Calcium channel blockers are a broad category of prescription medications used for their ability to help with cardiovascular disease. And they do help people, however, like every medication, there is a risk to benefit ratio that you should consider before just popping the pills with complete trust as many consumers do.
Calcium channel blockers or CCBs are given to people to help with high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as cardiac arrhythmias and chest pain, termed “angina.” If you have these symptoms, scroll below for some natural remedies that support heart health, and also, CLICK HERE to read my other article, 5 Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure.
Typical side effects of CCBs include low blood pressure, lightheadedness, drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth from poor saliva production, ankle edema and reflux. As for the neuropsychiatric side effects including suicidal ideation – these are commonly associated with certain antihypertensives – but I would say that the CCB category is not one to worry about. In fact, it could help with bipolar and acute mania, so sometimes it is prescribed for these conditions. However, there is dark side to using antihypertensives which is why I have always recommend natural vitamins, or herbal remedies, weight management and exercise to improve blood pressure numbers. The dark side is the development of DNA damage which could raise one’s risk for cancer.
Research from 1997 implied an increased risk of cancer, particularly bladder cancer with some CCBs. You can read about that HERE.
What is the Correlation of Calcium Channel Blockers to Cancer?
Not every study finds a correlation so do not panic and go off your medication unless you and your physician agree, and you have a new strategy to control your blood pressure. Also, not every drug in the CCB class of medications carries risk. Most importantly, not all of the CCBs are associated with cancer. So if you are worried about a particular medication you take, please speak to your physician and look online for studies at Pubmed or PLOS One. Obviously, not all data points to a correlation between CCBs and cancer, especially breast cancer. That’s why a RETRACTION about a 17-study meta-analysis was published on PLOS one which you can review HERE.
If you look online to research this topic, you will come across a recent STUDY suggesting that the “short-acting” CCB drugs increase one’s risk for pancreatic cancer.
You may be wondering how it is even possible. It’s because the calcium channel blocker drugs do just that! They block the channel where your calcium is entering the cell. It blocks the flow of calcium into the cell, but then again, your cells depend on calcium for good health so what happens long term?
The medication sits in the doorway to your cell like a pit bull, thus blocking the channel completely off from calcium (but it’s a temporary effect until the drug levels decline again). In effect, the CCBs are blocking the cell (and the human body) from utilizing calcium for various metabolic processes, for a short period of time while you’re taking the medication.
Something else of interest is gadolinium, a popular contrast dye injected into some people receiving MRI scans. These drugs have morphed over the years, but the early ones can cause harm to sensitive people and are thought to stay in the brain. Gadolinium-based contrast dyes act like calcium channel blockers and have a widespread impact on the body causing neurological difficulties in some people. Read my article by CLICKING HERE.
Calcium and Heart Health
At first, symptoms like chest pain will improve, and systolic and diastolic numbers improve, but over time these drugs damage the calcium channels. Calcium makes your muscles contract, and in essence, makes your heart beat too. Your heart is a well-oiled machine, it is a muscle that never stops, working 24/7 for you!
Blocking the flow of calcium throughout the human body could be viewed as dangerous since calcium is essential life. The Wall Street Journal once reported that people who took CCBs had a much higher risk of heart attack. Again, this is because calcium is needed for muscles and the heart is considered a muscle.
As for the cancer risk associated with some CCBs, to initiate cancer, several things need to happen. When the drug binds to the calcium channel, it breaks the gap proteins which causes the cell to be unable to communicate with other cells. As this falters, the cancer cells grow out of control because they don’t know when to stop proliferating. So they keep growing. Other things do this such as pesticides, for example. Without the proper signaling to “stop dividing now” the cells grow wildly. Calcium is needed inside the cell to keep the loud-speaker going so that cells can communicate and send chemical signals that say “stop dividing now.”
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure
Here’s my recipe to make a natural hawthorn blood pressure tea. CLICK HERE.
You can work on improving diet and taking nutrients that help cell membrane health. Do not suddenly stop your medication, you need to be under the supervision of your medical doctor. Reducing sodium chloride (table salt) and processed foods which contain it could be helpful. There are beneficial remedies that you can also consider, and ask your practitioner(s) about such as hawthorn. This has been used for heart and blood pressure health for centuries. Of course fish oils and garlic supplements are well-known to support a healthy cardiovascular system. Magnesium and potassium are two minerals known to support the heart. Also, CoQ10 and B vitamins support a healthy heart and vascular system.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.