborn cases. And in such cases, nutrition alone will not get the job done.

The Basics

Let’s face it, unless you are willing to go through the basics, you will not be free of high blood pressure drugs. While these drugs reduce your blood pressure numbers, remember one thing: Even though the numbers are reduced, you still have high blood pressure, and the drugs do nothing to eliminate the cause of the problem.

The basics include:

  • losing weight

  • exercising

  • drinking pure water

  • eliminating alcohol and smoking

  • substituting Celtic Sea Salt for table salt

  • using proper nutritional supplements, which include flax oil (we recommend only Omegasentials) and the following products from Standard Process Labs: Cardio-Plus (6-12 tablets daily), Min-Tran (6-9 tabs daily), Chlorophyll Perles (3-6 perles daily), Cyruta-Plus (2-3 tabs daily), and in some cases, Folic Acid B-12 (3-4 tabs daily).

In all cases, if possible, get an evaluation from a competent holistic practitioner for specific individual imbalances and deficiencies. Every person suffering from hypertension is different. Nonetheless, the basics comprise a core of the only kind of nutrition that really gets the job done. Once you start on a program of the basics, follow through for at least four to six months before you present back to your doctor to begin an experimental weaning-from-drugs program.

Getting off hypertension drugs is wisely done only with your doctor’s help. A sharp doctor will begin with small reductions in medication while monitoring your blood pressure. Remember that when you reduce medication in small amounts, you can experience a rebound effect with your blood pressure. That means that it may jump up quickly for a short period of time. Be sure that your monitoring program takes this into account. As your pressure stays normal with medication reduction, further reduction takes place until you reach your goal of no medication at all (or at least the minimum necessary to maintain proper pressure). Remember: In almost all cases, given the proper amount of time and use of the basics including the right supplements, most patients can do wonderfully well with very little or no medication (unless there’s an irreversible problem such as severe hardening of the arteries).

The Stubborn Cases

So let’s say that you’ve followed this “basics” program for a year or more and your blood pressure has stayed pathologically high. You can safely assume at that time that yours is indeed one of those truly stubborn cases. In this event, usually one of four variables is causing this phenomenon; if this is you, you can typically eliminate three of the four variables at the same time.

The first of these three variables is reactions to food allergies. The second is the need for kidney support. The third is what is known as a case of chronic hypertonia.

Food Allergies

In the case of food allergies, use the elimination diet to determine and eliminate food allergies. Many have found their blood pressure lower dramatically after cutting out foods they're having problems with.

Kidney Support

If kidney support is called for, we recommend three Renafood tablets (from Standard Process Labs) daily. If you have had a diagnosis of kidney problems or disease, see a holistic doctor to determine the precise kidney products that are good for you. Renatrophin is a kidney protomorphogen therapy product. If you doubt the efficiency of protomorphogen therapy, see “Oral Tolerance Therapy (Protomorphogens),” Health Alert, Vol. 12, No. 12.


Perhaps the most overlooked stubborn cause of high blood pressure is a case of hypertonia. This is when your body is being stymied by a cascade of effects caused by chronic tension within your breathing, nervous, and circulatory structures. The cure for hypertonia is usually as simple as several months of deep breathing exercises. And don’t pooh-pooh this idea! Deep breathing exercises performed properly will drastically alter your entire body’s physiology.

What does that mean? It means the entire chemistry of your blood — oxygenation, nervous function, muscle actions, digestion — simply everything will change. The changes that occur following these exercises is the elimination of hypertonia, which is the old fashioned term for chronic, long-term physical and emotional tension and stress.

The most common symptoms of hypertonia besides high blood pressure are head pressure, numbness, dizziness, memory problems, (even bordering on amnesia), chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pressure, nervous irritability, sexual impotence, constipation, and more. The single most indicative symptom is head pressure, usually accompanied by headache and dizziness.

In fact, those suffering from hypertonia are generally being suffocated a little at a time! And this is a powerful cause of sickness and disease. This also explains why so many people for so many centuries have felt great after practicing yoga. After all, yoga has its emphasis in breathing and the resolution of hypertonia.

Deep Breathing Exercise

First of all, understand that deep breathing is a science. You can’t just go in a corner and pant for a few minutes each day. Here’s what to do: First, lie down on a couch or bed. It works best if your are naked, since bras and other constructive clothing can impede proper breathing.

The first stage of deep breathing is the abdominal breath. Breathe in through your nose and expand your abdomen until it arches upward and outward. At this point you have lowered your diaphragm and completely aerated the lower lobes of your lungs. When this part of the breath has ended, breathe in further and expand your chest. This opens the second stage of a deep breath and aerates the upper or super lobes of your lungs. Do this slowly and gradually, until the full expansion of your lungs is achieved.

Be patient; this isn’t easy. Take your time and practice this technique three times daily for five minutes. It is best to begin by lying down, but as you progress, you can do this exercise sitting or standing. Be sure there is plenty of fresh air. And each time you breathe in this manner, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. In fact, the exhaling is a means to measure your success. Here’s how:

When you get some practice under your belt, exhale while sounding or humming the letter “U”. You will know you are getting good when you can exhale humming “U” for 20 seconds. Sounds easy? You will be surprised by the challenge when you begin! Nonetheless, stick with it and you will eventually become successful. After several months of being successful at deep breathing, you will have begun to resolve hypertonia, one of the most dramatic causes of stubborn high blood pressure.

The Final Factor

In some cases, problems with structures of the body that are interfering with nerve function can cause or contribute to hypertonia and/or high blood pressure. If you have exhausted all the other possibilities discussed here, it is time to get to a good chiropractor. A locked-up spine or neck will definitely contribute to elevated blood pressure. And sometimes, a chiropractor or osteopath is the only person who can further the normalization of these structures, releasing nerve interference and allowing for normalized blood vessel tone.

Any one or all of the factors discussed in this article may pertain to you. And it is a very rare individual who will still have uncontrolled hypertension after following the protocols listed in this article. So have at it! You need not just continue taking powerful drugs that have a list of side effects as long as your arm and do nothing about the cause of the high blood pressure. Use holistic therapies. Go on, amaze your doctor!

End of Article

If you are looking for Standard Process Labs supplements, check with your health care practitioner, or you can contact Immune Systems, at 800.231.8063.

Dr West spoke of Celtic Sea Salt, and perhaps we should mention it again here. For years doctors and dieticians have told us that salt causes high blood pressure. However, at the Hypertension Center of the New York-Cornell Medical Center, the research of Dr John H. Laragh, M.D shows that the High Blood Pressure (HBP) problem lies in an overactive hormone system and not in salt intake. In most patients with HBP, the system is over active, and high levels of renin (a protein-digesting enzyme released by the kidney) raises blood pressure levels. Salt levels in the body are also reduced in this condition, and if the patient is put on a low salt diet, salt starvation could occur, and this is a deadly condition. Only in one third of hypertensive people (those who have low renin levels) will sodium excess be found. This group should lower their sodium intake, but not end it completely. The human body needs salt to survive.

How do you know which group you are in? Ask your doctor for a simple blood test. If you do not have a low level of renin in your blood, then you need salt, and the only salt on your table should be Celtic Sea Salt. If you have a low level of renin and hypertension, your body still needs salt, but in moderation, and again, table salt is pure poison. Foods with excess salt are also pure poison. Read Labels! And again, you should be using Celtic Sea Salt only.

For more on Celtic Sea Salt, see the article at this site: Celtic Sea Salt. And to get it at the lowest cost on the web (when you factor in shipping), go here: Simply the Best.

Additional Therapies for Hypertension

As Dr West pointed out, many treatments for stubborn hypertension can be hit and miss. The following will point out some of the varieties of therapies used by our alternative community, and some of the original research that brought these therapies to light.

Keep in mind that a list of supplements (and foods) that are good for the heart and vascular system will be presented at the end of this piece; as we go along we shall just point out some highlights.

Shang Gardens, Minnesota’s own ginseng farm (we grow some of the best ginseng in the world here in Minnesota and next door in Wisconsin) told us that Soviet and German physicians discovered that ginseng helps to reduce high blood pressure. They also learned that American ginseng was best at lowering cholesterol levels in animal studies and produces better circulation, with the side effect of cleaner metabolism.

In Medicinal Herbal Therapy - A Pharmacist’s Viewpoint by Steven Ottariano (a practicing clinical pharmacist at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire), we learned that the hawthorne berry has angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor activity. ACE inhibitors have been used by physicians to treat hypertension, but there are many undesirable side effects. The hawthorne berry doesn’t have these side effects, and, as Steven points out, in some cases works better than the prescribed medications.

Clinical studies on CoQ10 [Langsjoen P. H., Langsjoen P. H., Willis R., Folkers K. (1994) Treatment of essential hypertension with coenzyme Q10. In: Eighth International Symposium on Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q (1994) Littarru G.P., Battino M, Folkers K. (Eds) The Molecular Aspects of Medicine, Vol. 15 (Supplement), pp S287-S294] showed that by using CoQ10 in conjunction with conventional antihypertensive drugs, 51% of those studied were able to stop between one and three antihypertensive drugs just 4.4 (avg.) months after starting the CoQ10 therapy. Another similar study showed the same thing, except that the number was 43% of the patients. So, as you can see, this is not a 100% of the time sort of therapy. Each individual is just that: an individual.

Both Drs Cayenne (Dr Christopher and Dr Schulze) swear by cayenne pepper. I’m sure most of you have heard of the heart-healthy benefits of cayenne pepper, but few of you take a teaspoon of it in water, up to three times a day. Taking cayenne pills is quite different from taking it in a cup of water. For one thing, you have to take the pills with food and never on an empty stomach. The tea form can, and should be taken on an empty stomach, for it is absorbed quicker and is not an irritant as most of us suspected (it has been known to reverse ulcers). Both Dr Christopher and Dr Schulze have had hundreds of patients stabilize their blood pressure with cayenne pepper, whether it was low or high to begin with.

Now, for both herbalists (Master Herbalists, I should add), the standard treatment was one teaspoon of very hot cayenne pepper in water, three times a day. However, Dr Schulze’s best high (and low) blood pressure recipe is: 2 parts Garlic bulb, 1 part Cayenne, 1 part Ginger root (making a tincture is even better). Take this three times daily. You should see results before a month is up.

When and if these fine United States allow us to use marijuana legally, you’ll find new antihypertensive drugs on the market. Studies done in the thirties (not to mention thousands of testimonials) show it lowers blood pressure.

The Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology [92;20 Supplement 12:S196-7] reported that intravenous L-arginine lowered blood pressure, decreased resistance in the blood vessels and increased heart output. Orally it lowers cholesterol levels.

Eggplant: let your food be your medicine. Eggplant contains scopoletin and scoparone, two phytochemicals that calm the nerves that control the muscles in your arteries. And should you eat a diet high in cholesterol, a little eggplant will bind with the cholesterol and keep it from being absorbed in the colon.

We received the following folk remedy for lowering your blood pressure, but be warned: you must have your blood pressure monitored daily, because low blood pressure is dangerous too. Do not attempt this without supervision from your doctor or health care professional. Cut up a medium sized unpeeled, organic eggplant into small pieces and put them into a quart jar. Add filtered water, not tap or distilled, till the jar is full and cap it. Store it in the refrigerator for 4 days. Then, starting on the fifth day, drink one ounce of the liquid each day. When your diastolic pressure (the bottom or lower number) drops to 80, stop. If you are on blood pressure medication, have your doctor take you off when your pressure first starts to drop. It can take up to two weeks for your pressure to start dropping. There are no side effects.

DMG: dimethylglycine. From Russia we learned some time ago of their use of DMG to detox radiation poisoning in the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. It is an amazing supplement, though there are very few studies done here in the US. There was one study that reportedly repudiated Russian claims that athletes benefit from it, though still, many athletes use it because it allows tissues to absorb more oxygen. It is immuno-restorative in that it brings up T-cell counts and increases the production of interferon. Amazingly, at 175 mg per day it reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers high blood pressure, and reduces or eliminates angina pain. It must be continued daily, and it has no known side effects, especially at this small dosage.

A study in India showed that people eating 3.5 ounces of guava fruit a day lowered their cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL levels. Even more important, blood pressure levels dropped (9 points systolic and 8 points diastolic). Guavas are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene. In the Annals of Internal Medicine we discovered a study in Italy that showed that a diet rich in potassium lessens the need for hypertension drugs. We should all know by now that increasing our calcium, magnesium and potassium will help to lower blood pressure, and now your doctor will find out. Foods high in potassium are strawberries, cantaloupes, oranges, bananas, and potatoes. Additionally, Celtic Sea Salt contains potassium, and the sodium/potassium ratio could not be any more perfect for your health.

Finally, like Dr West who pointed out benefits of deep breathing, we would be remiss not to mention meditation, yoga, qigong and tai chi. If you suffer from high blood pressure (or any cardiovascular problem), you are not your disease. You are body/mind/spirit, and you must care for all three of you. Find a teacher who can teach you one, two, or all of these wonderful healing modalities. All three of these have proven to reduce blood pressure and heal the heart. (There are articles further on in this edition on meditation and yoga.)

As always, when you are taking prescription drugs, beware of drug interactions, even with standard OTC (over-the-counter) drugs. Additionally, many over-the-counter drugs can exacerbate your current condition. A good example here is OTC decongestants: if you have hypertension, ask your doctor before taking a decongestant containing pseudoephedrine, because that medicine can raise blood pressure.

As Dr West stated, most of the time it’s “hit or miss,” trying this and that and the other. Well, after researching for years and finding all of the above information, we suddenly stumbled across the work of Dr Rath. He has a theory as to the many causes of hypertension and is, in fact, reversing it in case after case, no matter how stubborn, using nutrition. All we have mentioned above is still valid (with some overlap as you shall see) and it leads right to the work of Dr Rath.

The main cause of hypertension is (from Dr Rath’s book, Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks — But People Do, which we highly recommend): “… a chronic deficiency of essential nutrients in millions of artery wall cells.” According to his research, essential nutrition begins with his Basic Cellular Medicine Program as described earlier in this piece.

Since we learn through repetition, to normalize our blood pressure we will want to add the following to our regimen (keeping in mind that Dr Rath has created a special formula containing the supplements we’re about to mention called Relacor, which is a daily dietary supplement designed to support the normal process of blood pressure and you can call Matthias Rath, Inc. at 800.624.2442 or visit his website:

Vitamin C: you might want to increase your vitamin C until you find your bowel tolerance level; the point at which you will get diarrhea. Your need for vitamin C increases with increased levels of toxins in your environment and body. The reason (certain) animals don’t get heart disease is that their bodies create vitamin C. However, with today’s toxic world, their bodies might not create as much as is needed and supplementing vitamin C in animals has been proposed by many veterinarians.

The way to find your bowel tolerance level is to start at around 5,000 mg of vitamin C (we recommend a good C Complex or Esterfied C) and increase each day by either 500 mg or 1000 mg. Esterfied C can be taken all at once because the body will store it better than the C Complex. The C Complex should be taken a bit at a time throughout the day. When your stool softens, drop back 500 or 1000 mg, and there you are. (Remember, when sick with a cold, or flu, or some bug, your bowel tolerance rises.) Additionally, all of your antioxidant requirements depend on where you live, how much pollution you take in, and your lifestyle. People living in LA County, California can require up to 6,000 to 10,000 mg of vitamin C daily, as much as most heavy smokers. And sadly, animals are beginning to get heart disease because the amount of vitamin C their bodies manufacture is not enough to counter the toxins in the environment and your pets too can benefit from additional vitamin C.

Vitamin E: you’ll need to increase this too. We’re told that the dry kind is more bioavailable (your body absorbs it better). You can get mixed tocopherols with selenium, or eat foods high in vitamin E: wheat germ, nuts, seeds, avocado. This antioxidant protects your arteries and your blood. It is also a blood thinner.

L-Arginine: discovered by body builders as a wonderful supplement for building muscle, this is also the “relaxing” factor of your blood vessels. It decreases tension in the arterial wall thus lowering blood pressure. L-arginine will also allow the smaller arteries to open up and flush more life-sustaining blood through an area. Opening up an artery just a small amount can make a huge difference in the amount of blood flow. Note: Toxicity to L-arginine is around 40 grams or more a day. Also, if you have herpes, you’ll want to increase this slowly as it can stimulate an outbreak, so be careful.

Taking Siberian ginseng (180 to 300 milligrams) will increase the conversion of L-arginine to nitric oxide and can improve blood flow to the muscle in times of low oxygen. Nitric oxide is a potent antioxidant that combats free radical injury to the heart muscle.

Magnesium: this is the agent responsible for all the TV commercials recommending the use of aspirin for heart disease and heart attacks. What bull! In all the aspirin studies, plain aspirin never worked as well as buffered aspirin worked. Magnesium is the buffering agent. Your body needs magnesium. It doesn’t need aspirin. Aspirin use over a period of time can be deadly. Aspirin actually increases the chances of hemorrhagic stroke in 40% of the people using it to prevent these diseases.

Calcium: increase your intake for maximum metabolism of your various minerals. Bone Calcium has always been our favorite form, since it contains everything for healthy bones and teeth. Vegetarians don’t take bone calcium, so they’ll have to get all the factors they need separately. Your arteries need calcium too. A good solid level is 1,000 mg daily. For absorption, however, you might need to take additional stomach acid and enzymes. We will talk about digestive aids later, but know this: stomach acid is needed to break down and absorb calcium.

Bioflavonoids: We cannot stress the fact that in nature, vitamins are complexes and not singular chemicals. Vitamin C is found in plants that also contain copper and bioflavonoids. Vitamin C is a complex of all these things and if you are taking vitamin C alone, you will require bioflavonoids to improve and potentiate the effect of your vitamin C. It is now known that resveratrol is one of the factors behind what 60 Minutes termed the French Paradox: the fact that the French diet is filled with fats (that we assume clog arteries) and yet they have the lowest heart disease rate among developed nations. It’s the wine, everyone agreed. But what was it in the wine? Resveratrol, a bioflavonoid from the skin of grapes. You don’t need to drink wine to get the benefits of resveratrol; grape juice is just as effective. Resveratrol can also be found in supplements at your health food store and in your fruits (mostly berries). It is also good protection against cancer.



The American Heart Association

Many of the early foundations to promote a healthy heart were funded by the food industry. Hoping to get their products approved and promoted as “heart healthy,” these companies sank millions of dollars into creating these organizations. Today, drug companies are among the largest funding agencies for the various heart foundations and the American Heart Association itself.

In 1996 the American Heart Association released this: “From 1982 to 1992 death rates from CVD [Cardiovascular Disease] declined 24.5 percent. Later they stated, in a press release published by Reuters, “Treatment of people who already have coronary heart disease (CHD) is a bigger factor in the steady decline in cardiac deaths than preventive efforts aimed at getting healthy people to adopt heart-safe lifestyles, a new study shows.”

In November of that year, they elected a new president, Dr Jan L. Breslow. Being new to the job, he didn’t know he was supposed to continue these lies. At a big get-together in New Orleans where most of the speakers continued promoting the party line, Dr Breslow stood up and told the audience that “Americans have been seriously misled into thinking that heart disease is on the decline.” He preached against the claim that drugs were more important than diet and lifestyle and even intimated that too many heart patients were dying from adverse reactions to their drugs rather than from their actual disease.

In the New England Journal of Medicine, the January 2002 issue, they finally came out and admitted that though drugs are a needed intervention at times, only proper nutrition will reverse heart disease.

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