Turmeric and Hypertension:
Hypertension is among the leading lifestyle conditions that affect myriads of people today. Along with the effects that come with this condition, having hypertension raises the risk for other cardiovascular conditions like heart failure, heart attack and stroke. It also increases the chance for kidney damage, eye damage, and aneurysms.
Research on turmeric and hypertension has been showing more and more promise for this golden herb. Turmeric and its active component curcumin have established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could possibly be useful in prevention and treatment of hypertension. Aside from this, studies on turmeric and hypertension have been producing beneficial results, possibly showing that turmeric may be useful against one of the world’s leading diseases today.
Inflammation, Free Radicals, and Hypertension
Chronic inflammation is believed to play a role in the development of many lifestyle diseases, including hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Aside from this, oxidative damage from free radicals has been found to contribute to high blood pressure, causing changes in blood vessels that can lead to further complications of the disease.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory activity has long been proven to be the main factor in its ability to combat and treat various diseases. With this powerful anti-inflammatory activity, turmeric can help maintain proper cardiovascular function and healthy circulation.
Turmeric is also a well-known antioxidant. Its main component, curcumin, is known for its ability to fight off free radicals, thus preventing cellular and tissue damage caused by oxidative stress. This property is useful in averting oxidative damage to blood vessels that can possibly result in hypertension and other related cardiovascular conditions.
Turmeric and Hypertension
Hypertension is caused by an interplay of various factors, including hormone and enzyme systems. Many of these systems, like the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), are targets for antihypertensive drugs.
In a study that investigated the protective effect of curcumin on rats with induced hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, and oxidative stress, results showed that curcumin was able to effectively reduce blood pressure, increase blood flow to the limbs, and decrease vascular resistance in blood vessels. All of these show that curcumin is effective in promoting blood flow and keeping hypertension within the normal range. The researchers in the study also found that this restoration of normal blood flow may have been possibly due to a reduction in the levels of an enzyme called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). This enzyme plays a role in regulation of blood pressure by monitoring the fluid volume in the body. High levels of this enzyme usually cause various mechanisms to increase the body’s blood pressure.
Additionally, the study noted that levels of nitric oxide (NO), a compound in the blood that caused blood vessels to widen, was increased. NO levels in the blood can possibly be reduced due to dysfunction in its release by the blood vessels, or also due to inactivation by free radicals. Thus, this is where turmeric’s antioxidant property comes in handy. By balancing out free radicals, turmeric can contribute to higher levels of NO in the blood, causing blood vessels to widen and thus, lowering high blood pressure.
Another study also presented similar results where turmeric’s activity in inhibiting ACE has been seen as a possible mechanism for its anti-hypertensive potential. An in vitro test has been used to measure the ability of various turmeric extracts in inhibiting the enzyme. Results showed that ethyl acetate and water extracts of turmeric were found to be more potent in inhibiting ACE activity than captopril, an established anti-hypertensive drug that acts as an ACE-inhibitor. This shows that turmeric is a good source of components that can be used to treat hypertension.
Additionally, turmeric can cause thinning of the blood to a certain degree. This can possibly be one of the mechanisms that make it useful in treating hypertension and preventing stroke, heart attack and other cardiac complications.
Research on turmeric and hypertension has yielded a collection of data showing how turmeric can benefit patients with the condition and those who are highly at risk to having the disease. Regular intake of turmeric, coupled with substances that help increase its absorption, like black pepper and healthy oils, can possibly be of value in preventing and treating hypertension.
If you think you’re at risk for hypertension, have hypertension, or know someone who does, try taking quality organic turmeric regularly. Who knows, this golden herb can save you from stroke, heart attack, or other hypertensive complications in the future.