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6 Popular Supplements that are Bad for High Blood Pressure

Updated on March 22, 2010

Supplements are products that are available to people over the counter. For this reason, many people make the mistake of assuming that all supplements are safe. However, this is not necessarily true. Many supplements have not been sufficiently tested to even say for sure if they are safe. More importantly, everyone’s body is different and some supplements are riskier for certain groups of people. If you have high blood pressure then you need to be particularly careful about the supplements that you choose to take.

There are two problems with supplements when it comes to high blood pressure. The biggest problem is that some supplements can actually increase blood pressure levels. Someone who already has high blood pressure can face serious health consequences if their blood pressure goes up even more thanks to supplements. The second problem is that people who are taking medication for high blood pressure may discover that their medication is no longer effective if they’re taking supplements.

You always want to talk to your doctor about taking any supplements while you have high blood pressure. However, there are some supplements on the market that you almost certainly want to avoid. Here are six supplements that are known to cause problems for people with high blood pressure:

1.    Bitter Orange. This supplement has recently become popular with people who want help losing weight. Unfortunately, it may be a risky supplement for all people. It is particularly dangerous for people who are suffering from high blood pressure. It increases blood pressure which can be very risky for people who already have high blood pressure. It has been linked to heart attacks and stroke. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has warned that this can be a dangerous product for anyone, let alone for people with blood pressure problems. You should avoid this supplement and instead work on a weight loss plan with your doctor that is based on proper diet and exercise.

2.    Echinacea. Surely you have heard of this supplement which is used by many people to ward off colds and the flu. It is available in teas and is also available as a supplement in pill form. You want to be careful when using this supplement, though, because it interacts with the metabolism of many medications. This can mean that your high blood pressure medication won’t metabolize properly and you’ll face medical problems as a result. Improper metabolization of medication has been shown to completely defeat the purpose of taking the meds in the first place. In other words, taking Echinacea with your blood pressure medication might be liking not taking blood pressure medication at all.

3.    Ephedra. Nobody should be taking ephedra these days because of the fact that it has been found to be an unsafe supplement. It used to be taken for weight loss by many people before it was banned in the United States due to its risks. Unfortunately, some people do still try to get their hands on ephedra since it can be effective for weight loss. They get it from underground sources or during foreign travels since it hasn’t been banned in all other places. You should avoid this product. It is particularly dangerous if you have high blood pressure because it’s actually known to cause high blood pressure even in people who didn’t have it previously. It is linked with causing heart attacks and strokes. It also has a significant number of other side effects, some of which are related to high blood pressure and others that are not. Be very wary of ephedra!

4.    Ginseng. Ginseng is another supplement that became well known because it was available widely in tea. It is believed to help with a number of health issues including boosting the immune system and providing increased energy. However, it has also been linked with changing blood pressure in people. The effects vary; ginseng may either lower or raise blood pressure. This is bad for people who are on blood pressure medications because it can limit the effects of those medications.

5.    St. John’s Wort. This is a supplement that many people take to try to alleviate mild depression. They like the fact that this supplement elevates their mood without having to check in with a psychologist. Unfortunately, it’s not a supplement that works well for people who have high blood pressure. The problem with taking St. John’s Wort when you already have high blood pressure is that it can make your blood pressure go up even higher. The reason for this is that this supplement can speed up the way that your metabolism works with your medications. Your blood pressure medication can be metabolized so rapidly that it doesn’t work anymore or is not as effective.

6.    Yohimbine. This supplement became popular as a natural cure for erectile dysfunction. It is also sometimes used by people who are interested in bodybuilding as it can aid in weight loss for bodybuilders. However, it is linked with an increase in blood pressure. People who already have high blood pressure will find that this further increase is very dangerous for them.

You should always read the warnings and information no any supplement that you purchase over the counter. Look particularly for warnings that relate to blood pressure. Even better, speak with your doctor before you take any new supplements. You never know how they’ll react with your body and your other medications. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to something as serious as your blood pressure.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Health Store 

    10 years ago

    Very nice hub Kathryn well researched and very informative great work this will surely help people like me with blood pressure problems

  • Ginsengcare profile image


    11 years ago

    Good hub.

    For ginseng in influencing blood pressure, I do not totally agree. As far as I understand, not all ginseng are the same. Different ginseng preparations give rise to different results to different body types.



  • ehrendreich profile image

    William Ehrendreich 

    11 years ago from Manitowoc, WI USA

    I knew that some supplements such as were antagonistic to high blood pressure but I was not aware of the others. Thanks for your education on this subject.

  • samboiam profile image


    11 years ago from Texas

    Excellent article. I learned quite a few things. Thanks for sharing.


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