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How Does Ketosis Lower Blood Pressure

Low Blood Pressure - Can It Get Too Low Eating Paleo/low Carb?

Low Blood Pressure - Can It Get Too Low Eating Paleo/low Carb?

I'm probably lucky to report that I have naturally low blood pressure (91/63), but the downside is that I get lightheaded nearly every time I stand up and often when doing simple tasks. I have recently begun doing Paleo in earnest and am enjoying all of the foods and the healthier lifestyle that comes from eating so healthily, especially in light of the serious issues I had on SAD. I understand Paleo nutrition lowers blood pressure, and I'm wondering whether I should be concerned about my blood pressure going too low the longer I eat this way. Have any of you lowered your blood pressure too much as a direct result of Paleo nutrition? I would hate to exacerbate my proneness to faintness. It's not fun. Continue reading >>

Ask Allison: What Is A Ketogenic Diet?

Ask Allison: What Is A Ketogenic Diet?

Q: What is a Ketogenic/Keto diet? A: A ketogenic (keto) diet is a very high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet. It has many medical benefits for children with epilepsy, and some people follow a keto diet for its potential weight loss benefits. A keto diet results in ketosis—a state in which ketones, formed from fatty acids, are burned as the main energy source by the body and brain rather than glucose (glucose, or blood sugar, is the broken down, usable from of carbohydrates). Q: What is ketosis? A: Ketosis is the result of a ketogenic diet in which the body produces ketones for fuel instead of using glucose. While in ketosis the body switches to fat for almost all energy needs. Q: What are ketones? A: Ketones are an alternative fuel to blood sugar (glucose) for the body. There are three different ketones (or “ketone bodies”) used by the body for fuel (acetone, acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate). Ketones are produced in the liver from fat as a byproduct formed during the conversion of fatty acids to fuel. Q: What do you eat on a ketogenic diet? A: Someone following a ketogenic diet will consume moderate amounts of protein, high amounts of fat, and very low amounts carbohydrates (less than 50g/day); a rough macronutrient ratio would be 15-25% protein, 70%+ fat, and 10% carbs. This usually includes natural fats (butter, olive oil), meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, and primarily green vegetables. People on a keto diet will avoid sweet, sugary, and starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread. Q: What’s the difference between keto and low carb? A: They are very similar; in most low carb diets, however protein is not restricted whereas for a keto diet protein is restricted to moderate amounts. Additionally, many low carb diets don’t require the majorit Continue reading >>

What’s The Right Diet For High Blood Pressure?

What’s The Right Diet For High Blood Pressure?

I recently pushed back against the new more stringent guidelines that recategorized nearly half of adult Americans as “hypertensive.” Now, even with formerly “borderline” blood pressure of 120-139/80-89, we’re told we’re at risk. Missed in the rush to prescribe more drugs is the nuance that the new guidelines specify that most of those newly reclassified should be treated with “lifestyle” as a prelude to meds. A cornerstone of lifestyle management of hypertension is diet. But which diet? The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is promoted as the go-to diet for high blood pressure. In fact, U.S. News and World Report dubbed the DASH diet its “best and healthiest” for the seventh year in a row (the Paleo Diet was rated dead last; the Atkins Diet was second worst—more on this later). The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy. It also includes mostly whole grains; lean meats, fish and poultry; nuts and beans. The blood-pressure lowering effects of the DASH diet are mediated, at least in part, by its high content of dietary nitrates. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, and especially beet root, are rich in inorganic nitrates, precursors to nitric oxide, which relaxes the endothelium. (Interestingly, it’s been demonstrated that the blood-pressure lowering effects of beet juice can be cancelled out by use of antiseptic mouthwash, which kills the oral bacteria responsible for conversion of dietary nitrates to nitric oxide!) But is the DASH diet the best eating plan for high blood pressure? Its emphasis on whole grains (up to 6-12 servings per day) and fruits (4-6 servings), along with a lack of restrictions on starchy vegetables, make it very high in carbohydrates – which promote insulin resistanc Continue reading >>

Low Carb Dieting Myths

Low Carb Dieting Myths

The myths about low carb dieting and specifically ketogenic diets abound in the American collective consciousness. These are just a few of the most pervasive myths I've encountered, with explanations as to why they are incorrect and simply don't make sense, scientifically: Myth 1: Carbs are an essential nutrient for good health. Some nutrition professionals still believe that carbohydrates are necessary to provide glucose to fuel the brain and avoid hypoglycemia. It's an old way of thinking, and it's just not true scientifically. Essential nutrients are nutrients which your body cannot make, so they have to be obtained on a daily basis from your food sources. There are essential proteins, and essential fatty acids, but there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. When the body is in ketosis, it has a “glucose sparing” effect. First, the skeletal muscles burn fatty acids preferentially which spares glucose for the brain to use. Second, once a person is keto-adapted, the brain switches to using ketone bodies for over half of the fuel it needs, and less glucose is needed since ketone bodies are being used as an alternative fuel. This small amount of carbohydrate (glucose or blood sugar) needed to fuel the brain during keto adaptation can be generated internally. Your liver can make all the glucose needed for brain function from glycogen stored in the liver. And if need be, the body can also make glucose from the protein in your food. Hence, carbohydrates are NOT essential nutrients, and many people, such as the Inuit of Alaska and the Masai of Africa live without them for long periods of time without any effect on health and well-being. The “brain needs carbs” idea is only true if you consistently eat a high carb diet (as most registered dietitians will tel Continue reading >>

Journey Into Ketosis Part Ii

Journey Into Ketosis Part Ii

TL;DR This is a journal of my first month of ketosis. A quick recap of Part I: Ketosis is when your body metabolizes fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel source. To enter ketosis you must eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day for a minimum of two weeks, and ideally 60-80% of your diet is fat. You can measure blood ketones with over-the counter-tests. Ketones are the preferred fuel for organs like your brain, heart, and muscles. Ketosis is safe and all humans show improved blood lipid profiles, profound anti-inflammation, and weight loss with lean muscle mass preservation in ketosis, better than any other diet. May 2014: The Descent Of Insulin I had just returned from a two week long trip to Israel and Jordan. On the flight back I finished reading The Art And Science Of Low Carbohydrate Living, which answered all my questions about ketosis. (The Art and Science...Performance is a wonderful, short follow up, and Keto Clarity is on the to-read list.) I had been "paleo" for about five years, which for me meant avoiding grains and most sugars. I was not striving for high fat, and I still occasionally craved sugar. One way to know you've achieved ketosis is measuring blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BOHB. It's the fuel your liver produces when it metabolizes fat. Your organs, especially your brain, consume it copiously. You can measure BOHB by pricking your finger with a Precision Xtra lance, bleeding on to a ketone test strip, inserting the strip into the Precision Xtra, and waiting. It will spit out your blood ketone density in milligrams of ketones per millimoler of blood. The (semi-arbitrarily) decided on level for a human to be in "nutritional ketosis" is a minimum of 0.5 mg/mmL. I was eating "low carb" for five years, so I figured this was easy, and I was Continue reading >>

Dash Diet Lowers Inflammation And Blood Pressure

Dash Diet Lowers Inflammation And Blood Pressure

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is designed to reduce blood pressure and improve blood lipids. It’s typically low in fat and relatively high in carbs, but it’s not clear what role these macronutrients play in the diet’s effectiveness. For this reason, a group of researchers compared the effects of a higher-fat, lower-carb DASH diet to the conventional DASH diet. Their results were recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. The diet was designed after researchers noticed that high blood pressure was much less common in those who followed a plant-based diet, such as vegans and vegetarians, than in meat eaters (5, 6). This led researchers to design a diet that provided liberal amounts of the nutrients that appeared to protect people against high blood pressure. The result was the DASH diet, which is high in fruits and vegetables and contains some lean protein sources like chicken, fish and beans. The diet is low in red meat, salt, added sugars and fat. It’s thought that one of the main reasons people with high blood pressure can benefit from this diet is because it reduces the amount of salt they’re eating. The regular DASH diet program recommends that people eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (or 1 teaspoon), which is in line with most national guidelines. The lower-salt version recommends that people eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (or 3/4 of a teaspoon). Conclusion: The DASH diet was designed to reduce high blood pressure. It’s rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, but it restricts red meat, salt, added sugars and fat. Background It is currently the world’s most popular diet aimed at lowering b Continue reading >>

Can A Low-carb Diet Cause Low Blood Pressure?

Can A Low-carb Diet Cause Low Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against artery walls when the heart is beating and at rest. The systolic, or top number, measures the pressure during the heartbeat, while the diastolic, or bottom number, measures the pressure when the heart is at rest. High blood pressure affects about 80 million people in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. It doesn't cause any symptoms, but excess pressure against the artery walls causes them to stretch and weaken, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. While there are a number of causes of high blood pressure, including genetics and age, factors such as poor food choices, inactivity and carrying excess weight may also increase your risk. Losing weight and making healthier food choices are part of the treatment plan for high blood pressure. Although the typical diet to manage blood pressure is high in fruits, veggies, whole grains and dairy foods, a low-carb diet might work to improve your numbers, too. Low-Carb Diet Basics The premise behind a low-carb diet is that it helps your body burn fat instead of storing it. While there are no set rules, many low-carb diets kick-start your weight loss by severely restricting your intake of carbs -- 20 to 50 grams a day -- during the early stages. This causes your body to go into a state of ketosis, burning fat instead of glucose to fuel your brain. Then, carbs are slowly added back in phases, depending on the low-carb plan you're following, to slow weight loss and help you find the right amount of carbs to maintain weight loss, which can be as high as 150 grams a day. In addition to helping you burn fat, low-carb diets suppress appetite, which helps cut calories, too. While low-carb diets offer a number of benefits for weight loss, they Continue reading >>

How Fat Lowers Your Blood Pressure

How Fat Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) is one of the triad symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Most of the hypertension that I see clinically is driven by insulin resistance as the underlying cause. I see this problem in a very large majority of the people in my office and I am seeing people younger and younger show up with continually increasing blood pressure. In medical school, we were taught to treat “borderline” or “slightly elevated blood pressure,” through “lifestyle changes” which was another way of saying exercise, caloric restriction & hold the salt. But most physicians today will tell you that exercise, salt & caloric restriction doesn’t work. When asked why the 34 year old male in my office suddenly has elevated blood pressure, the only explanation we had was it is a “genetic problem,” or “blood pressure naturally goes up as we get older,” or “you’ve been eating too much salt,” and they are started on blood pressure medication and sent on their way. But, as time went on, I found that I had to keep adding more and more blood pressure medication to control the continually rising blood pressure of the patients in my practice. Most of these people will have a progressive elevation in blood pressure over time, and these blood pressure (anti-hypertensive) medications are/were continually raised until the person is on four or five different blood pressure pills at maximal doses. Again, when questioned why, their genetics are blamed and that is the end of it. Or is it?! What shocked me was that when I took patients off of salt & caloric restriction, and placed them on low carbohydrate high fat diets (and yes, I gave them back their salt), their blood pressure normalized. I noticed that as their fasting insulin levels began to fall, their bloo Continue reading >>

Low-carb Diet Lowers Blood Pressure

Low-carb Diet Lowers Blood Pressure

Jan. 25, 2010 -- A low-carbohydrate diet may have health benefits that go beyond weight loss. A new study shows that a low-carbohydrate diet was equally good as the weight loss drug orlistat (the active ingredient in Alli and Xenical) at helping overweight and obese people lose weight, but people who followed the low-carb diet also experienced a healthy drop in their blood pressure levels. "I expected the weight loss to be considerable with both therapies but we were surprised to see blood pressure improve so much more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with orlistat," researcher William S. Yancy, Jr., MD, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, says in a news release. "If people have high blood pressure and a weight problem, a low-carbohydrate diet might be a better option than a weight loss medication." Researchers say studies have already shown that the two weight loss methods are effective at promoting weight loss, but it's the first time the health effects of each have been compared head to head. "It's important to know you can try a diet instead of medication and get the same weight loss results with fewer costs and potentially fewer side effects," Yancy says. In the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 146 obese or overweight adults were randomly divided into two groups. Many of the participants also had chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The first group was advised to follow a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet consisting of less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, and the second group received the weight loss drug orlistat three times a day, plus counseling in following a low-fat diet (less than 30% of daily calories from fat) at group meetings over 48 weeks. The results showed we Continue reading >>

High Blood Pressure And The Low Carbohydrate Diet

High Blood Pressure And The Low Carbohydrate Diet

Hello, fellow low carbers. It’s nice to be back. I am now married, so you will notice a name change. I will now be able to add new articles to “The Nurse Is In” on a regular basis. There will be a new one every two weeks, so please keep those questions coming. I will be answering them individually, as well as taking a few of them and expanding them into articles. I decided to pick out a question on high blood pressure and the low carbohydrate diet for this article. The question has been asked several times by different people, and I think that it’s an important one. Can A Low Carbohydrate Diet Cause High Blood Pressure? There are many things that happen to your body to cause your blood pressure to increase. I have been asking this question of physicians that I know, and the consensus is that they feel that obesity is a much greater risk factor than any diet. They would prefer that their patients lost the weight on a low carbohydrate diet and just monitored their blood pressure to make sure that it did not get dangerously high. There was also a general consensus that they actually saw their patients’ blood pressures decrease when they followed a low carbohydrate regime. What About Salt? Standard medical advice has always been for people with high blood pressure to reduce their sodium intake. Why would blood pressure decrease when so many low carbers crave salty foods and increase their sodium intake? There is a fairly simple answer to this question. Excess salt consumption can cause excess fluid retention, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure. However, a low carbohydrate diet puts one into ketosis and is naturally diuretic. This helps to reduce the excess fluids in the body, thereby reducing the blood pressure. When your body does not have to pump th Continue reading >>

Low-fat Or Low-carbohydrate Diet: What's Best For Your Heart?

Low-fat Or Low-carbohydrate Diet: What's Best For Your Heart?

Recently I met with a patient who was in his early thirties. He had been treated for high blood pressure for almost a decade. He came to me because he was in atrial fibrillation and felt short of breath and noticed his heart was racing. We talked about his abnormal heart rhythm and that he was developing diseases that we typically see in older adults. I asked if his family also had abnormal heart rhythms or problems with their blood pressure. He said yes, but with each generation the problems were coming earlier. When I asked him why he thought this was happening, he said that everybody in his family struggles to maintain their weight and he was the biggest of all. He also said, "I am going to start on a diet and exercise." His wife said, "I am going to write that down and hold you to it." He then said, "I am committed. What diet is the best for me?" Comparing Diets for Heart Health I recently wrote about 50 years of diets to prevent heart disease. With these diet studies we learned that low-fat diets alone are not that helpful in preventing heart disease. A diet approach that is balanced is often optimal for long-term compliance and use. Recently, low-carbohydrate, or low-carb, diets have become very popular. In regular diets we consume a lot of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are abundant in potatoes, breads, pastas, cereals, some dried fruits, and of course candies and sweets. In low-carb diets, these carbohydrate dense foods are replaced with low-carbohydrate foods such as apples, carrots, lentils, etc. In some diets, low-carbohydrate foods are replaced by protein-dense foods such as meats. As I discussed in my prior column about diets, low fat diets simply try to reduce total intake of daily fat to a certain percentage of the total diet (often less than 30 percent). I Continue reading >>

How To Normalize Your Blood Pressure

How To Normalize Your Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure is a common health issue today. Almost a third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure – perhaps you or someone in your family does? High blood pressure isn’t necessarily something you can feel, but it increases the risk of serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks. The good news is that you can improve your blood pressure by way of simple lifestyle changes. The usual treatment for elevated blood pressure today is medication. This is often reasonable. But what if you could achieve perfect blood pressure without pills or side-effects – with improved health and weight as welcome side-bonuses, instead? The truth is that high blood pressure was extremely rare as recently as a few hundred years ago. Something in today’s environment is giving more and more people high blood pressure. What is it? Contents What is blood pressure? Five ways to lower your blood pressure What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is exactly what it sounds like: the pressure in your blood vessels. With a normal amount of blood, a healthy heart and healthy, elastic blood vessels, you’ll experience a normal blood pressure. Low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy, especially right when you stand up from having been seated. This is usually harmless and can be the result of dehydration or salt deficiency. Mildly or moderately elevated blood pressure will rarely give obvious symptoms (a light headache might occur sometimes). A very high blood pressure can give severe headaches, fatigue and nausea. High blood pressure is the result of an increased amount of liquid and salt in the blood, and also of the blood vessel walls being thicker and harder than normal. As high blood pressure often goes unnoticed, it’s common for people to live with it unawares for some t Continue reading >>

Keto And High Blood Pressure

Keto And High Blood Pressure

I agree with the others. If low sodium helps you then keto will probably help you. My husband and I live the Keto Lifestyle his A1C was a 6.2 and he is on cholesterol meds and high blood pressure meds. He just went to the doc and his A1C 5.8 blood pressure much lower and his cholesterol much lower! Even with the meds he ran high and now in normal range! They see him in 3 months and may try him off the meds! Doc said keep doing what he's doing ! I agree with the others. If low sodium helps you then keto will probably help you. I thought on keto you are supposed to up your sodium levels as well as potassium to prevent keto flu and to keep electrolytes balanced? which I read can raise blood pressure in some people Huh I never thought about that. Thank you guys for the insight! I'm on BP meds (verapamil) for my migraines and have been doing the stand up/get the spins thing. I'm not low low with the carb range (55 gross, 35 net, light purple) but it gives me something to take to my doctor to make sure I'm doing this right. Thanks!! I agree with the others. If low sodium helps you then keto will probably help you. I thought on keto you are supposed to up your sodium levels as well as potassium to prevent keto flu and to keep electrolytes balanced? which I read can raise blood pressure in some people Yes, but if high sodium levels are exacerbating a high BP condition, then keto is a good fit because it will lower your sodium levels. If sodium levels get too low, then the electrolyte imbalance (aka keto flu - I hate that term) will occur. You generally don't need to increase potassium and magnesium unless sodium has been low for a while. Its then that the body will leach out its K and Mg to use as electrolytes if Na is unavailable. I agree with the others. If low sodium helps Continue reading >>

Paleo & High Blood Pressure

Paleo & High Blood Pressure

A billion people worldwide including 79 million Americans (that’s one out of three adults over the age of 20) has high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension). Hypertension represents a real threat to public health since it is now the greatest mortality risk factor in both men and women and its prevalence is increasing. At the current rate, close to half of all adult Americans will have hypertension by 2030. This year alone, over 65,000 Americans will die of HBP complications. (1,2) Why has HBP reached such epidemic proportions? The conventional answer is that nobody knows. In fact, 95 percent of hypertension is considered “essential” meaning it has no known cause. It’s clear, however, that like other diseases of civilization such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis, our modern lifestyle plays a paramount role. It is extremely rare to find HBP in contemporary hunter-gatherer societies and like other chronic diseases of civilization, the rise of HBP follows our movement out of hunter-gatherer and pastoral lifestyles and into an increasingly high tech, urbanized world. We adapt enough to survive in this world, but do not thrive in it due to: Our processed food diets Exposure to environmental toxins both physical and psychological Inadequate sleep, sun, and exercise Disturbed circadian rhythms Weakened microbiome High blood pressure has genetic determinants, but is also very much a manifestation of a larger problem: our disconnect from nature and our traditional diet and lifestyles. (3,4,5) Current treatment recommendations for hypertension involve lifestyle modifications and medication. (6) However, all too often we rely on meds over lifestyle changes because, as we all know, change is hard. Friends, I’m here to tell you that taking the Paleo plunge is wor Continue reading >>

Should You Go Vegetarian To Control Your Blood Pressure?

Should You Go Vegetarian To Control Your Blood Pressure?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) increases your risk for a number of more serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke A recent meta-analysis found that removing meat from the diet led to blood pressure reductions similar to losing five kilos of body weight Compared to blood pressure drugs, a vegetarian diet was found to be about 50 percent as effective for lowering blood pressure Cutting out meat from your diet is NOT the only way to normalize your blood pressure. In fact, insulin resistance is a primary promoter of high blood pressure, which is the result of a diet too high in sugar, not protein When it comes to meat, two key factors that will determine the healthfulness of your diet are the quality of the meat, and the amount. Most people need to reduce their portions, and limit meat to organic grass-fed, pastured meats only By Dr. Mercola According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure is "the second greatest public health threat" in the US, and about half of all with hypertension have uncontrolled high blood pressure.1 This increases your risk for a number of more serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Interestingly, 16 million Americans who are on blood pressure medication still don't have their blood pressure under control—a fact that emphasizes the need for basic lifestyle changes in order to truly resolve this problem. Vegetarian Diet Lowers Blood Pressure A recent meta-analysis2, 3 suggests that a vegetarian diet may be part of the solution. Lead author Yoko Yokoyama told Reuters Health:4 "For many people, the only treatment has been medication, but that means costs and possible side effects. However, in order to make healthful food choices, people need guidance from scientific stu Continue reading >>

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