high blood pressure
InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.
Today, we’re going to discuss the interaction between commonly prescribed high blood pressure treating medications and your immune system. This is a very important, critical discussion we need to have because we’re heading into the fall and winter.†
High blood pressure can be very dangerous. In fact, it can be more dangerous than the drugs used to treat them, so I am not against these drugs at all. However, they can deplete important nutrients that are needed for your immune system. This doesn’t translate to dropping the drug. What it does mean is that you have to replete the nutrients. Frequently, you’re not going to get enough from your food and this is especially true for older people, who are the people who tend to have high blood pressure.†
The importance of the immune system
One of the immune system’s major jobs is to fight off infections. Infections become much more dangerous in people who have poorly functioning immune systems. There are a number of nutrients that are key to good immune system function, such as Vitamin D. You need Vitamin D to create immune cells and to help protect us from infection and our own immune system. Vitamin C is also important for the immune system.†
Then there’s zinc, which is commonly depleted by high blood pressure medication. You need zinc to create immune cells and antibodies. Zinc also makes it hard for infections to attach to our tissues. Studies show that elderly people who are commonly low in zinc have a higher risk of infection, especially pneumonia.†
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The last nutrient is melatonin, which is known as the nighttime hormone. You need this to sleep deeply and to get a long enough sleep to feel rested and refreshed. Melatonin is also needed to build bone and adjust your nighttime blood pressure. It has been recently found that immune cells can release melatonin to help kill infectious organisms.†
Research on the impacts of high blood pressure medication
Here’s a study from July of this year looking at how common blood pressure drugs leave your immune cells weak against bacteria. It’s from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In this study, the researchers looked at ACE inhibitors, which are very commonly prescribed drugs for high blood pressure and heart failure. Millions of people are prescribed ACE inhibitors. The problem with these drugs is that they can weaken the body’s ability to fight off infections. They also looked at ARBs.†
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The researchers looked at ARBs versus ACE inhibitors in both people and mice. They found that giving ACE inhibitors to mice really affects the immune system. After giving these drugs to the mice, they tested their neutrophils to see if they could kill very serious bacteria like MRSA. The researchers found that the neutrophils were much weaker when the mice were on ACE inhibitors.†
In this episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. explains how prescription drugs for high blood pressure may impact the immune system. He shares research on this issue and also provides recommendations of nutrients that you may need to help fill any drug-induced nutrient depletions.†
- The dangers of high blood pressure
- What are antibodies?
- The importance of melatonin in the body
- What are ACE inhibitors and ARBs?
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