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Can Fam Physician. 2008 Nov;54(11):1529-33.

Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to blood pressure reduction: An evidence-based review.

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Seekers Centre for Integrative Medicine, 6 Deakin St, Ottawa, ON K2E 1B3.


ABSTRACTOBJECTIVETo review the evidence supporting complementary and alternative medicine approaches used in the treatment of hypertension.QUALITY OF EVIDENCEMEDLINE and EMBASE were searched from January 1966 to May 2008 combining the key words hypertension or blood pressure with acupuncture, chocolate, cocoa, coenzyme Q10, ubiquinone, melatonin, vitamin D, meditation, and stress reduction. Clinical trials, prospective studies, and relevant references were included.MAIN MESSAGEEvidence from systematic reviews supports the blood pressure-lowering effects of coenzyme Q10, polyphenol-rich dark chocolate, Qigong, slow breathing, and transcendental meditation. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular risk; supplementation lowered blood pressure in 2 trials. Acupuncture reduced blood pressure in 3 trials; in 1 of these it was no better than an invasive placebo. Melatonin was effective in 2 small trials, but caution is warranted in patients taking pharmacotherapy.CONCLUSIONSeveral complementary and alternative medicine therapies can be considered as part of an evidence-based approach to the treatment of hypertension. The potential benefit of these interventions warrants further research using cardiovascular outcomes.

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