Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) block the conversion of a naturally occurring substance, angiotensin, to a more active form. These medications are widely used to treat hypertension as well as congestive heart failure and other conditions. Drugs in this category include
- Benazepril hydrochloride (Lotensin, Lotrel)
- Captopril (Capoten)
- Enalapril maleate (Lexxel, Teczem, Vaseretic, Vasotec)
- Fosinopril (Monopril)
- Lisinopril (Prinivil, Prinzide, Zestril, Zestoretic)
- Moexipril hydrochloride (Uniretic, Univasc)
- Quinapril hydrochloride (Accupril)
- Ramipril (Altace)
- Trandolapril (Mavik, Tarka)
- and others
Arginine is an amino acid that has been used to improve immunity in hospitalized patients as well as for many other conditions.
Licorice root, a member of the pea family, has been used since ancient times as both food and medicine.
Glycyrrhiza glabra G. uralensis
A special form of licorice known as DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) is a deliberately altered form of the herb that should not cause these problems.
Because ingesting more potassium makes the problem worse, it is important to be aware of the various sources of extra potassium. Besides potassium supplements, sources include high-potassium diets, salt substitutes containing potassium, and potassium-sparing diuretics (diuretics that cause your body to retain potassium).
Your physician will want to keep an eye on the levels of potassium in your blood and let you know if you need to adjust your potassium intake.
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is primarily used to treat mild to moderate depression.
The herb dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is often recommended for menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea, PMS, and irregular menstruation.
ACE inhibitors have been reported to cause increased sensitivity to the sun, amplifying the risk of sunburn or skin rash. Because St. John's wort and dong quai may also cause this problem, taking these herbal supplements during treatment with ACE inhibitors might add to this risk.
It may be a good idea to wear a sunscreen or protective clothing during sun exposure if you take one of these herbs while using an ACE inhibitor.
Keep in mind that it's not healthy to get too much iron. For this reason, we recommend that you seek medical advice before starting iron supplements.
It has been suggested, though not proven, that zinc deficiency might account for some of the side effects seen with ACE inhibitors, such as taste disturbances, poor appetite, and skin numbness or tingling.
Whether zinc supplementation will prevent ACE inhibitor-induced zinc deficiency has not been examined, but it seems reasonable to think that taking extra zinc might help. Generally, zinc supplements should also contain copper to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -