Supplements for Low Blood Pressure
Taking a vitamin D3 supplement along with calcium may be a more effective way for older women to lower their systolic blood pressure than taking calcium alone. In a recent study, 148 women 70 years and older who took calcium and vitamin D3 reduced their systolic blood pressure, lowered their heart rates and reduced levels of parathyroid hormone more than women who were treated with calcium alone.
About half of the group was treated with 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium plus 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 daily; the remaining half took only 1,200 mg of calcium per day. After eight weeks, 81% of women taking both nutrients reduced their systolic blood pressure by 9.3%, compared with 47% of women taking only calcium. Similarly, 51% of women who took calcium and vitamin D experienced a 5.4% decrease in heart rate, compared with 18% of those treated with calcium alone.
The researchers note that vitamin D3 is used by the parathyroid glands that secrete a hormone that regulates the body's calcium levels. Calcium, in turn, helps to regulate blood pressure, although the mechanism is not completely understood.
The authors stress that their findings are preliminary and need to be repeated before new recommendations regarding vitamin D and calcium can be made.
Pfeifer M, Bergerow B, Minne H, et al. Effects of a short-term vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation on blood pressure and parathyroid hormone levels in elderly women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism