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High blood pressure 

In 1936, Hans Selye (1907-1982), a Hungarian researcher working in Canada, published his ground-breaking research (1). This showed that all chronic illness is caused by prolonged stress and that stress can be physical, chemical and psychological.

The adrenal cortex of a healthy subject produces healthy stress hormones (corticosteroids) in response to stress. These raise blood sugar and blood pressure, enabling people (and animals) to cope with stress and to react more efficiently when stressed. Medical students are taught that adrenal stress hormone is produced in order to enable animals and people to cope more efficiently with stress in connection with ‘fight, flight and fright’.

In health, stress hormones reduce pain and inflammation and prepare the body for mental and physical activity. This physiological  stress response involves a rise in blood pressure in order to pump extra oxygen into the brain and muscles and to cause a rise in blood sugar for extra energy. There is also a physiological release of cholesterol into the bloodstream for biosynthesis of extra anti-inflammatory adrenal corticosteroids.

Selye’s research showed that all chronic illness results from over exposure to stress, which can be psychological (e.g. bereavement, loneliness, anxiety and poor health), physical (e.g. over exposure to the sun, electromagnetic field radiation, heat, cold, malnutrition etc.), or chemical (e.g. industrial pollution, asbestos, dental mercury, cadmium from exhaust fumes, nicotine etc.).

Selye also showed that unremitting stress depletes the adrenal cortex of healthy corticosteroids (stress hormones that help prevent maintain health and to cope with stress.). Stress also causes release of the harmful pathogenic adrenal corticosteroids that underlie stress related illnesses such as anxiety/depression, arthritis, hypertension, peptic ulcers and cancer.​

Selye's research indicated that prolonged stress results in an output of the HARMFUL CORTICOSTEROIDS that underlie all chronic illness. This ground breaking research supports clinicians identifying and treating the causes of stress rather than merely attempting symptom suppression with toxic pharmaceutical drugs. For example, with hypertension, it would be more scientific for clinicians to consider stress reduction rather than prescribing toxic conventional antihypertensive drugs. Incidentally, high blood pressure can be caused by potassium deficiency and scientifically treated with non-toxic potassium supplements.

Stress factors that can cause raised blood pressure include high voltage ‘silver’ mercury amalgam dental fillings (2), drinking too much coffee (caffeine), boredom and unsustainable work and worry. 

Raised blood pressure can be a healthy physiological coping response to stress so that artificially lowering it with anti-hypertensive drugs can cause patients to become abnormally tired and depressed. For example, the adverse reactions of the antihypertensive ACE inhibitor drug, Ramipril, include dizziness, headache and fatigue as well as about two hundred other listed side effects. The fall in blood pressure caused by  conventional antihypertensive drugs is actually just one of their many adverse reactions.

In his book 21st Century Medicine (3), Dr Julian Kenyon MD (born 1943) cites a British study on the perceived success of drug treatment for high blood pressure. In the study, seventy-five patients with high blood pressure were treated conventionally and all the prescribing doctors recorded successful outcomes. Their relatives also assessed the patients, and 74 out of the 75 relatives recorded deterioration in memory, mood, initiative and energy levels with an increase in anxiety and irritability. 'When somebody goes through a particularly stressful period, to lower their blood pressure with a drug may be the last thing that such a patient needs' (3). A scientific therapeutic approach to raised blood pressure would be to identify and address the cause/s of patients’ stress and to encourage healthier lifestyles.

Dean Ornish in Texas, USA, has shown that stress reduction and healthier lifestyles can help with high blood pressure and heart disease (4).

Hypertension (raised blood pressure) is a blood pressure above 130 systolic/80 diastolicIt does not always cause symptoms, although symptoms can include feeling dizzy, lightheadedness and  having a pounding sensation in your head or chest. This is why regular screenings for high blood pressure are important. The condition can cause heart disease, heart attacks, kidney disease, or even stroke when unnoticed and untreated.

Luckily, when diagnosed there are many simple changes you can make to decrease your blood pressure. There are more options than just taking antihypertensive medications. Some of the most effective strategies are lifestyle changes, that include exercise, weight loss, quitting smoking, and eating a balanced diet and taking supplements of certain vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium supplements. Potassium is a mineral that helps relax your vascular system and consequently lower your blood pressure. Eating bananas can also help raise your potassium blood levels.


  1. ‘Selye, H. 1936. A syndrome produced by diverse nocuous agents. Nature, 138:32.


  3. 21st Century Medicine. Julian Kenyon MD. 21st Century Medicine, Thorsons Publishers, 1986.

  4. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?

       D Ornish · 1990 · Cited by 3443 — Lancet. 1990 Jul         21;336(8708):129-33. doi: 10.1016/0140- 

       6736(90)91656-u. Authors. D Ornish , S E Brown, L

       W Scherwitz, J H Billings, W.

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