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Calcium Supplements for Hypertensive Patients – Safe or Not?

Calcium Supplements for Hypertensive Patients – Safe or Not?

High blood pressure or hypertension requires diligence, with medication, diet, exercise, regular check-ups, and taking care of other medical conditions at the same time. Overall health, in general, would mean additional supplementation to keep you healthy. Since not always food can provide all the possible nutrients, and neither can the body use it up effectively, calcium supplements are most commonly consumed.

But, did you know that calcium supplements and high blood pressure may not always go well together? Does it mean calcium supplements for hypertensive patients aren’t safe?

On average, the human body requires 1,000 mg of calcium per day. This can be difficult to complete, especially if you’re only sticking to one to two glasses of milk every day. Calcium is extremely important for bones and one simply cannot do without it. Therefore, doctors may prescribe calcium supplements to fulfill this bodily requirement.

But, calcium supplements and high blood pressure may not go well together due to the high blood pressure medication involved.

In this article, we will talk about what drugs may not interact well with calcium supplements, which ones do work, and what precautions to take while being on high blood pressure medication and calcium supplements.

How do high blood pressure medications work?

Hypertension or high blood pressure medications don’t make you feel any different than normal, especially if you manage to balance your blood pressure on a daily basis. They will be able to bring your blood pressure back to the normal range.

There are two ways in which blood pressure medications work:

  • One is that they remove excess salt and fluid from your body to lower blood pressure.
  • Another is that they expand the blood vessels to allow better movement of blood. This also means that the heart does not have to work twice as much to pump blood.

Blood pressure medications only work when consumed regularly and as per the dose prescribed. Failing to do so can result in a hypertensive crisis, a dangerous situation that can lead to organ damage like a stroke or heart attack.

In addition to high blood pressure medication, it is strongly recommended to also take note of your diet, exercise, and other medical conditions.

It is important to remember that the healthy blood pressure range is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Regular check-ups can help you manage hypertension in a better way as people may develop this condition without any symptoms.

Calcium supplements and high blood pressure – Medicines that interfere

There are only two kinds of high blood pressure medications that have been identified to not work with calcium supplements.

Though, this does not mean that these medications don’t lower blood pressure or lead to a rise in blood pressure range when taken with calcium supplements. However, these lose their effectiveness to work as they would otherwise.

Calcium supplements and high blood pressure medications may not interact well, but the end result is not as dire. Your doctor can always make changes in how you consume your medications as well as meet your calcium requirements.

Following are the two medications that tend to not interact well with calcium supplements:

Thiazide diuretics

This medication works by getting rid of excess water and sodium in your kidneys. Because of this, some pressure in the bloodstream is relieved and eventually lowers your blood pressure. This means that there isn’t an extra load on your heart to pump blood.

If you consume excess calcium through supplementation and foods, it can come in the way of how thiazide diuretics work in the kidney.

This can make the diuretic less effective in lowering your blood pressure since the calcium can disrupt the process of eliminating excess fluids.

If you continue taking diuretics along with a high concentration of calcium supplements, it can lead to milk-alkali syndrome. A condition in which the blood calcium levels spike and your body becomes acidic rather than alkaline. This can make you more prone to kidney failure, heart attack, or even seizures.

Though this does not happen in every case, the combination of diuretics and calcium supplements is not a good one. Therefore, calcium supplements for hypertensive patients may not be suitable.

If you have been prescribed thiazide diuretics, consult your doctor about how to proceed with your calcium supplementation.

Calcium channel blockers

These work by blocking calcium from entering your blood vessels, which as a result leads to loosening them to allow the blood to flow more freely. When the excessive pressure of tight blood vessels is relaxed, it lowers your blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers mostly interfere with high calcium supplementation given through an intravenous route (IV). This means that when the blood calcium levels increase due to the IV calcium supplementation, it can come in the way of calcium channel blockers.

Since the high calcium supplements outweigh the calcium channel blockers, it is then difficult for your blood vessels to loosen up and release some pressure. Thereby, not being able to lower blood pressure.

Hence, calcium supplements for hypertensive patients may not be suitable.

In this case, the IV supplementation is stopped. However, the same has not been proven with oral calcium supplementation like tablets or through calcium-rich food.

In any case, if you are prescribed calcium channel blockers, then keep a tab of your blood pressure every now and then. Talk to your doctor about the best type of calcium supplement and the best way to take them.

Calcium supplements and high blood pressure – Medicines that don’t interfere

Calcium supplements do not interact with some high blood pressure medications. Hence, these can usually be taken safely with calcium supplements. Such hypertension medications include:

  • Beta-blockers like propranolol, bisoprolol
  • Renin-inhibitors, such as aliskiren (Tekturna)
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), and others
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as captopril, lisinopril, and others

However, it is best to consult your doctor about the same.

What should you be careful about?

  1. The quality and quantity of calcium you’re consuming. This can be in the form of artificial supplements, herbal products, or natural foods. Fortified nutrients may not work as well as they propose. Consult your doctor about how to fulfill your calcium requirement along with hypertension medication.
  2. This also does not mean that you completely eliminate calcium from your diet. That will only lead to fatigue, tiredness, low energy levels, osteoporosis, and dental problems. You still need your minimum 1,000 mg calcium intake.
  3. Thiazide diuretics and calcium channel blockers aren’t the only medications that would need to be taken carefully. They will not abruptly raise your blood pressure levels or fail to lower it, but rather be ineffective in their normal mechanism. Any high blood pressure medication that you’re prescribed would require a balanced diet, exercise, and instructions about other medications. Ask your doctor about how to go ahead with the same.

These are some of the reasons why calcium supplements and high blood pressure medications may not go well together. If you have questions or clarifications, always consult your doctor.

Learn more about managing hypertension here.

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Sources

Calcium Supplements and High Blood Pressure Medications/https://www.verywellhealth.com/calcium-supplements-affect-high-blood-pressure-medicine-1763977/Accessed on 08/05/2020

Do calcium supplements interfere with calcium-channel blockers?/https://www.health.harvard.edu/blood-pressure/do-calcium-supplements-interfere-with-calcium-channel-blockers/Accessed on 08/05/2020

Calcium supplements: Do they interfere with blood pressure drugs?/https://www.drugs.com/mcf/calcium-supplements-do-they-interfere-with-blood-pressure-drugs/Accessed on 08/05/2020

Calcium Supplements May Increase Heart Risk/https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20110419/calcium-supplements-may-increase-heart-risk#1/Accessed on 08/05/2020

Effect of dietary calcium supplements and amlodipine on growth, arterial blood pressure, and cardiac hypertrophy of spontaneously hypertensive rats./https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14649307/Accessed on 08/05/2020

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Oct 21
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.