The link between calcium and blood pressure was not noticed years ago when researchers realized people drinking hard water had less high blood pressure than those drinking soft water. Hard water contains more minerals, including calcium.

Individuals receiving more than 800 mg of calcium daily have a 23 percent reduced risk of hypertensive versus those consuming less than 400 mg of calcium per day.

Back in 1996, scientists compiled all the research to date on calcium and hypertension. The results shown calcium supplements given to individuals with hypertension lowered systolic blood pressure (top number) an average of 4.3 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) 1.5 mm Hg.

Some people respond better to supplemental calcium than others. Those with the best results include African-Americans, elderly, pregnant women, menopaal women, people with salt-sensitivity, individuals with a high sodium intake, and those with Type II diabetes.

For the best results, do not rely on a supplement alone. Work to increase your intake of calcium containing foods – dairy. To promote heart health, select low fat dairy products, such as low fat milk, cheeses, and yogurts.

Additional calcium sources:

Leafy greens (ie kale, collard, turnip, mustard greens)
Broccoli
Sardines
Canned Salmon
Calcium fortified Orange Juice
Tofu (if made with calcium carbonate)

For even better results, supplement calcium along with vitamin D. One study supplemented women 1200 mg of calcium. When they added 800 IU of vitamin D, systolic blood pressure decreased an average of 9.3 percent.

Do not forget three other minerals affect how effective calcium – potassium, magnesium, and sodium. For calcium to have the greatest positive effect, your levels of these three nutrients need to be adequate as well.