Supplement

Benefit

Whole-food sources

Dose

Precautions

Calcium

Calcium deficiency can promote high blood pressure, research suggests. Findings demonstrate that women supplementing with at least 400 mg of calcium cut their stroke risk by a third (the benefit maxes out at 600 mg).

Green leafy vegetables, fortified tofu, and low-fat cheese and milk

1,000 mg/day plus 400 IU of vitamin D to aid absorption

Don’t exceed 2,000 mg maximum daily.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Studies show that garlic powder supplement reduces arterial plaque buildup and blood pressure, lowers LDL, and raises HDL.

Garlic

4,000 mcg allicin (the active ingredient in garlic)/day

High doses may cause gastrointestinal upset.

Magnesium

Maintains proper smooth muscle function in blood vessels and facilitates potassium and sodium transport; helps treat high blood pressure.

Green leafy vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin), nuts, figs, dates, and seafood

400 mg/day

Must be used with caution in patients with renal insufficiency because it can accumulate in the body; check with your doctor first.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Reduce blood pressure, blood clotting potential, and triglycerides.

Fish, nuts, flaxseed, hempseed, and soy products

1–2 grams/day

Avoid fish with high mercury levels, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

Potassium

Can help to mildly reduce blood pressure. Some findings indicate that dietary potassium can reduce stroke risk, though potassium supplements have not been shown to reduce the incidence of stroke.

Cantaloupe, fortified orange juice, bananas, almonds, milk, salmon, chicken, halibut, and turkey

50–90 mEq (milliequivalents)/day

Consult a physician if you have kidney problems.

Vitamin C

Helps protect blood vessel linings and in some cases may lower levels of lipoprotein A, a newly recognized form of bad cholesterol.

Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and strawberries

500 mg/day

High doses (2,000 mg/day or more) can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, so taper the dose if loose stools occur.

—A.P.

Sources: Jane Guiltinan, ND, Stephen Sinatra, MD, and Bob Rountree, MD.
Note: Always check with a qualified health care practitioner before starting any supplement regimen.