8 Natural Beta-blockers - The Best Alternative Sources
Beta-blockers are drugs that reduce stress on your heart by reducing the effects of stress hormones. Natural beta blockers—including nutritional and herbal supplements—can provide similar benefits without the potential side effects of prescription medications.
What are beta-blockers?
Beta-blockers (also known as a beta-adrenergic blockade) are substances that lower your heart rate and blood pressure. They do this by blocking your beta cell receptors from receiving stress hormones—especially norepinephrine (also known as noradrenaline or adrenaline). As a result, this stops the effects of stress hormones on your cardiovascular system.
Autonomic nervous system and stress explained
The autonomic nervous system is made up of three distinct components: sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric. These control involuntary bodily functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, respiration, and arousal. We're going to focus on the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is responsible for the involuntary responses your body has to stressful and dangerous situations—perceived or real. This is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. When activated, your SNS triggers the production and release of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
This natural response to stress increases your blood pressure and heart rate, so more oxygen reaches your muscles and your body is ready to respond to a potential threat.
A flood of stress hormones can happen instantaneously while in a fight-or-flight state—often before you've realized it has occurred. If you've ever had to quickly jump out of the way of a moving object or dodge a stray frisbee, you've experienced this firsthand.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) counters the effects of your SNS by controlling your ability to relax. When activated, the PNS causes your blood pressure to decrease and prioritizes your digestive system function. This is also known as the rest-and-digest state.
While acute sympathetic nervous system simulation can get you out of trouble when you're in a pinch, chronic stress can cause serious health problems especially if you already have adrenal issues. Over time, stress hormones can increase your risk of hypertension and cause lasting damage to your cardiovascular system.
High blood pressure and stress hormones
When your sympathetic nervous system triggers the release of stress hormones, your blood vessels constrict, your heart pumps faster, and your blood pressure increases. A temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate during an acute stress state isn't typically detrimental to your health. However, a chronic stress state can lead to palpitations, tachycardia, and hypertension.
A healthy keto diet reduces blood pressure because of the nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc...
Chronic hypertension increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, dementia, and many other severe health conditions. Beta-blockers can treat these problems by blocking the effects of stress hormones.
How are beta-blockers used?
As explained in the video above, there are many uses for beta-blockers. They are most often prescribed to treat cardiovascular conditions or reduce your risk of a second heart attack.
Tachycardia (unusually rapid heart rate)
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Angina (chest pain)
Mitral valve prolapse (heart flaps don’t close normally)
POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
The three types of beta-blockers
There are three primary types of beta-blockers: nonselective, cardioselective, and third-generation. See how each of these can affect your body in different ways.
Nonselective beta-blockers are the first ones ever created. They affect all of your beta receptors, including beta-1 (kidney and heart cells), beta-2 (blood vessel, liver, lung, muscle, stomach, and uterus cells), and beta-3 (fat cells).
Cardioselective beta-blockers are able to target the beta-1 receptors in your heart cells. Because they have less of an effect on beta-2 receptors, they may be safer for those with chronic lung conditions.
Third-generation beta-blockers also target beta-1 receptors, but they have the additional ability to dilate blood vessels. This can offer a more significant reduction in blood pressure levels.
Alpha-blockers vs. beta-blockers
Alpha-blockers and beta-blockers both lower your blood pressure. However, they achieve these results in different ways. When you experience stress, hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict, making your heart pump faster and causing your blood pressure to increase.
Alpha-blockers prevent stress hormones from binding to alpha receptors, allowing blood vessels to relax. In turn, your blood pressure decreases.
Beta-blockers lower your blood pressure by slowing down nerve impulses in your heart. This causes your heart to beat slower and your blood to pump less forcibly against blood vessel walls.
Some medications contain both beta-blockers and alpha-blockers. Alpha-blockers can have negative effects on your blood lipids, which can worsen circularity and kidney disease. Those with high lipids are often prescribed pure beta-blockers instead, which are medications without alpha-blockers.
Are beta-blockers safe?
As with most medications, prescription beta-blockers have potential side effects. They are often prescribed only when their benefits outweigh the risks. Not all of them share the same risks, so ask your doctor if you’re concerned about the side effects of your medication.
Nonselective beta-blockers have a marginally greater risk of side effects than cardioselective and third-generation varieties.
Potential beta-blocker side effects include:
Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Cold hands and feet
Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
Low libido and erectile dysfunction (in rare cases)
Talk with your doctor if you experience any of these side effects.
Prescription and over-the-counter beta-blockers can interact with many medications, including anti-arrhythmics and antihypertensives. Consult your doctor before you start or stop taking any medication or supplement.
Who shouldn't take prescription beta-blockers?
Beta-blockers can cause severe side effects for those with certain diseases and health conditions. Unless instructed by a qualified physician, avoid use if you have any of the following health conditions:
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) - Beta-blockers can delay the warning signs of low blood sugar, making it easy to drop below unsafe glucose levels.
Hypotension (low blood pressure) - Using beta-blockers with low blood pressure levels can worsen hypotension and cause severely low oxygen levels.
Bradycardia (slow heart rate) - Beta-blockers can further reduce a slow heart rate, causing lightheadedness, fainting, and other complications.
Asthma - Nonselective beta-blockers can cause respiratory problems in those with asthma and other breathing issues. If you have mild asthma, selective beta-blockers may not affect your breathing.
Some arrhythmias - Though beta-blockers can be prescribed for an irregular heart beat, certain arrhythmias may worsen when using these medications.
Raynaud's syndrome - Raynaud's syndrome involves decreased circulation to your hands and feet. Beta-blockers can worsen the blood flow to your extremities and cause tingling or numbness.
Are there risks to natural beta-blockers?
Natural remedies have very few risks and negative side effects because they don't affect the body in the same way prescription medications do.
Natural beta-blockers don't reduce your cell receptors' ability to receive adrenaline. Instead, they reduce adrenaline naturally so the need for medication decreases.
Reducing stress and increasing your tolerance to stress can have a similar effect on your blood pressure and heart rate.
Most proven natural beta-blockers are safe. However, some (including magnesium supplements) may affect the absorption and effectiveness of prescription medications.
Always ask your doctor about medication interactions before taking any nutritional supplement.
The eight best natural beta-blocker alternatives
Here are eight incredible alternatives to beta-blockers that can help reduce stress on your heart.
Potassium is one of the most powerful all-natural beta-blockers. It balances your sodium level and relaxes the walls of your blood vessels, which helps lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
Garlic is highly beneficial for the entire cardiovascular system. It lowers inflammation, reduces heart disease risk, and helps normalize high blood pressure.
3. Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications in those with diabetes. It may also eliminate certain toxins in the bloodstream, reducing damage to heart cells.
Like potassium, magnesium helps relax the walls of blood vessels and decreases your risk of hypertension and fast heart rate. It's one of the best proven natural remedies for tachycardia.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts as a potent antioxidant and helps your body absorb calcium, which is essential for the relaxation of blood vessels. Always take vitamin K2 with vitamin D3 to prevent calcium buildup in the arteries.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens increase your resistance to stress and help reduce the release of stress hormones, which can slow down a fast heart rate and normalize high blood pressure.
7. Long walks
Three to five 45-minute walks each week can lower your systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate. Long walks are also one of the best natural beta-blockers for anxiety (including performance anxiety or “stage fright”).
Acupressure is a form of massage that uses pressure points throughout your body. One minute of acupressure daily may help decrease anxiety, lower your heart rate, and reduce high blood pressure.
Other natural beta-blockers
Fatty fish (omega-3 fatty acids and L-arginine)
Leafy green vegetables
Beta-blocker herbal and nutritional supplements:
Lifestyle changes for better blood pressure:
Daily low-intensity exercise
Regular manual labor (gardening, lawn care, hobbies, etc.)
Reduce alcohol consumption
Get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night
Healthy Keto™ diet and intermittent fasting
Natural beta-blockers can be a great way to relieve stress on your heart without the potential side effects of many prescription medications. Since these natural alternatives are widely available and typically safe to use in moderation, they can be an excellent first plan of action.
Ask your doctor before starting or stopping any medication or nutritional supplement. If you are looking for an alternative to a current medication, your doctor may be able to help you safely transition off of medications and suggest a natural treatment or therapy.
1. Can natural beta-blockers lower your heart rate?
Yes! They can lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate without the potential side effects of medications. Many herbal supplements or lifestyle changes that reduce stress can have a beta-blocker-like effect on your body.
2. How do beta-blockers work?
They work by blocking a cell receptor's ability to receive the stress hormone adrenaline. This reduces the effects of stress on your body, including a fast heart rate, hypertension, and palpitations.
3. What is the natural alternative to beta-blockers?
Low-intensity exercise, a low-carb diet, relaxation, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients can act as natural alternatives. They help reduce stress and increase your resistance to stressful events.
4. What is the safest beta-blocker?
All drugs have potential health risks. The safety of individual medications depends on preexisting health conditions, age, race, and dosage. Ask your doctor about the safest beta-blocker drug for you. Natural beta-blockers have very few (if any) negative side effects—many can have beneficial effects on your entire body!
5. Do bananas contain natural beta-blockers?
Yes, bananas contain vitamins and minerals (including potassium) that act as natural beta-blockers. However, vegetables are far better natural sources of these nutrients because they don't contain fructose, which may negatively affect your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
The best potassium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, avocados, and dairy products.
6. Do beta-blockers shorten your life?
No, beta-blockers are not known to shorten your lifespan; on the contrary, they may decrease the risk of mortality for those with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
7. Do beta-blockers weaken the heart?
No, beta-blockers do not weaken your heart. They slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and help decrease stress on your heart, which is beneficial for those with cardiovascular problems.
8. What supplements can lower heart rate?
Many nutritional and herbal supplements can lower your heart rate naturally, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1, garlic, and ashwagandha. Any supplement that decreases your stress will also have a beta-blocker-like effect due to a reduction in stress hormones.
9. Is magnesium a natural beta-blocker?
Yes! Magnesium is one of the best natural beta-blockers found in food.
10. Does magnesium affect beta-blockers?
Yes, magnesium may decrease the absorption and effectiveness of many drugs, including atenolol. Check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you are on any medication.
11. What are the best natural beta-blockers?
The eight best natural beta-blockers are potassium, garlic, vitamin B1, magnesium, vitamin D, ashwagandha, long walks, and acupressure.
12. What is a pure beta-blocker?
A pure beta-blocker is a drug that contains no alpha-blockers. Alpha-blockers can have adverse effects on lipid levels, including cholesterol and triglycerides—thus, they are typically not an option for those with kidney or circulatory disease.
13. What is L-arginine?
L-arginine is a powerful amino acid that helps your body produce nitric oxide, which enlarges blood vessels and may help lower blood pressure levels and prevent chronic hypertension. You can find L-arginine in meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, and seeds.