Hypertension Hacks

In this podcast, we delve into the complex factors that contribute to hypertension, including genetic predisposition, diet, stress, and environmental influences. Dr. Wald provides valuable insights into the role of exercise, stress reduction techniques, and the importance of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in managing blood pressure. With his extensive expertise in functional medicine, Dr. Wald offers practical advice on how to address hypertension through a holistic approach that encompasses both conventional medical treatments and natural interventions. Join us as we uncover the latest research and strategies for maintaining optimal blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health.

Tune in to Ask the Blood Detective with Dr. Michael Wald for an in-depth exploration of hypertension and learn how to take control of your health through informed choices and proactive lifestyle modifications.

Understanding Hypertension: Causes and Prevalence

Hypertension can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, diet, and underlying health conditions. Stress, obesity, excessive salt intake, alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity are all known contributors to high blood pressure. Additionally, conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can also play a role in the development of hypertension.

In the United States, both men and women are affected by hypertension. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 45.1% of men and 47.8% of women in the US have hypertension. These staggering statistics highlight the widespread impact of this condition on the population.

Medications for Hypertension: Effectiveness and Considerations

While medications are commonly prescribed to manage hypertension, their effectiveness can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience significant improvements in their blood pressure levels with medication, while others may require a combination of different medications to achieve optimal control. It is important for individuals with hypertension to work closely with their healthcare providers to find the most suitable medication regimen for their specific needs.

Nutritional and Natural Approaches for Managing Hypertension

In addition to conventional medications, nutritional and natural approaches have gained attention for their potential benefits in managing hypertension. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can contribute to better blood pressure control. Furthermore, incorporating stress-reducing practices like meditation and regular physical activity into one’s routine can also support overall cardiovascular health.

Dr. Michael Wald will explore these topics in detail on today’s episode of The Blood Detective Podcast, providing valuable insights into managing hypertension through a holistic approach.

Top 10 Causes of Hypertension in Both Men and Women

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that affects a significant portion of the global population. There are several factors that can contribute to the development of hypertension in both men and women. Here are the top 10 causes of hypertension in both genders, along with the medical treatments for each:

  1. Obesity: Excess body weight, particularly around the waist, is a major risk factor for hypertension. The accumulation of fat tissue can lead to increased resistance to insulin and elevated levels of certain hormones, which can contribute to high blood pressure.
    Medical Treatment: Weight loss through a combination of dietary changes, regular physical activity, and in some cases, medication prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  2. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity and exercise can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of developing hypertension.
    Medical Treatment: Regular physical activity and exercise routines tailored to individual needs and capabilities.
  3. High Salt Intake: Consuming too much salt can lead to fluid retention and an increase in blood pressure.
    Medical Treatment: Dietary modifications to reduce salt intake, as well as medications that help the body excrete excess sodium.
  4. Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to hypertension by causing the body to release hormones that constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate.
    Medical Treatment: Stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and counseling. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage stress-related symptoms.
  5. Smoking: Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke can damage blood vessels and raise blood pressure.
    Medical Treatment: Smoking cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapy, and medications to help individuals quit smoking.
  6. Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Heavy drinking can raise blood pressure over time and also reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensive medications.
    Medical Treatment: Limiting alcohol consumption or abstaining from alcohol altogether, as well as seeking support through counseling or support groups if needed.
  7. Genetics: Family history plays a significant role in the development of hypertension. Individuals with a family history of high blood pressure are at an increased risk themselves.
    Medical Treatment: Close monitoring of blood pressure levels and personalized treatment plans based on individual risk factors and health history.
  8. Chronic Kidney Disease: Impaired kidney function can lead to an imbalance of fluids and electrolytes in the body, contributing to hypertension.
    Medical Treatment: Management of underlying kidney disease through medications, dietary changes, and in some cases, dialysis or kidney transplant.
  9. Sleep Apnea: This sleep disorder is associated with episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, which can lead to hypertension due to the body’s response to low oxygen levels.
    Medical Treatment: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is often used to treat sleep apnea and may help lower blood pressure as a result.
  10. Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels and lead to complications such as hypertension.
    Medical Treatment: Tight control of blood sugar levels through medication, dietary management, regular monitoring, and lifestyle modifications.

It’s important to note that individual cases of hypertension may have multiple contributing factors, and treatment plans should be tailored to each person’s specific needs based on a thorough assessment by healthcare professionals.

Heavy Metals:

Heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic can all contribute to hypertension in both men and women. These metals can enter the body through various sources such as contaminated water, food, or air pollution. Once inside the body, they can accumulate in tissues and organs, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation. This can damage blood vessels and disrupt the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system, ultimately leading to high blood pressure.

Chronic Subclinical Infection:

Chronic subclinical infections, such as chronic periodontitis or chronic urinary tract infections, can also play a role in the development of hypertension. The persistent low-grade inflammation associated with these infections can contribute to endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness, both of which are linked to high blood pressure.


Malnutrition, particularly deficiencies in essential nutrients such as potassium, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, B-vitamins, and folic acid, can lead to hypertension. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by balancing the effects of sodium in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is involved in energy production within cells and has been linked to blood pressure regulation. Magnesium plays a role in relaxing blood vessels and regulating blood pressure. Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit cardiovascular health. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of hypertension. B-vitamins and folic acid are involved in processes related to cardiovascular health.

Herbs and Phytonutrients:

Certain herbs and phytonutrients have been implicated in affecting blood pressure levels. For example, licorice root extract has been associated with hypertension due to its impact on aldosterone activity. Other herbs and phytonutrients may have either positive or negative effects on blood pressure regulation depending on their specific properties and interactions with the body.

In summary, heavy metal exposure, chronic subclinical infections, malnutrition (including deficiencies in potassium, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, omega-3 fats, vitamin D, B-vitamins, and folic acid), as well as certain herbs and phytonutrients can all contribute to the development of hypertension in both men and women.

10 Lifestyle Improvements to Lower Blood Pressure

  1. Healthy Diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help lower blood pressure. Limiting sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars is also crucial. Individuals should focus on foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium as they have been shown to help regulate blood pressure.
  2. Regular Exercise: Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises to Reduce Blood Pressure:
  3. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common health issue that can lead to serious complications such as heart disease and stroke. Exercise is an effective way to help reduce blood pressure, and both aerobic and anaerobic exercises can play a role in managing hypertension.

Aerobic Exercise for Reducing Blood Pressure: Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, involves activities that increase the heart rate and breathing for an extended period. This type of exercise is beneficial for reducing blood pressure as it strengthens the heart and improves circulation. Some examples of aerobic exercises include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

When performing aerobic exercises to reduce blood pressure, it’s important to maintain a consistent routine. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week for adults. Engaging in aerobic exercises on most days of the week can lead to significant improvements in blood pressure levels.

Anaerobic Exercise for Reducing Blood Pressure: Anaerobic exercise focuses on short bursts of intense physical activity that do not rely on oxygen for energy production. While aerobic exercise is often emphasized for its cardiovascular benefits, incorporating anaerobic exercises into a fitness regimen can also contribute to lowering blood pressure.

Strength training, sprinting, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are examples of anaerobic exercises that can be beneficial for reducing blood pressure. These activities help build muscle strength and improve overall fitness, which can have a positive impact on blood pressure levels.

Combining Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises: Incorporating both aerobic and anaerobic exercises into a comprehensive fitness plan can provide synergistic benefits for reducing blood pressure. Aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular health and endurance, while anaerobic exercises contribute to muscle strength and metabolic efficiency.

For individuals looking to manage their blood pressure through exercise, a well-rounded approach that includes a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities may be most effective. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified fitness trainer to develop a personalized exercise plan that takes individual health status and fitness goals into account.

In summary, both aerobic and anaerobic exercises play important roles in reducing blood pressure. Aerobic activities improve cardiovascular health, while anaerobic exercises contribute to overall fitness and strength. By incorporating a variety of exercises into a regular routine, individuals can work towards managing their blood pressure effectively through physical activity.

  1. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise is essential for managing blood pressure. Even modest weight loss can have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure.
  2. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and mindfulness practices can help manage stress levels and lower blood pressure.
  3. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure. Moderation is key, with guidelines suggesting no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  4. Quit Smoking: Smoking raises blood pressure temporarily and damages the lining of the arteries, leading to long-term increases in blood pressure. Quitting smoking can improve overall cardiovascular health.
  5. Reduce Caffeine Intake: While the impact of caffeine on blood pressure varies from person to person, it may lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. Individuals should be mindful of their caffeine consumption and its potential effects on their blood pressure.
  6. Adequate Sleep: Quality sleep is important for overall health, including blood pressure regulation. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  7. Monitor Blood Pressure Regularly: Keeping track of blood pressure levels at home can help individuals and their healthcare providers make informed decisions about managing hypertension.
  8. Medication Adherence: For individuals with hypertension requiring medication, it’s crucial to adhere to the prescribed treatment plan as directed by a healthcare professional.

By incorporating these lifestyle improvements into daily routines, individuals can effectively lower and manage their blood pressure levels.

Common Nutritional Supplements to Lower Hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common health condition that can lead to serious complications such as heart disease and stroke. While lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial in managing hypertension, some nutritional supplements have been researched for their potential to lower blood pressure. It’s important to note that supplements should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and should not replace prescribed medications without consulting a doctor.

  1. Magnesium: Magnesium plays a role in regulating blood pressure, and studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can lead to modest reductions in blood pressure. The recommended dosage for magnesium supplementation is typically around 200-400 mg per day.
  2. Potassium: Potassium is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Increasing potassium intake through supplements or potassium-rich foods may help lower blood pressure. The recommended dosage for potassium supplements varies, but it’s generally advised to not exceed 99 mg per day unless under medical supervision.
  3. Calcium: Calcium is not only important for bone health but also for cardiovascular health. Some studies suggest that calcium supplementation may have a modest effect on reducing blood pressure. The typical dosage for calcium supplements ranges from 500-1000 mg per day.
  4. Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with high blood pressure. Supplementing with vitamin D may help improve blood pressure levels, especially in individuals with vitamin D deficiency. Dosages can vary based on individual needs, but typical doses range from 600-2000 IU per day.
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA found in fish oil supplements, have been linked to lower blood pressure levels. The recommended dosage of omega-3 fatty acid supplements is often around 1000-4000 mg per day.
  6. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an antioxidant that plays a role in energy production within cells. Research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation may help lower blood pressure. Typical dosages range from 100-200 mg per day.
  7. Garlic: Garlic supplements have been studied for their potential to reduce blood pressure. The typical dosage of garlic supplements for lowering blood pressure ranges from 600-1200 mg per day of aged garlic extract.
  8. Hibiscus: Hibiscus is a flowering plant that has been used traditionally to manage high blood pressure. Studies have shown that hibiscus supplements may have a mild lowering effect on blood pressure. Dosages can vary, but typical recommendations range from 100-300 mg per day.
  9. L-Arginine: L-arginine is an amino acid that can be converted into nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation. Research suggests that L-arginine supplementation may help lower blood pressure. Typical dosages range from 2-6 grams per day.
  10. Folic Acid (Folate): Folic acid plays a role in the production of nitric oxide, which helps regulate blood pressure. Some studies indicate that folic acid supplementation may contribute to modest reductions in blood pressure levels. The typical dosage for folic acid supplements is around 400-800 mcg per day.

It’s important to emphasize that individual responses to these supplements can vary, and consulting with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen is essential.


National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH provides comprehensive and evidence-based information on dietary supplements and their effects on health, including hypertension management.

  1. Mayo Clinic: A reputable source for medical information, the Mayo Clinic offers insights into the use of nutritional supplements for managing hypertension.
  2. American Heart Association (AHA): A trusted organization known for its expertise in cardiovascular health, the AHA provides valuable resources on dietary approaches to lower high blood pressure.

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*DISCLAIMER: Dr. Michael Wald is a doctor of chiropractic with a masters degree in nutrition. He is also a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Nutritional Specialist and Sports Nutritionist. Dr. Wald is certified to provide acupuncture in several states, but not New York. Dr. Wald has two board certifications in nutrition. Dr. Michael Wald earned his MD diploma, but did not complete a residency and is thus not licensed to practice medicine. The information on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not to substitute for sound medical or health advice. Information contained within this website may change at any time without prior notice. The information on this website is under copyright, 2021.