Is There A Link Between High Blood Pressure And Vitamin Deficiency?

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Along with minerals, vitamins are vital micronutrients. They are crucial for good health including cardiovascular health. Vitamin deficiency can cause symptoms and correlates with many health problems including high blood pressure.

When it comes to high blood pressure, make sure you eat a nutrient-rich diet. Pills, mostly vitamin D and B-complex, and vitamin C (covered here) can help correct low levels. Your doctor can order blood tests to check your levels of vitamin D, B12, and folate. By doing so, you can improve your blood pressure.

Vitamin D

Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is vital for bone and tooth health. This is because it helps maintain healthy levels of calcium (Ca2+) and phosphorus in the blood. It also supports immune function, the nervous system, and has anti-inflammatory effects. It promotes healthy blood sugar levels, regulates blood pressure, and supports heart health. 

While you can get small amounts of vitamin D through diet, the main source is sunlight. UVB rays cause the skin to produce it.

Low vitamin D is a common problem worldwide. Over 40% of people in the US have this deficiency. People who don’t get much sunlight, who have dark skin or are older adults, and those who have gut problems or had gastric surgery, are at a higher risk of getting vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D And Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin D helps with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which controls blood pressure and balances electrolytes. Low vitamin D levels can result in vascular dysfunction, arterial stiffness, high cholesterol levels, and left ventricular hypertrophy. For these reasons, scientists looked at whether low vitamin D levels increase the risk for high blood pressure and heart diseases.

We do not yet know the full story of how vitamin D levels impact health. Some studies show that vitamin D levels have an inverse link with cardiovascular events like heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, and risk of death. A review of 30 clinical trials shows that vitamin D pills greatly reduce both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in normal-weight people with high blood pressure. Another study shows that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for high blood pressure in people with certain genes that control vitamin D production. Low vitamin D levels may be involved in having and maintaining high blood pressure.

B Vitamins

The B vitamin group (or “B-complex”) includes eight types of B vitamins: thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin (vitamin B7), folate (vitamin B9) and cobalamin (vitamin B12). Although each vitamin has its own function, all B vitamins share some features. All of them help the body convert food into energy, promote skin, hair, eye, and brain health. They also aid gut and liver health. B vitamins also help make red blood cells, which carry nutrients and oxygen to all body tissue and help make certain hormones. 

Based on research studies, a higher level of dietary intake of B vitamins correlates with a lower risk of high blood pressure. High dietary intake of B12 and folate correlate with lower levels of blood pressure, according to one study. Another study showed that a higher intake of vitamin B6 correlates with a lower risk of high blood pressure. Vitamin B6 in pill form may also help. In one study, this pill greatly reduced SBP and DBP in people with high blood pressure. It also improved the levels of the stress hormone, norepinephrine.

Why? One reason is that vitamins B6, B12, and folate promote healthy homocysteine levels. This compound is released in the body through a process called “methylation.” With high levels of it, there is a greater risk for high blood pressure and heart diseases. Those who have the MTHFR gene will often have homocysteine problems. Vitamin B-2 pills also seem to be a great option for people who have high blood pressure and the MTHFR gene.

You can find single B vitamin supplements or a mix of them labeled “B-complex.” If you have the MTHFR gene, you will benefit from special formulas. These include vitamin B6 in Pyridoxal-5’-phosphate (p5p) form, B2 in the Riboflavin-5-phosphate form, and folate in the methylfolate L-5-MTHF form.

Blood Pressure Medication And Vitamin Deficiency 

Vitamin deficiencies come with older age, certain health problems, and prescription drugs. That’s because drugs and micronutrients use the same transport pathways in the body for their absorption, metabolism, and elimination. This means that if you are on certain meds, vitamin pills can help correct low levels. 

ACE inhibitors deplete the body of zinc. Beta-blockers cause coenzyme Q10 and melatonin deficiency. Ca2+ channel blockers may cause potassium (K+) problems. Diuretics increase the risk of many deficiencies: Ca2+, magnesium, K+, sodium, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Aspirin creates a shortage of vitamin B9, Vitamin B5, Vitamin C, Ca2+, iron, sodium, and K+. Cholesterol-lowering agents may cause CoQ10 problems. Here is a long list of drugs and the nutrient deficiency that comes with each.