How Do Blood Pressure Drugs Work?
Majid Ali, M.D.
Drugs block cell membrane channels that normally regulate the flow of essential minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, i.e., calcium channel blocker drugs such as Calan and Cardizem. A partial list of the toxic effects of such drugs, given in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR), includes heart block, palpitations, sexual difficulties, loss of consciousness, congestive heart failure, depression, loss of memory, insomnia, tinnitus, tremors, liver injury, loss of hair and abdominal symptoms. Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker. It works slowly but never creates the adverse reactions caused by calcium channel blocking drugs. Looseness of the bowel movements is the only change with oral magnesium therapy that may be seen in a negative light — not a bad effect from a life span perspective.
Drugs block cell membrane receptors, i.e., beta blocker drugs used for high blood pressure, such as Inderal and Lopressor. A partial list of the toxic effects of such drugs given in the PDR include congestive heart failure, a type of heart block called AV block, low blood pressure, Raynaud’s type vascular insufficiency (cold hands and feet), depression, fatigue, lightheadedness, memory loss, constipation and/or diarrhea, colitis, loss of hair, lupus-like condition, impotence and bone marrow suppression. Taurine is nature’s membrane receptor stabilizer. It is a potent antioxidant and occurs in large amounts in almost all cells. Its clinical benefits in preventing and controlling heart rhythm disturbances have been observed by all reporting clinicians. It, of course, has none of the adverse effects of beta blocker drugs.
Drugs block essential enzymes, i.e., ACE inhibitor drugs for high blood pressure such as Capoten and Vasotec. Toxic effects of such drugs listed in the PDR include chest pain, heart palpitations, Raynaud’s reaction, cough, skin eruptions, bone marrow suppression, pancreatitis, glossitis (inflammation of the tongue) and many other reactions. Magnesium and calcium are nature’s enzyme regulators. These minerals optimize the functions of enzymes that in turn regulate the contractility of muscle cells in the vessel walls and so normalize blood pressure.
Drugs block or inactivate mediators of inflammation — the essential response in injured tissues that precedes the repair and healing phenomena. Examples: histamine-inactivating drugs such as Benadryl and Seldane. Adverse effects of such drugs include drowsiness, fatigue and concentration difficulties. Bioflavonoids, pantothenic acid and histidine are nature’s antihistaminics.
Drugs block the various arms of the immune system. Example: steroids that suppress the immune response. Toxic effects of such drugs are far-reaching and include vulnerability to infections, poor healing responses, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, psychosis and other conditions. Essential amino acids and fatty acids, minerals and vitamins are nature’s immune enhancers.
Drugs block the energy and detoxification enzymes of the body even when that is not their intended goal. Example: The commonly prescribed ulcer drug Tagamet suppresses the essential detoxification enzymes included in the cytochrome P-450 system. Vitamins are nature’s energy and detoxification enzymes. Notable among them are pantothenic acid, thiamine, niacin, pyridoxin, vitamin B12 and other members of B complex.