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Think Zinc for Hypertension

How do you control high blood pressure? Has anyone ever mentioned minerals like magnesium or zinc for hypertension?

Hpertension is a leading contributor to heart attacks and strokes. But controlling high blood pressure is not always easy. That’s in part because it varies so much over the course of the day. If you get stuck in traffic and show up late for a doctor’s appointment, you are likely to feel jangled. As a result, the stress may raise your BP reading beyond its usual level. White coat hypertension can also raise blood pressure. Can minerals like magnesium or zinc for hypertension be a thing?

Minerals and Blood Pressure:

It has long been recognized that calcium, magnesium and potassium play an important role in regulating blood pressure.

An overview published in the Annals of Medicine (Aug. 1991) offered this perspective:

“The mineral elements sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium play a central role in the normal regulation of blood pressure. In particular, these mineral elements have important interrelationships in the control of arterial resistance.

“In hypertensive patients treated with drugs sodium restriction and potassium and magnesium supplementation enhance the therapeutic effect, reduce the number and dosage, and lessen the adverse effects of prescribed antihypertensive drugs. Hence, a fall in sodium consumption and increases in potassium and magnesium consumption are useful in preventing and treating arterial hypertension.”

Magnificent Magnesium:

We are big fans of magnesium. That’s because this mineral plays such a crucial role in so many body functions. Many people have low levels of magnesium.

According to Dr. Tieraona Low Dog in her book, Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More:

“Government surveys show that roughly 50 percent of us don’t get the REA for magnesium in our diet—and many of us take medications, such as diuretics and proton pump inhibitors, that can wipe out the magnesium we are getting…Chronically low levels of magnesium have been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sudden cardiac death, migraines, menstrual cramps, depression, osteoporosis, and asthma.”

Magnesium may be especially important for helping control hypertension.

An article in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Nov. 2011) reports that:

“Magnesium intake of 500 mg/d to 1000 mg/d may reduce blood pressure (BP) as much as 5.6/2.8 mm Hg…Reducing intracellular sodium and calcium while increasing intracellular magnesium and potassium improves BP response. Magnesium also increases the effectiveness of all antihypertensive drug classes.”

People with reduced kidney function must avoid magnesium supplements!

Zinc for Hypertension?

Many physicians are aware of the benefits of both magnesium and potassium. (But be sure to pay attention to drugs that could boost potassium levels too much.)

A study published in Nature Communications, June 1, 2021 reveals that zinc appears to cause a:

“…pronounced and unexpected decrease in blood pressure in mouse models.”

The lead author told the University of Vermont (June 7, 2021):

“‘Our discovery that zinc is also important was serendipitous because we’d been researching the brain, not blood pressure,’ says Betrie. ‘We were investigating the impact of zinc-based drugs on brain function in Alzheimer’s disease when we noticed a pronounced and unexpected decrease in blood pressure in mouse models treated with the drugs.’”

This mineral works through transient receptor potential channels called TRPA1 and TRPV1 to regulate the flow of calcium in smooth muscle. This helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

How Much Zinc Is Right?

Q. I have a question about the amount of elemental zinc that would be safe to take per day. My supplement has 7 mg of elemental zinc per tablet. When I looked it up, the American Academy of Family Physicians says that the tolerable upper limit of elemental zinc per day is 40 mg. How much zinc could I take without interfering with copper?

A. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Adults is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. Your question is sophisticated. Excess zinc intake, which might occur at doses of 50 mg/day for weeks, can interfere with copper absorption and reduce immune function. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has established 40 mg daily as the tolerable upper limit of zinc for adults.

Learn More:

To learn more about the best way to measure blood pressure and many other strategies for hypertension management you may wish to read our eGuide to Blood Pressure Solutions.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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