LMU – 186 Beetroot Juice: A Natural Blood Pressure Regulator
Source: Journal of Nutrition (2013 Meta-analysis)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (Dec 18, 2020)
For a substantial number of individuals grappling with high blood pressure, the quest for effective management often extends beyond medication. These patients find themselves teetering on the precipice of hypertension, seeking to inch closer to the coveted realm of ideal blood pressure. Fortunately, a remarkable solution emerges from the realms of research—one that involves an unlikely ally: beetroot juice.
Understanding the Challenge: Uncontrolled Hypertension
High blood pressure, or hypertension, poses a significant health threat. For some, standard blood pressure medications fail to usher their readings into the safe, ideal range. This precarious situation not only elevates the risk of strokes and heart attacks but also jeopardizes kidney function. Additionally, a substantial portion of the population hovers at the upper boundary of normal blood pressure or grapples with pre-hypertension, where a slight reduction in pressure would prove profoundly beneficial.
Beetroot Juice: A Surprising Solution
Enter beetroot juice, a natural elixir with the potential to significantly lower blood pressure, particularly in those battling hypertension. The secret behind this unexpected hero lies in its richness in inorganic nitrate—a compound that the body employs to widen blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.
Science in Action: Unveiling the Benefits
A pivotal study conducted at Queen Mary University in London unravelled the potency of beetroot juice in blood pressure management. The trial featured 64 participants aged 18-85, comprising individuals taking prescribed high blood pressure medication that failed to meet their target readings and others diagnosed with high blood pressure but not yet on medication. The participants were randomly divided into two groups: one consumed 8 oz (250 ml) daily of genuine beetroot juice for four weeks, while the other imbibed beetroot juice with the nitrates removed.
The results were remarkable. The group consuming authentic beetroot juice witnessed a substantial drop in blood pressure—8mmHg systolic and 4mmHg diastolic. In the two weeks following the study’s conclusion, during which no beetroot juice was consumed, their blood pressure reverted to previous levels. Conversely, the placebo group experienced no such decline in blood pressure during or after the study.
Comparable to Medications: A Game-Changer
What makes this discovery all the more striking is that the reduction in blood pressure achieved through beetroot juice is akin to the effects of many high blood pressure medications. A single blood pressure-lowering drug typically reduces blood pressure by an average of 9mmHg systolic and 5mmHg diastolic. The implications are profound, leading the researchers to conclude, “These findings suggest a role for dietary nitrate as an affordable, readily available adjunctive treatment in the management of patients with hypertension (high blood pressure).”
A Lifeline for Heart Health
The research also serves as a poignant reminder that even minor fluctuations in blood pressure carry significant consequences. For every 2-point increase in blood pressure, the risk of heart disease surges by 7%, and the likelihood of a stroke rises by 10%. An 8-point reduction in systolic pressure and a 4-point decrease in diastolic pressure, achievable through the consumption of beetroot juice, holds immense significance for those with blood pressure exceeding 125 over 75. The ideal blood pressure threshold is set at or below 120 over 70.
Moreover, the vasodilatory properties of beetroot juice may extend beyond blood pressure regulation, offering potential benefits for conditions such as erectile dysfunction and poor circulation in extremities.
A Daily Dose of Health
In light of this research, individuals with blood pressure levels above 125/75, whether medicated or not, may consider incorporating an 8-oz serving of beetroot juice into their daily routine. This simple addition could serve as a proactive step toward further reducing blood pressure and inching closer to the coveted ideal range.
Siervo M et al. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: A systematic review and Meta-analysis. The Journal of Nutrition 2012, 143;6:818-826. [Read more](https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/143/6/818/4571708)
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.