Scientific studies have shown that both ordinary tomatoes and the naturally occurring substance CoQ10 can provide benefits to people with high blood pressure.
Tomatoes and lycopeneOne study on the blood pressure benefits of tomatoes was conducted by researchers from the Iran University of Medical Sciences and published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition in 2010. The researchers found that 32 people suffering from type 2 diabetes were able to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after just eight weeks of eating 200 g of raw tomatoes per day. The researchers concluded that tomato consumption might "be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes."
Indeed, numerous studies have pointed to blood pressure benefits from the regular consumption of tomatoes and tomato extract. Researchers are not sure exactly how tomatoes help regulate blood pressure, but part of the answer may lie in their high concentration of the antioxidant lycopene. A systemic review of four separate studies into lycopene's effect on blood pressure found that lycopene consumption consistently reduced systolic blood pressure, and also improved cholesterol levels when doses exceeded 25 mg per day.
Treat high blood pressure with the body's own enzymesAnother clinically supported alternative treatment for high blood pressure is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant that is naturally produced by your body and is found in every cell. Coenzymes are substances that assist the body's enzymes in performing processes such as digestion and protecting the muscles and heart.
Extra CoQ10 can be gained in significant levels from foods including organ meats, peanuts, soy oil, beef, sardines and mackerel. It is also sold in the United States as a dietary supplement and may be marketed as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.
In a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Human Hypertension in 2007, researchers reviewed 12 separate clinical trials that tested the effects of CoQ10 on the blood pressure of a total of 362 patients. Three of the studies included were randomized and controlled. In every single study, CoQ10 was found to reduce blood pressure by between 11 and 17 points (mm Hg) for systolic blood pressure and eight to 10 points for diastolic blood pressure. This drop is equivalent to that from many blood pressure drugs.
The doses used in the studies varied from 34 to 225 mg per day. According to the largest study examined, the dosage needed to reduce blood pressure varied significantly between different patients. CoQ10 was most effective at blood levels of more than 2 mcg per milliliter, which required a dose of between 75 and 360 mg per day, depending on the patient. Blood pressure decreased gradually over time.
Although it is unclear exactly why CoQ10 helps lower blood pressure, the researchers believe that as an antioxidant, the co-enzyme might help remove free radicals that otherwise lead the constriction of blood vessels.
No side effects were observed in any of the studies.
"It would seem acceptable to add Coq10 to conventional anti-hypertensive therapy, particularly in patients who are experiencing intolerable side effects of conventional anti-hypertensive therapy," the researchers wrote.
Nevertheless, like all dietary supplements, CoQ10 may cause negative reactions in some people, particularly at high doses. It may also interact negatively with certain pharmaceutical drugs. For these reasons, and because individual customization is necessary to achieve optimal blood levels, CoQ10 should be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.