Beta-adrenergic blocking agents, or more commonly beta-blockers, are medications used for treating high blood pressure, anxiety, irregular heartbeats, as well as few other medical conditions.
Beta-blockers work by blocking the adrenaline (epinephrine) effects on the heart. Blocking of the adrenaline effects results in the reduction of stress on the heart, which helps in lowering the force of blood being pumped.
This allows the blood vessels present in the brain, heart, and other areas to relax. Beta-blockers are also known to relax the blood vessels by blocking the release of angiotensin II by the kidneys.
Beta Blockers Help in TreatingDoctors prescribe beta-blockers for treating medical conditions like:
Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)Though not the first choice, beta-blockers do help in controlling the heart rate
AnxietyBeta blockers helps in reducing the short-term effects of epinephrine released due to anxiety
Chest pain and heart failureBeta-blockers helps in reducing the hormones that can cause heart failure
Heart attackUse of beta-blockers help in slowing down the heart to normal levels
HyperthyroidismOveractive thyroid can cause an increased heart rate. Beta-blockers help in slowing it down
HypertensionBeta-blockers help in blocking the hormones which make the heart pump faster
MigraineStudy has shown that beta-blockers do help in controlling the triggers that can cause migraines.
Natural Beta-Blocker OptionsBesides pharmaceutical formulations, there are few natural beta-blockers, which function in the same manner as medications and help in relieving anxiety, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and more.
1. AntioxidantsAntioxidants helps in fighting free radicals and inflammatory conditions, which can lead to lowering the blood pressure and addressing heart issues.
A study has shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants can help in reducing hypertension. Antioxidants are found in many vegetables, fruits, and plant-based foods.
Some well-known examples of antioxidants include eggplants, grapes, pumpkin, apricots, milk, leeks, chamomile tea (induces sleep and relaxation), passionflower and lemon balm (produces sedative effects), inula racemose (analgesic effect), and St. John’s Wort.
2. BarberryA traditional herbal medicine, barberry helps in the treatment of cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions.
Animal studies have shown that barberry reduced blood pressure by decreasing specific inflammatory markers. Since hypertension and inflammation are linked, barberry may also aid in the reduction of blood pressure levels.
3. CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10)This compound has a crucial role when it comes to antioxidant protection and energy production. Low CoQ10 levels have been found to cause several diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
A study conducted on animals in 2016 showed that CoQ10 supplementation had the potential to improve blood pressure levels in hypertensive rats.
Some common natural CoQ10 supplements are beef, cauliflower, fatty fish, lentils, peanuts, organ meat (kidneys, liver), strawberries, and oranges.
4. GarlicIt is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Several studies have shown the beneficial impact of garlic on blood pressure. It also offers similar benefits for several other conditions that require beta-blockers.
5. HawthornHawthorn, a traditional Chinese herb, is known as an effective natural treatment for cardiovascular diseases.
Research shows that hawthorn can have a positive effect on heart rhythm and blood pressure and can also help in the management of heart failure symptoms.
6. Indian snakerootIndian snakeroot is a traditional herbal supplement that is used for treating hypertension. It contains indole alkaloids, which are tryptophan derivatives.
Indian snakeroot, research shows, can aid in the reduction of blood pressure by decreasing the ability to absorb norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in the fight-or-flight response.
7. L-arginineAn amino acid, L-arginine aids in the production of nitric oxide while causes enlargement of blood vessels thereby reducing blood pressure.
Research shows that L-arginine levels can also reduce blood pressure hypertension in rats. Some natural sources of L-arginine include nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, meat, and poultry (seafood, beef, pork, dairy products).
8. L-Theanine supplementL-theanine helps in boosting GABA levels, which is known to promote relaxation without inducing drowsiness.
Green tea is probably the best source of natural L-theanine and finds widespread use in Chinese medicine. Oolong tea or black tea is also an excellent L-theanine source.
9. MagnesiumAn essential mineral, magnesium is required for metabolic processes like nervous system regulation and muscle contraction.
Research has shown that lower magnesium levels in the body can result in hypertension. Some natural magnesium sources are nuts, seeds, cabbage, artichokes, salmon, tuna, black beans, kale, spinach, figs, raspberries, among others.
10. Omega-3 fatty acidsThese are polyunsaturated fatty acids whose role in the heart’s health is well documented. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help in reducing blood clots, blood pressure, inflammation, and plaque deposits.
A review showed that nearly 16 studies have found that DHA and EPA (two significant types of omega-3s) help in improving cardiovascular function. These healthy fatty acids can also play a role in reducing anxiety symptoms, as well.
11. PotassiumAdequate potassium levels in diet is known to help in controlling blood pressure.
Bananas, fish, potatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, and low-fat dairy products are some of the excellent potassium sources.
12. Red yeast riceA traditional and popular herbal supplement, red yeast rice helps in fighting cardiovascular disease. It contains monacolins.
Monacolin K, found in red yeast rice, mimics statin (which lowers cholesterol). A clinical trial conducted in 2015 found that a mixture of olive oil and red yeast rice can improve lipid profiles in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Of note, monacolin levels can vary. So one cannot be sure that a certain amount of rice will have an “x” amount of monacolin.
13. Valerian Root extractValerian root extract has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and tension. It is also known to boost GABA levels. A study has also shown that it is useful in inducing sleep.
And AlsoSome other sources of natural beta-blockers which are known to address anxiety (esp. performance anxiety) issues include
- Belly breathing
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
In ConclusionBeta-blockers are one of the most commonly prescribed medications for treating medical conditions like anxiety and blood pressure. Beta-blockers function by impacting the heart’s fight-or-flight response.
Natural beta-blockers also function similarly by decreasing the blood pressure levels.
There are many natural beta-blockers which can play a significant role in not only addressing heart issues but also improve overall health.
As always, any dietary change should be discussed with your doctor before being implemented.