Mamas on Bedrest: Will Beetroot Juice Lower Blood Pressure or Help Treat Pre-Eclampsia?

April 20th, 2015

Hello Mamas!

This came as a response to a post I did on the use of Nifedipine, an antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) medication, used to treat preterm labor.

Latest details, revealed by the United States Of America Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and based, on over a decades research, suggests that fatalities, from causes associated with high blood pressure levels, are regretfully growing strongly. A particular possibly encouraging portion of wider research, suggests the important role beetroot juice may possibly play, in helping to better management regarding blood pressure levels. It may be a life saver for you to be alert to this research and I’m very happy to share these details to you.

I get a lot of these types of notices on my blog posts and quite frankly, I typically delete them. But with this one, I decided to see what “literature” they are referencing and to see if it is at all credible. But I will tell you right now, I am highly skeptical about this and using this “comment” as an example, I will share with you why I don’t recommend therapies on this blog.

So let’s pull this apart. The first statement is in fact true. There is an increase in the incidences of high blood pressure in the United States and many pregnant women are affected-be it with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) or Pre-Eclampsia (the more complicated syndrome of high blood pressure, facial and extremity swelling and proteinuria). PIH is often managed expectantly, i.e., HCP’s monitor the blood pressure and make sure that it doesn’t go beyond a certain level. Health care providers also are vigilant to look for other associated complications and to see of the PIH is going to progress to Pre-Eclampsia. Now with isolated elevated blood pressure, it is likely pretty harmless if a woman wants to increase her beet intake. Beets are good sources of iron and vitamins, so incorporating them into the diet is a good thing. But without seeing any credible literature, I am not going to say that eating beets is going to have any particular impact on blood pressure or will prevent any progression of complications. So with that statement, I cannot recommend beet consumption as a means to prevent or treat pre-eclampsia. I’ve never seen any credible literature to this effect, so I am not going to make any sort of suggestion or recommendation. Pre-Eclampsia is a serious medical condition that can threaten the life of a pregnant mama and her baby. It requires intense medical supervision and any woman who has been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia or who is at risk for developing pre-eclampsia needs to have a close relationship with her health care team and receive guidance and treatment from them.

So let’s look at the next statement. A particular possibly encouraging portion of wider research, suggests the important role beetroot juice may possibly play, in helping to better management regarding blood pressure levels. I have no idea to what research this person is referring. I read a lot of articles and publications; the New England Journal of Medicine, The British Journal of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Lancet, The Perinatal Journal put out by the Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and many many others. Never have I seen any reference to beetroot juice being used for high blood pressure. I’ve not seen it in any cardiology journals, in anything put out by the American Heart Association or, as mentioned, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yes, curiosity got me to approve this comment because I want to see who is the reference for the recommendation of beetroot juice for the treatment of hypertension.

It may be a life saver for you to be alert to this research and I’m very happy to share these details to you. Really?? Again, who is/are the references? Who did the research? Where is it published? Most times when there is a release of medical information, the press release reads, “Researchers find XXXX leads to improved outcomes of YYY” and immediately following the headline, the publication and date are posted. Not the case here.

What really concerns me is that whoever wrote this comment, I don’t think really understands what the post they commented on was about. Nifedipine, an antihypertensive medication, is sometimes used as a tocolytic (a medication to stop preterm contractions) in women who are experiencing preterm labor. I cannot tell whether or not this person actually read the post, or happened across the Nifedipine in the heading and decided to comment. In either case, this comment tells me that they are not really well educated on preterm labor, hypertension, Nifedipine or the use of Nifedipine for the treatment of preterm labor. That being said, I’m even less inclined to regard any information that they submit regarding the use of beetroot juice as credible. As I have said, I’d like to see the references, but I am not in any way looking for Beetroot juice to be the next great cure for PIH or Pre-eclampsia.

Mamas, I do my best to bring you the latest credible information and the newest advances in treatments for high risk pregnancy. Your lives and the lives of your babies are of utmost importance to me and I try to weed out extraneous “information”. I am sure that sometimes you may think that I am being too stringent or too protective of the website. My goal is always to bring you the best, and when something doesn’t meet standards of care or deviates so radically from the medical literature, I typically don’t include it. Now you know why.

Let’s see what this comment yields. I’ll keep you posted.

Addendum: I looked up Beetroot Juice and it seems that there was a study done at Wake Forest University that showed Beetroot Juice increases blood flow to the brain and that these findings show that there may be some usefulness to drinking beetroot juice to prevent the progression of dementia. There is nothing about treatment for high blood pressure in this research. I didn’t find any specific research indicating the drinking beetroot juice or eating beets decreased blood pressure during pregnancy. However, as previously stated, beets are high in iron and vitamins (as are many fruits and vegetables) so incorporating them into your diet, as a way to round out your nutrition, is a good thing. To try to treat PIH or Pre-eclampsia, I did not find evidence.

If any of you have credible research resources that indicate beetroot juice is useful in lowering PIH or Pre-eclampsia, please share these references in the comments section below. Thanks.

2 responses to “Mamas on Bedrest: Will Beetroot Juice Lower Blood Pressure or Help Treat Pre-Eclampsia?”

  1. Jan H. says:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4292435/#!po=42.8994

    Hansson, S. R., Nääv, Å., & Erlandsson, L. (2015). Oxidative stress in preeclampsia and the role of free fetal hemoglobin. Frontiers in physiology, 5, 516.

    Very interesting read. I tried beetroot juice before having read this article and all.my symptoms of pre-eclampsia are either imoroving or gone (i.e. normal blood pressure and no protein in urine)

  2. Darline says:

    Congratulations Jan.So glad you had success with the Beet Juice. Have you delivered?
    How are you now? How is your baby?

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