Hypertension and the Atlas Vertebra

the atlas vertebra at the top of the spinal column) has been linked to hypertension. This relationship between circulatory abnormalities and hypertension in a subset of patients has been reported in studies for decades. In a 1994 Japanese study, for example, magnetic resonance imaging was used to evaluate the relationship between the upper ventrolateral medulla and vertebral arteries and arterial branches. Twenty-nine of the 32 people with essential hypertension (no known cause) showed arterial compression. One of the six people with secondary hypertension (due to renal, pulmonary, endocrine, or cardiovascular disease) also had arterial compression. Four of the 18 controls in this study showed compression. South Carolina researchers corroborated the findings of this study in 2005 when they observed a significant association between arterial compression of the ventrolateral medulla and essential hypertension. (more…)

Soy Compound Helps to Lower Blood Pressure

Affecting an estimated 1 billion people worldwide, hypertension (high blood pressure) is a primary risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.  As dietary interventions can serve as an important approach to prevent and treat hypertension, some previous studies have suggested that soy isoflavones help to widen blood vessels, improve artery function, and decrease blood pressure.  X. Liu, from Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (China), and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 11 published studies involving the effect of soy isoflavones on blood pressure.  Across the studies, the team found that consumption of between 65 and153 milligrams of soy isoflavones with soy protein per day, for up to 12 months,  lowered blood pressure among hypertensive subjects by 5.9 mmHg.  The researchers then completed a subgroup analysis according to blood pressure status, where subjects were divided into two subcategories: hypertensive [high blood pressure] populations (5 studies) and normotensive [normal blood pressure] populations (6 studies).  They found that the reduction in blood pressure was greater in isoflavone-treated subjects, as compared to placebo counterparts in the hypertensive group; as well, no significant differences were observed in blood pressure between subjects treated with soy isoflavones or placebo in the normotensive participants. The team concludes that: “Soy isoflavones had an effect of lowering blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, but not in normotensive subjects.”


X.X. Liu, S.H. Li, J.Z. Chen, K. Sun, X.J. Wang, X.G. Wang, R.T. Hui.  “Effect of soy isoflavones on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.”  Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 9 February 2011

Nutrients to Help Reduce Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

A Denver reader, P.A. from Denver, recently sent over this question: “Both my father and brother have suffered a heart attack. I’m worried because I’m 52 years old and my blood pressure is slightly elevated, but other than that, I am pretty healthy. All my tests are OK, but I am scared. Any suggestions?” (more…)

How High Fructose Corn Syrup Makes Us Fat

Well, looky here! We’re getting more and more proof that high fructose corn syrup plays a major role in the obesity epidemic.

Suspicions were high, of course. Between 1970 and 2005, the same period when our weight problems went berserk, so did the use of HFCS–which went up by 10,763%. I mean, that “coincidence” should get anybody’s attention.

In fact, it got the attention of researchers. Now science backs up our suspicions. (more…)

Deep Breathing can reduce stress, fatigue and high blood pressure

Take a deep breath because there is something you need to know. Ongoing research has shown that proper breathing can be an intelligent way to respond to chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, stress and other ailments – no health club membership required.

Each one of us takes about 20 000 breaths a day. Still, the influence of breathing on human health goes largely unnoticed. Only a few people realize that shallow breathing is linked to stress, sub-par mental performance, fatigue and increased risk of heart disease. However, breathe correctly and you will be able to release tension and improve your physical and mental wellness.