Beet juice can lower blood pressure — sometimes too much


A glass of beet juice has been found to lower systolic blood pressure more than some anti-hypertensive medications, write Joe and Teresa Graedon.

Q: I read that beet juice is good for your health and heart. I have high blood pressure and take losartan and metoprolol to control it. I also had three stents inserted in my arteries almost four years ago.

I started to drink small amounts of beet juice in February. Within two days I had episodes of lightheadedness, vertigo and nausea.

That might have been the result of food poisoning, so I held off drinking more beet juice for several weeks. Three days ago I drank a bit more, and again I had episodes of lightheadedness after a couple of hours.

Is there any possible relation to beet juice?

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A: Adding beet juice to medications like losartan and metoprolol might have lowered your blood pressure too much. Symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, feeling faint and nausea.

One study discovered that a glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by over 8 points (Hypertension, February 2015). That’s more than some anti-hypertensive medications.

We would encourage you to measure your blood pressure at home. If it is under good control with the medications you are taking, your doctor may advise you to avoid beet juice.

Q: I read your column about someone with joint pain in his hips, knees, wrists and spine. I told a colleague I had similar pains. He said he had, too, and that he’d told his physician.

His doctor suggested an over-the-counter glucosamine tablet after each meal. My colleague got the desired relief when he did this.

I tried it too, and my pains have not returned. We recommend glucosamine to anyone who is not allergic to the pills.

A: Glucosamine has been a controversial dietary supplement for arthritis for decades. The Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) concluded that “Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination did not reduce pain effectively in the overall group of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee” (New England Journal of Medicine, Feb. 23, 2006).

More-recent research has found that a crystalline glucosamine sulfate formulation is equivalent to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen (Current Medical Research and Opinion, June 2016).

This crystalline form of glucosamine appears to work better than acetaminophen (International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, online March 23, 2017).

You can learn more about glucosamine and other nondrug approaches to managing arthritis pain in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis, at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I was diagnosed with acid reflux and gastritis. After being on an omeprazole for years, I was determined to get off the drug.

My gastritis worsened when I followed a plant-based diet, until it developed into an ulcer. I quit drinking coffee and began consuming green tea with fresh ginger and fresh turmeric. One month later I have no ulcer, no gastritis, no acid reflux at all. My joints aren’t as achy, either.

A: Ginger is renowned for its ability to ease digestive distress. Turmeric is less frequently used, but research suggests that it acts like acid-suppressing drugs such as cimetidine and ranitidine (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, December 2005). Both herbs also have anti-inflammatory activity.



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