Why ‘normal’ blood pressure readings set you up for a false sense of security

Each and every time you see your doctor (right after that dreaded weigh-in), they slip a cuff on your arm, pump it up and check your blood pressure.

After all, healthy blood pressure equals a healthy heart. Or so we’ve been told.

But, according to the latest findings, relying on normal blood pressure as a sign that your heart is healthy could be a big mistake.

It could even be a deadly one

The problem, according to the research published in JAMA Cardiology, is that for years we’ve been told by the medical community that if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg, your heart is in good shape.

This leads to the assumption that your blood vessels are healthy, you’re unlikely to have a heart attack or stroke, and that in general, you’re doing all the right things.

Well, think again…

The new research — a long-term multiethnic study of otherwise healthy adults — actually found that you can have completely normal blood pressure, yet still be at high risk of hardening of the arteries caused by calcium deposits and suffering a cardiovascular event.

120 isn’t low enough

That top number — known as your systolic pressure reading that measures the pressure within your arteries as your heart pumps (compared to your diastolic pressure, or lower number, that measures your resting heart rate) — is the one that the so-called experts have told us is just fine as long as it stays below 120 mmHg.

But the results of the new study found that for every 10 mm increase in your systolic pressure above 90 mmHg, the risk of damage to your coronary arteries, as well as your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, rises steadily.

And specifically, the damage to your coronary arteries is the risk of calcium deposits that can lead to hardening of your arteries — something you and your doctor won’t see without performing a Coronary Artery Calcium Scan. And if your numbers are looking “normal” your doctor won’t think to have a scan done.

In fact, The New York Times reports that the study proved that “Compared with people with systolic pressures of 90 to 99 mm, those with pressures of 120 to 129 mm were 4.58 times more likely to have experienced a cardiovascular event.”

Taken together, the team says that all of these findings show that even when your doctor considers your blood pressure normal, you can still be at risk.

A two-pronged attack for healthier blood pressure

As this research brought to light, working to maintain lower blood pressure may not be enough — though you still need to try, and I’ll get to that shortly…

But clearly, you need to consider the health of your arteries — and that means doing what you can to prevent the unseen calcium buildup that leads to atherosclerosis.

Of course, the number one thing a doctor or nutritionist will recommend is a heart-healthy diet. Recently a study proclaimed the Pesco-Mediterranean diet the best at promoting heart health.

So that’s a recommendation I whole-heartedly endorse. But this latest research proves that’s not all you should do. You need to go straight after the invisible culprit attacking your arteries — calcium.

Start with vitamin K2

The first thing you should do is look at how much vitamin K2 you get in your diet. I’ve studied the relationship between vitamin K2, calcium and heart health rather extensively, that’s why I can say this.

Vitamin K2 is associated with artery health because it activates a protein that inhibits the deposits of calcium on vessel walls. It also helps direct calcium to the bones where it is beneficial.

You can find vitamin K in green leafy vegetables, but K2 (also known as menaquinone) is found in animal sources like beef liver, pork and chicken. Eggs and hard cheeses are also excellent sources.

Next step?

Increase your nitric oxide

Nitric oxide — NO, for short — is a small messenger molecule in your blood that helps the blood vessels relax and is involved in the regulation of blood pressure.

When your NO levels go up, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through tight arteries — think of it like sucking water through a straw, versus a milkshake.

This means that raising your NO is a great way to help keep your pressure healthy.

Your body converts nitrates to nitrites and then to NO so adding more natural nitrates to your diet could help keep your blood vessels healthy and blood pressure in the healthy range. And one of the best sources of these beneficial nitrates is beets or fermented beetroot powder.

Fermented foods, like the Japanese specialty, natto, made from fermented soybeans, are also rich in K2 and also possess a circulation-boosting enzyme known as nattokinase I’ve written about before.

Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation. Click here to discover Chelation: Natural Miracle for Protecting Your Heart and Enhancing Your Health!


Association of Normal Systolic Blood Pressure Level With Cardiovascular Disease in the Absence of Risk Factors — JAMA Network

Think You Have ‘Normal’ Blood Pressure? Think Again — The New York Times

High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes — CDC

Managing Stress to Control High Blood Pressure — American Heart Association

Here comes the sun to lower your blood pressure — University of Southampton

15 natural ways to lower your blood pressure — MedicalNewsToday


Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is founder of the nutritional supplement company Peak Pure & Natural®.