FDA Announces Recall of Another Heart Medicine for Possible Cancer Risk

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

A heart medication meant to treat high blood pressure has been recalled because it contains a suspected human and animal carcinogen used in gasoline, ABC 57 reports. The recall applies to certain lots of irbesartan and will have "Westminster Pharmaceuticals" and "GSMS Inc." on the label. An earlier recall of the blood pressure drug valsartan was put in place in July because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found organic chemicals in it used to make liquid rocket fuel.

Drug recalls are nothing new — probably the most notorious one, which occurred only after thousands died — was the Vioxx scandal. But even so, these recalls seem to be the order of the day more and more, as evidenced by the earlier valsartan recall. In this instance, several valsartan-containing blood pressure medications were recalled due to the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine, an impurity classified as a probable human carcinogen.

The impurity is believed to be the result of changes in how the active ingredient was being manufactured, and the recall was issued in 22 other countries besides the U.S. But now that a new recall has been issued on a different blood pressure drug, perhaps it’s time to look at nondrug ways to address blood pressure issues.

The good news is there are many ways to lower your blood pressure naturally, even if you need short-term medication to address excessively high blood pressure. The important thing to remember is that while you implement these natural measures, be sure to continue monitoring your blood pressure and keep in touch with your doctor to make sure if it’s OK to eliminate any medication once your pressure normalizes.

One of the first steps to normalize blood pressure is to make important dietary changes that eliminate or dramatically reduce sugar, especially processed fructose, in your diet. This is because studies show that consuming high levels of fructose can elevate your blood pressure.

Another dietary culprit is trans fat, which is responsible for atherosclerosis (hardening of your arteries). This is another trigger for hypertension, so avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats such as margarines, vegetable oils, butter-like spreads and baked goods.

The easiest way to cut both sugar and unhealthy fats from your diet is to replace processed foods with real, whole foods. This will address not only insulin and leptin resistance but also elevated uric acid levels. To learn more about healthy eating, please see my optimal nutrition plan, which will guide you through the necessary changes step-by-step.

On the flip side, a food you may want to add to your diet is beetroot juice, which has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. The beneficial effects are related to the nitrate found in beetroot juice. Your body converts the nitrate into bioactive nitrite followed by nitric oxide (NO), the latter of which helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, and helps prevent blood clot

The absolute richest source of nitrate is fermented beets, but other vegetables high in nitrates include arugula, butter leaf lettuce and spring greens.

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