New supplement reduces side effects of blood pressure drugs

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Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed a dietary supplement that effectively reduces high blood sugar and corrects electrolyte imbalances caused by thiazide diuretics, a common blood pressure medication.

Published in Hypertension, this discovery could help mitigate serious side effects associated with these drugs.

The Challenge with Thiazide Diuretics

Thiazide diuretics are widely used to manage high blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. However, their use can lead to several significant side effects, including:

  • Lower potassium levels in the blood.
  • Increased cholesterol, triglycerides, and other lipids.
  • Elevated glucose levels, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

These side effects have been a longstanding concern, particularly the increase in blood sugar levels. Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, Director of the Hypertension Section at UT Southwestern, and co-lead of the study with Dr. Charles Pak, aimed to address these issues without causing additional health problems.

The KMgCit Supplement: A Dual Benefit

The solution comes in the form of a supplement developed by Dr. Pak, combining potassium, magnesium, and citrate.

In an earlier study, this supplement, referred to as KMgCit, effectively raised potassium and magnesium levels in patients on thiazide diuretics. However, its impact on glucose levels wasn’t clear until now.

In a recent randomized, double-blind study involving 60 patients over 16 weeks, researchers compared the effects of KMgCit with potassium chloride (KCl) supplements.

While both groups experienced reduced potassium and magnesium levels and increased fasting glucose initially, notable differences emerged after supplementation:

  • The KCl group saw an increase in potassium levels but continued high glucose levels.
  • The KMgCit group experienced increases in both potassium and magnesium levels, along with a significant average reduction of 7.9 milligrams per deciliter in glucose levels.

Looking Ahead: Further Research and Implications

While it remains unclear which component of KMgCit contributed to lowering glucose levels, magnesium’s role in metabolic health is well-known.

Dr. Vongpatanasin plans further studies to dissect the effects of magnesium and citrate individually and to confirm these findings in a larger patient group over a longer duration.

This development highlights a significant stride in addressing the side effects of thiazide diuretics.

By using a simple supplement, patients can potentially avoid the risk of elevated blood sugar and electrolyte imbalances, improving overall treatment outcomes for high blood pressure.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about unhealthy habits that may increase high blood pressure risk, and drinking green tea could help lower blood pressure.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about what to eat or to avoid for high blood pressure,  and 12 foods that lower blood pressure.

The research findings can be found in Hypertension.

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