Alternative Therapies for Lowering Blood Pressure
Julian Whitaker, MD
Although lifestyle changes such as a therapeutic diet, regular exercise, and weight loss go a long ways towards controlling hypertension, anything you can do to improve the health of your arteries will also lower your blood pressure. Here’s an overview of two of the therapies we use at the Whitaker Wellness Institute to dramatically enhance all aspects of cardiovascular health.
EDTA Chelation Therapy Gets the Lead Out
EDTA is a synthetic amino acid that, when administered intravenously, binds to minerals and toxic heavy metals and carries them out of the body in the urine. It is a very effective therapy for cardiovascular disease because it removes calcium from arterial plaque, reduces free-radical damage to the arteries, and, perhaps most important, lowers the burden of lead and other toxic heavy metals that contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
The case for lead as an overlooked cause of hypertension is strong. The kidneys play an important role in blood pressure regulation, and there is a strong link between elevated levels of lead, kidney damage, and high blood pressure. In a study published in JAMA, researchers measured the blood lead levels of more than 2,000 women, ages 40 to 59, and found that levels “well below the current US occupational exposure limit guidelines (40 mcg/dL)” were associated with the risk of hypertension.
EDTA chelation therapy is the FDA-approved treatment of choice for getting lead out of the body. In addition to lowering blood pressure, a course of chelation also increases circulation and reduces angina attacks.
EECP Improves Circulation
Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP), developed by Harvard physician Harry Soroff, MD, more than 50 years ago, is an excellent therapy for hypertension, angina, and any problem involving the circulatory system. It dramatically increases blood flow throughout the body by squeezing blood from the lower extremities toward the heart. The patient lies on a bed with a series of inflatable cuffs wrapped around the body from the ankles to just below the waist. The cuffs sequentially contract, timed with the heart beat, forcing blood out of the legs and throughout the body.
This therapy has been best studied for the relief of angina. In fact, it is the closest thing going to a natural and much less expensive bypass surgery. This is because EECP creates collateral circulation, new avenues of blood around coronary artery blockages. EECP also boosts the arteries’ production of nitric oxide, which improves the health of the arteries and their ability to dilate. Thus it also results in significant drops in blood pressure.
An EECP treatment session lasts about an hour, and aside from the squeezing sensation, there is no discomfort or danger whatsoever. A usual course is 35 one-hour treatments, given once or twice daily.
- To learn more about receiving EDTA chelation and EECP treatment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, contact a Patient Services Representative at (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- Lin JL et al. Environmental lead exposure and progression of chronic renal diseases in patients without diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(4):277-86.
- Lustberg M et al. Blood lead levels and mortality. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(21):2443-9.
- Nash D et al. Blood lead, blood pressure, and hypertension in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. JAMA. 2003;289(12):1523-32.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Copyright 2003. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.