Understanding High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels Link to Stress and the Missing Link in Treatment
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, ND, two major lifestyle factors that deplete your body of magnesium are stress and prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the conventional medical approach for the former oftentimes leads to the latter, making your situation progressively worse. Dr. Dean explains:
“The scenario that I like to talk about is very basic. You will recognize it immediately in either yourself or your family members. You go to your doctor. You’re under massive stress. Massive stress means you’re losing magnesium. You’re burning magnesium out of your body, because it helps support your adrenal glands. It helps keep you away from anxiety and depression. It helps relax your muscles.
If you’re all tight and stressed, your magnesium is being lost, [which makes] the muscles of your blood vessels tighten. That tightness is going to cause increased blood pressure. Your doctor… will say, ‘Oh, your blood pressure is elevated. We’ll give you a diuretic.’
A diuretic will drop the fluid level in your body to take the pressure off your blood vessels, so your blood pressure will drop. But diuretics also drain off your magnesium… A month later you come back, and the doctor finds your blood pressure’s even more elevated. Yes—because you’ve just lost more magnesium! Your doctor then puts you on a calcium channel blocker. Now, they have that part right. They know that without magnesium, your calcium is going to become elevated and will tighten up your blood vessels, so they try to block calcium. But they don’t know that magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker.
Your doctor may also put you on an angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, another blood pressure drug… So, you go away with three drugs now. After two or three months, you come back and have blood taken to make sure that drugs aren’t hurting your liver… All of a sudden, your cholesterol is elevated. All of a sudden, your blood sugar is elevated. What does the doctor say? ‘Oh, we caught your cholesterol. We just caught your blood sugar. We can put you on medications.’ But they didn’t catch them; they caused them.”
Dr. Dean warns that the more you deplete your magnesium, the more out of control your cholesterol will get, because magnesium helps balance the enzyme that creates cholesterol in your body, thereby aiding in normalizing your cholesterol levels. Interestingly, and importantly, statin drugs destroy the same enzyme that magnesium balances, she says. Magnesium deficiency is also a common symptom in diabetes, so drugs may inadvertently contribute to diabetes simply by depleting your body of magnesium.
Dr. Dean was the lead author on the seminal paper “Death by Medicine” back in 2003, showing that modern medicine is in fact one of the leading causes of death in the United States. She also authored the book Death by Modern Medicine.
Dr. Dean has studied and written about magnesium for about 15 years. In January, 2003, she published the first edition of The Magnesium Miracle, and she’s currently working on the third edition of this book.
Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health, performing a wide array of biological functions, including but not limited to:
- Activating muscles and nerves
- Creating energy in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
- Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Serving as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
- It’s also a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin
Few people get enough magnesium in their diet these days (Dr Deans says that 80% of the American population is deficient). Meanwhile, calcium tends to be over utilised and taken in high quantities. This can cause more harm than good, as it’s very important to have a proper balance between these two minerals.
If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.
“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” she explains.
Magnesium is perhaps critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. According to Dr. Dean, your heart has the highest amount of magnesium in your body, specifically in your left ventricle. With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart simply cannot function properly.