As the nurse removed the blood pressure cuff from her arm, Heather Donahue felt a pang of worry. It was 133/82. She’d always had healthy readings, but over the past two years, her numbers had been creeping up. So far, they hadn’t been high enough to warrant medication. But this latest reading, coupled with Heather’s admission that she also occasionally felt a tightening in her chest, concerned her doctor and prompted her to pull out the prescription pad.
“I want to do everything I can to get my blood pressure under control,” Heather told her doctor, “but I worry about the potential side effects of drugs. Can I see if I can get the numbers down on my own first?” Her doctor agreed, as long as she closely monitored her blood pressure and returned right away if she noticed it was going up.
Because heart disease runs in her family, Heather already ate a heart-healthy diet that included plenty of vegetables and lean meat. She also closely watched her sodium consumption, exercised daily and kept her stress level down. So she was at a bit of a loss, wondering, What more can I do?
A Natural Solution
After leaving the doctor’s office, Heather stopped and bought a home blood pressure monitor to track her numbers daily. That evening, she also started researching other natural ways to lower her blood pressure. To her surprise, one supplement kept popping up again and again: magnesium.
Heather read with interest how the mineral prevents blood vessels from constricting, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure, and even prevents plaque from building up in the arteries. She also found that studies show it to be safe, and online stores revealed it was also inexpensive. It can’t hurt to try it, she told herself.
Heather had also learned in her research that there are different kinds of magnesium supplements, but they can all help control blood pressure. Her local Costco carried magnesium oxide for a great price, so she started taking a 500-mg. tablet once a day. (Another great one to try: Natural Calm by Natural Vitality, available here.)
After just a few weeks, Heather was happy to see that her blood pressure had dropped to 128/78. She was especially relieved that she no longer experienced chest tightness. Encouraged, she continued taking the supplement, and when she returned to the doctor for her six-month checkup, her blood pressure was down to 122/70. Thrilled, her doctor asked if she had made any changes to her lifestyle, and Heather excitedly shared her miracle mineral. Best of all, in subsequent visits, she had readings under the ideal range of 120/70!
Today, three years later, Heather, 49, continues to take a daily magnesium supplement, and her blood pressure remains under control without drugs. “I couldn’t be happier,” she beams. “This simple, affordable supplement has given me my health and peace of mind.”
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.