Antioxidant May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Supplement May Reduce Dependence on Blood Pressure-Lowering Drugs
WebMD News Archive
Antioxidant Supplement Helps Lower Blood Pressure continued...
The study, which appears in the Jan. 2 issue of the journal
Life Sciences, showed side effects that were similar in the two
Rohdewald says the most powerful ingredient in the antioxidant
supplement appears to be procyanidins, which are bitter tasting compounds that
used to be commonly found in many foods.
"My theory is that our food industry and our plant
cultivation over past 200 years has nearly eliminated these very useful
substance because most people don't like to eat astringent-tasting apples and
grapes. They like to have sweet ones," Rohdewald tells WebMD.
"I think for our well-being these procyanidins had been
very useful. Now we lack these substances, and we would do better if we take
these substances," says Rohdewald, who also serves a consultant to the
company that produces Pycnogenol.
New Use for Antioxidants?
Experts say it's not the first time that plant-based
antioxidants have been shown to mildly reduce blood pressure levels. But this
study is unusual because it looked at the benefits of using antioxidant
supplements in combination with conventional medicines.
"What's interesting to me, is that by and large
complimentary and alternative medicine have focused on these natural remedies
as an alternative to traditional medicines, and in this case they are being a
little more integrative, using a natural remedy in combination with a drug
remedy," says antioxidant researcher Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, professor of
nutrition at Tufts University in Boston.
Blumberg says previous studies have already shown that
antioxidants, such as those found in green tea and vitamin C, have a slight
blood pressure-lowering effect when used instead of drugs in treating people
with mild high blood pressure. But this study shows antioxidant therapy may
also benefit people already on drug therapy for their high blood pressure.