With the recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system (or ECS) in the late 80’s to early 90’s, the boom of research being conducted has shed light on the connection it has with the cardiovascular system … and the potential effects of what happens when this vital “balancing system” isn’t functioning properly. Hypertension is just another example of imbalance.
The ECS is known to create homeostasis to our human bodies (and many other mammals and animals, too). Homeostasis is what keeps us functioning in harmony. Like a beautifully tuned guitar, life is possible and enjoyable when this is system is tuned properly. Out of tune, it can be like nails on a chalkboard and nails in the coffin.
I know that sounds harsh, but it its true … we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have it!
Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the cardiovascular system and are now known to be able to have an impact on blood pressure, cardiac contractility, and endothelial vasomotor control. That’s a bunch of fancy words for important functions related to the cardiovascular system.
Research is showing that dysregulation of the ECS actually plays a central role in a wide variety of conditions … this includes cardiovascular disorders.
Did you know … cardiovascular disease is now the number one cause of death in the world? Unfortunately, despite the variety of pharmaceutical interventions and advancements in testing and treatment, the number of people at risk continues to increase at an alarming rate.
Hypertension and High blood pressure is VERY common and is estimated to effect 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States. Chances are you or someone very close to you is on blood pressure medications to “control” their hypertension.
The concern with hypertension is that our blood vessels begin to really feel the effects of the increased force, or pressure, pressing against the inside walls. Depending on the state of the vessels and the cardiovascular system, heart disease and stroke risk increases. Here’s the big kicker …
High blood pressure often has no symptoms.
This is just one more reason why I am a huge proponent of regular wellness visits. Evaluating the function of the body is so important these days because we are often completely unaware when things start failing, falling apart, or dysfunctioning. We use the good ole “feeling gauge” to decide if we are healthy … which is actually quite dangerous.
In the chiropractic profession, we are made aware of the stark difference between feeling and function. We can feel fine, but be functioning poorly. High blood pressure is a prime example of what we mean by this.
Conventional medical treatment suggests things like lowering your salt intake, quit smoking, start exercising and of course … medication.
I do agree with a few of these whole heartedly. Humans were created to move and our sedentary lifestyle is a big problem. I think a cigarette filled with almost 600 ingredients that creates around 7,000 chemicals when burned is a terrible creation that has taken away way more life than we can possibly imagine.
I’m not totally sold on the global salt statement. I do agree that sodium chloride (the white table salt that the majority of Americans consume) is also a terrible addition to our society. It’s heavily processed and then bleached to make it white and pretty. It’s not in its natural state whatsoever.
I do believe that naturally occurring salt (sea salt, Himalayan and celtic are great sources) that contains the trace minerals our body needs for life is a better choice. Yes, you can overdo salt. However, there are many health benefits and I encourage you to do some deeper research before you cut your simply just cut salt from your life. (I really love the work from Dr. David Brownstein who wrote a book called Salt Your Way to Health).
Now … where I really diverge from traditional medicine is on the medications recommendation. YES, they have a place and CAN be important to use in certain circumstances. However, I don’t agree with mass prescribing and the long-term use that our society has fallen into for hypertension and a host of other conditions.
ACE inhibitors and beta blockers are common drugs prescribed to manage hypertension. They are written off as being pretty harmless but what your doctor doesn’t know may hurt you. These drugs have been shown to cause depletions in key nutrients like:
- Vitamin B1(Thiamine)
With just a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, you too can discover what symptoms are associated with these nutrient deficiencies. Here’s a few …
- High blood pressure
- Fatal cardiomyopathy
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
- Irregular heart beat
- Gum disease and tooth loss
- Hair loss
- Liver disease
- Sudden complete memory loss
- Migraines and headaches
- Muscle cramps
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Nerve damage
And this doesn’t even include diuretics – another popular prescription!
Do you find it interesting that the very drug used to treat hypertension and high blood pressure can actually CONTRIBUTE to high blood pressure!? Or that it’s also linked to heart disease!? This is why I don’t believe long-term use is very sustainable.
Ok … so blood pressure is a concern … what are non-medication options?
Let’s start with the overall lifestyle choices that appear to be linked with almost ALL conditions first …
- Reduce stress (this can be as simple as finding an implementing a daily conscious breathing practice)
- Find an appropriate exercise plan for you (exercise is multifaceted and should include balanced active & passive stretching, cardio training, and building endurance through strength – not just “beach muscles” as I call them!)
- Eat to Live (find foods that are alive and full of nutrients to nourish you. Chances are if it comes in a box or package, it’s processed and not much energy is left to fuel your body)
Moving on up the ladder, let’s chat supplements, too.
According to Harvard University and functional medicine practitioners all over the United States, magnesium helps regulate hundreds of body systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and muscle and nerve function. A simple blood test can check your “RBC Magnesium” (not serum magnesium). If you can, the Micronutrient test from Spectracell is really great.
To restore magnesium levels, I generally prefer magnesium chelate, magnesium threonate or magnesium orotate depending on the health status and profile of the patient. Dosages will vary and working with an educated practitioner is ideal. I suggest supplementing for 90 days and then re-checking the “RBC Magnesium” blood test.
I also really like using a complete mineral complex (I’ve found overall success is better with capsule form of chelated minerals) especially when testing nutrient levels isn’t an option or sometimes in conjunction with magnesium to better maintain the critical balance of our necessary minerals. I highly suggest it following the 90-day therapeutic magnesium use, too.
Naturally, with the vital connection of our ECS with our cardiovascular system, a 90-day trial of our high-quality full spectrum hemp oil that is rich in phytocannabinoids (including CBD or cannabidiol) is also an excellent choice for those experiencing high blood pressure.
If you are on medications already, be sure to check your blood pressure regularly after adding something new. Chances are that you’ll need your medications lowered and ideally eventually eliminated as your body naturally balances out. Keep in contact with your prescribing doctor through this process. And remember its ideal to take your supplements first, wait 30 minutes, and then take your medications as prescribed.
The truth is the root cause of elevated blood pressure can be from many different sources. Hormones, inflammation, kidneys, cancer … or a stressful life event. It is a completely normal physiological response to stress and does serve a purpose. However, we were not built to sustain an on-going (chronic) elevated blood pressure.
I always suggest to dive deeper (preferably with a holistic practitioner) and search to discover what the underlying source is for YOU. You can start simply with blood tests to look further into inflammatory and cardiometabolic markers like C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Homocysteine, Fibrinogen and I love the complete cholesterol panel from Boston Heart Diagnostics. It may be an early indicator of something much bigger that with immediate attention and intervention, could save your life.
See what impact ECS Restore can have on your body creating homeostasis and letting your body address hypertension.