high blood pressure functional medicineIn a new study just published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers demonstrated that n-acetyl-cysteine significantly decreased plasma homocysteine levels as well as blood pressure.

Homocysteine is an amino acid produced as part of the body’s methylation process and is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This oxidative stress biomarker is associated with many cardiovascular disorders such as increased risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, essential hypertension, and venous thrombosis. The metabolism of homocysteine is highly dependent on in vitamin B12, folate, and vitamin B6. Deficiencies in any of these may be associated with elevated homocysteine levels.

Lowering homocysteine with B-vitamins has been shown to improve only certain clinical endpoints. However, n-acetylcysteine acutely lowers plasma homocysteine as well as blood pressure according to this recent study. Researchers reanalyzed 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in unmedicated middle-aged men. They evaluated the effect of oral n-acetyl-cystiene given for 4 weeks at 1.8 g/d on plasma homocyteine, plasma thiol (cysteine), and intracellular glutathione concentrations as well as on blood pressure.

As a result, four weeks of n-acetylcysteine supplementation compared to the placebo led to a significant decrease in plasma homocysteine levels. In addition, there was also a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure in all the subjects given the n-acetylcysteine. There was also a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure seen in the hyperlidemic group.

The authors conclude that oral intake of n-acetlcysteine should be considered for primary or secondary prevention of vascular events with regard to the two independent risk factors of hyperhomocysteinemia and hypertension.

It is also important to assess laboratory markers, such as cardio CRP, homocysteine, fibrinogen, CoQ10, lipoprotein (a), and vitamin D.

High blood pressure issues in many causes can be solved by simply addressing nutrient deficiencies. It is important to assess mineral status, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium as well as toxic metals such as, aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury since they can play a significant role with blood pressure regulation.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Hildebrandt W., Sauer R., Bonaterra G., Dugi KA., Edler L., Kinscherf R. Oral N-acetycysteine reduces plasma homocysteine concentrations regardless of lipid or smoking status. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. October 7, 2015.

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