Blood pressure pharmaceuticals are among the most widely prescribed pills in the country. They make billions in profits for their makers. It's an incredible racket. They don't cure. They aren't designed to cure. They just suppress. You have to take them for the rest of your life. But you don't have to. There are better alternatives.
A small study of just six people showed that vitamin C and garlic lowered hypertension better than either one alone. All six participants started with a blood pressure of 140/90. The researchers gave each of them four 10-day treatments. The first treatment was a placebo. Next came vitamin C at a dose of 2,000 mg per day. Then they gave them three garlic tablets daily (650 mg daily of bulb powder). And, finally, they gave them both vitamin C and garlic.

Their findings are impressive, but not for vitamin C alone. It had no discernable effect. Garlic alone, on the other hand, reduced systolic (the higher number), but not diastolic (the lower number) blood pressure. The real results came with the vitamin C and garlic combination. It reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure to a healthy range (110-120 over 75-80).

But that's not all they found. Garlic supplementation alone induced a twofold increase in endothelial cell (the cells that line your blood vessels) nitric oxide production. Compared to a placebo, garlic plus vitamin C induced a stunning threefold increase! The authors concluded that the increase in nitric oxide (NO) might explain the improvement in blood pressure.

You've heard a lot about NO lately. It's a very short-lived beneficial free radical. Yes, a beneficial free radical. It dilates your blood vessels. You know about Viagra. It increases the life span of NO by inhibiting the enzyme that destroys it. The excess NO helps dilate vessels and reverse erectile dysfunction - at least temporarily.

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But now it seems that you don't need Viagra to increase your nitric oxide. A naturally occurring food - along with a little help from vitamin C - does it for you. Furthermore, garlic increases NO production in your endothelial cells. That means that it's improving endothelial cell function and performance. Endothelial dysfunction is where atherosclerosis and hypertension begin. When endothelial cells are breached, oxidized fats, toxins, and inflammatory cells move in, creating and promoting plaque.

Garlic is also known to have significant antioxidant effects. It naturally thins your blood with no risk of bleeding (like coumadin does), improves lipid function and metabolism, and reduces your risk of arterial plaque formation. All of these effects could help reduce your blood pressure and improve endothelial function.

If you have hypertension, consider the above amounts of garlic and vitamin C as supplements. Even better, I suggest you eat one to two cloves of raw garlic per day. Raw garlic will have all the components of garlic that might otherwise be lost in the processing of a supplement. I get mine in my daily homemade salad dressing, which I'll tell you about in a future issue of Second Opinion.

Please pass this information on to any friends or family who might have high blood pressure. And encourage them to sign up for these Second Opinion alerts at I'll continue to bring you natural alternatives to prescription drugs.

Ref: Nutr Res, 2007; 27(2): 119-123

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