Treating Normal Blood Pressure - Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Treating Normal Blood Pressure

December 1, 2020
Dr. Carolyn Dean

I never saw this coming – that doctors would be advised to prescribe drugs for a normal or mildly elevated BP. How does this make any sense? An Aug 31, 2020 Medscape article titled “Antihypertensive Treatment Beneficial at Normal BP Levels” didn’t even have a question mark after it.

Apparently a 48-study, meta-analysis found that “Lowering blood pressure with antihypertensive medication reduces future cardiovascular events even in individuals with normal or only mildly elevated blood pressure.”

The number of participants 348,854 – is impressive and the study investigators seem pretty giddy about the results. The chief investigator, Dr Kazem Rahimi, concluded that the study “…challenges the widely held view that blood pressure reduction is just for people with high blood pressure or a history of cardiovascular disease [CVD].” Now everyone can benefit from blood pressure drugs he says.

Rahimi said that “Over an average 4 years of follow-up, each 5 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure lowered the relative risk of major cardiovascular events by about 10%.”  I’m used to thinking that 10% is the range of lab error, so it makes me wonder if it’s wise to put people on blood pressure meds, presumably for life, for such a small gain.

Thankfully, the chief researcher didn’t want doctors to prescribe without assessing “an individual’s likelihood of suffering cardiovascular disease in the future” using “a number of risk calculators.” Also, he said that “Other factors to consider are the potential for side effects and the cost of treatment.”

But then he blew his own cautions by saying that “…our general message is that the hypertension field should be following what we have already accepted in the cholesterol field.” And that means beating down cholesterol below 200, to presumably lower the risk of heart disease. doctors are also recommending an aggressive drug approach to diabetes and obesity, the other two risk factors for heart disease.

According to a medical website, HealthLine, as of 2018, 30.3 million adults were diagnosed with heart disease. Every year, about 647,000 Americans die from heart is making it the leading cause of death and being responsible for 1 out of every 4 deaths. However, nobody is mentioning in any of these studies that the risk factors for heart disease are all related to magnesium deficiency.

  1. High blood pressure. With insufficient magnesium and too much calcium in the diet and the blood stream, the smooth muscles lining blood vessels go into spasm and cause high blood pressure. Allopathic medicine uses diuretics in combination with salt restriction to help flush fluids from the body, presumably to put less pressure on the blood vessels. Such dehydration can thicken the blood making the patient susceptible to clotting-related conditions such as stroke and deep vein thrombosis. Another side effect of diuretics is increased Mg deficiency and consequent elevation of cholesterol and blood sugar. When patients are given statin drugs for their cholesterol and drugs for their diabetes, Mg deficiency can become so severe that they develop atrial fibrillation or have a heart attack. Most drugs used in treating heart disease and hypertension drain Mg from the body, especially the ones containing fluoride molecules.
  1. High cholesterol. HMG-CoA reductase is the rate-limiting enzyme for cholesterol synthesis. Mg regulates this enzyme making more or less cholesterol as needed. HMG-CoA is targeted and destroyed by statin drugs. Mg is responsible for several lipid-altering functions that are not shared by statin drugs; it is necessary for the activity of an enzyme that lowers LDL cholesterol and TGL and raises HDL. Many researchers refer to Mg as a natural statin. Another Mg-dependent enzyme converts omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids into prostaglandins, which are necessary for heart and overall health.
  1. Diabetes. Medicine recognizes Mg deficiency as one of the signs of diabetes for the following reasons: Mg is necessary to make and secrete insulin.
    1. Mg facilitates carbohydrate metabolism. 
    2. Mg allows insulin to transfer glucose into cells. Otherwise, glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.
    3. Tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that allows glucose entry into the cell (along with insulin), is Mg-dependent.
    4. Seven of the ten enzymes needed to metabolize glucose in the glycolysis pathway are Mg-dependent.
  1. Depression. If you suffer from depression you have a 64 % greater risk of developing coronary artery disease. In Chapter Three of The Magnesium Miracle I listed Three Things You Need To Know About Magnesium, Anxiety And Depression.
    1. Magnesium supports our adrenal glands, which are overworked by stress leading to combined magnesium deficiency symptoms and adrenal exhaustion symptoms of anxiety, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, eye twitches, insomnia, anorexia, apathy, apprehension, poor memory, confusion, anger, nervousness, and rapid pulse.
    2. Serotonin, the “feel-good” brain chemical that is artificially boosted by Prozac, depends on magnesium for its production and function.
    3. Magnesium deficiency has been strongly linked to sleep disorders, which can either cause or increase anxiety.
  1. Obesity. Chapter 8 of The Magnesium Miracle is called, “Obesity, Syndrome X, and Diabetes” which I say are part of a continuum of illness that may progress to heart disease if not headed off by good diet, supplements, especially magnesium, exercise, and stress reduction. They are not really separate diseases, as you may think, and underlying all this misery we find magnesium deficiency. In fact, there has been a recent addition to our medical vocabulary—it’s diabesity, a recognition that if someone is about thirty pounds overweight for more than a decade, diabetes will likely occur. People with Syndrome X are obese, are on the road to diabetes with insulin resistance, and also have hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides.

Instead of learning about the life-saving properties of magnesium, doctors who were asked to comment on Rahimi’s study all seemed to agree that “blood pressure–lowering drugs can be beneficial in patients with systolic BPs as low as 120 mm Hg.” After a presentation of this paper at a clinical trial congress, ESC Hot Line, the co-chair commented that “…blood pressure treatment is becoming more important as a modifier of baseline risk even in the presence of relatively low starting blood pressures. I think that is an important message.”

The more important message is to review papers such as I’ve included in the references section. Ones like Dr. James Dinicolantonio (#4) who says that Magnesium deficiency is a public health crisis. And I say it’s one that can be treated with saturation doses of a stabilized magnesium ion called ReMag.

References: Calcification

1 Iseri LT, French JH, “Magnesium: nature’s physiologic calcium blocker.” Am Heart J, vol. 108, pp. 188–193, 1984.

2 Houston M. The Role of Magnesium in Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease: Review. J Clin Hypertension. Vol 13:11; pp 843-7. 2011.

3 Abraham GE, “The Calcium Controversy.” Journal of Applied Nutrition, vol. 34, no. 2, 1982, guest editorial.

4 McCarty MF, Dinicolantonio JJ, “The molecular biology and pathophysiology of vascular calcification.” Postgrad Med, vol. 126, no. 2, pp. 54–64, 2014.

5 Demer LL, Tintut Y. Vascular calcification: pathobiology of a multifaceted disease. Circulation. 2008 Jun 3;117(22):2938-48.

References: Cholesterol

6 Rosanoff A, Seelig MS, “Comparison of mechanism and functional effects of Mg and statin pharmaceuticals.” J Am Coll Nutr, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 501S–505S, 2004. 

7 Altura BT et al., “Mg dietary intake modulates blood lipid levels and artherogenesis.” Proc Natl Acad Sci, vol. 87, no. 5, pp. 1840–1844, 1990.

References: Diabetes

8 Bherwani S et al., “Hypomagnesaemia: a modifiable risk factor of diabetic nephropathy.” Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig, 2016, doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2016-0024. [Epub ahead of print] 

9 Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ, “Mg and type 2 diabetes.” World J Diabetes, vol. 6, no. 10, pp. 1152–1157, 2015. 

10 Guerrero-Romero F et al., “Oral Mg supplementation improves glycemic status in subjects with prediabetes and hypomagnesaemia: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.” Diabetes Metab, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 202–207, 2015. 

11  Lu J et al., “Serum Mg concentration is inversely associated with albuminuria and retinopathy among patients with diabetes.” J Diabetes Res, 1260141, 2016. 

12  Veronese N et al., “Effect of Mg supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials.” Eur J Clin Nutr, doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.154.

References: Obesity

13 Nielsen FH. Magnesium, inflammation, and obesity in chronic disease. Nutrition Reviews, Volume 68, Issue 6, 1 June 2010, Pages 333–340.

References: Depression and Anxiety

14 Cernak I et al., “Alterations in Mg and oxidative status during chronic emotional stress.” Magnes Res, vol. 13, pp. 29–36, 2000. 

15 Lakhan, Shaheen E, and Karen F Vieira. “Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review.” Nutrition journal vol. 9 42. 7 Oct. 2010.

16 Sartori SB et al., “Mg deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment.” Neuropharmacology, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 304–312, 2012. 

17 Boyle, Neil Bernard et al. “The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review.” Nutrients vol. 9,5 429. 26 Apr. 2017.

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