Several attempts have been made to find the cause of increasing blood pressure and hypertension in people. Earlier discoveries suggested that blood pressure can be regulated with help of calcium and potassium. Both of these help in regulation of blood pressure and support the body in keeping it under control. Recently, a new study by Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has suggested that zinc may also be a key factor in influencing blood pressure in the body. This discovery was made by them while working on zinc’s role in brain function. Let us know what this study is all about and how can zinc regulate blood pressure in our body.
Role of Zinc
Zinc is an important metal ion which helps in a number of body functions. However the role of zinc in controlling blood pressure was never highlighted. Essentially, zinc has an opposite effect compared to calcium on blood pressure and flow of blood. Therefore it was hard to suggest it being a controlling factor. Dr. AshenafiBetrie who is the lead author of Florey Institute of Neurological and Mental Health told they haven’t found any evidence that links dietary intake of zinc with hypertension. It is the zinc that is present inside the cells that is important for regulation of blood pressure and hypertension.
Study on Zinc
The study suggested that fundamental discoveries that been made from more than 60 years and have established that level of calcium and potassium are sole compounds responsible for regulation of blood pressure. They are present in muscles surrounding by blood vessels and help them in expansion and contraction. Unexpectedly zinc also plays similar role in maintaining the vascular tone. This study was given by Dr. Ashenafi Bentrie, Lead author of Florey Institute of Neurological and Mental Health along with Co-senior author Dr. Christine Wright in Florida.
Interestingly they were actually working on role of zinc on brain function and discovered the effect of zinc on blood pressure. They were investigating the impact of zinc-based drugs on brain functions in Alzheimer’s disease when they noticed a pronounced and unexpected decrease in blood pressure in models treated with those drugs. Thereafter they discovered gene responsible for maintaining zinc levels within cells that linked to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Effect of Zinc Deficiency on Body
Lack of zinc in humans causes many issues and complications. Complications can turn into severe diseases and many people get affected by it. Chronic Illness is also one of them. This type of illness is very common due to lack of zinc in the body. Type-2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease are two diseases by which people are affected the most. Zinc deficiency also creates higher risk of hypertension.
How Does Zinc Affect Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure occurs when the smooth muscle cells contract in artery and arteriole walls. These are narrow vessels through which the blood flows. The pressure of blood forces out the walls of these passages which can sometimes damage the blood vessels. Zinc affects the muscles, endothelial cells and sensory nerve together that reduces the amount of calcium in the muscles. This makes the muscles relax in a better way. Calcium causes muscles to tighten and potassium regulates the flow. However both of these do not play a big role in relaxing the muscles which is also equally important. That task in performed by zinc present in the cells which increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Other Supplements to take while High Blood Pressure
These supplements help in decreasing blood pressure apart from zinc. They are-
Magnesium- It is a mineral that regulates blood pressure in a significant way. It does so by increasing the production of nitric oxide which relaxes the blood vessels.
Vitamin D- According to study people who have high blood pressure have lower amount of vitamin D. Therefore Vitamin-D in any form can help controlling blood pressure.
B- Vitamins- It significantly reduces blood pressure and help to maintain blood flow. They do so with help of folic acid and folate supplements which are B9 Vitamin supplements.
Potassium- Potassium taken in dietary form can regularize blood pressure. It provides sodium excretion through urine and helps the blood vessels.
Recent study has suggested that zinc plays a big role in controlling blood pressure and hypertension. Earlier calcium and potassium were the only compounds which were said to regulate blood flow. However the lead author of the study discovered that zinc relaxes the blood vessels after the blood flow which maintains the blood pressure in the body. Zinc is a metal ion that is present inside the cells and the zinc present inside the cell is itself responsible for regulating blood pressure and not dietary supplements. However this study came interestingly while lead author and their team were working on brain function.
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