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Does a primal diet lower high blood pressure?

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  • Does a primal diet lower high blood pressure?

    In the success stories forum I've read many posts where people have reduced their high blood pressure, or even gotten off medications altogether, after going primal. I just wondered if this has anything to do with the primal diet itself, or if it's just the natural result of weight loss, since weight loss by any method usually results in improved blood pressure. Can the primal diet improve blood pressure before significant weight loss?

  • #2
    Absolutely.
    Primal since March 2011

    Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

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    • #3
      Yes, I believe that excess carbs, especially sugar, and not excess fat is the major cause of high blood pressure in the developed world.

      Because excess carbs are converted to triglycerides which raise blood pressure.

      Weight loss is not the agent.
      F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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      • #4
        It's a combination of things, including weight loss, better insulin sensitivity, lower levels of chronic inflammation, etc.

        That's why primal is superior to simply losing weight per se, because it is an approach that guides you towards better overall health and not just a number. Many symptoms of approaching diabesity have a common field, and there is not a single causal pathway; weight control and overall health is more complicated than that. Be patient with your BP and give the PB time to work. For some it might take only a few weeks, others months.

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        • #5
          Sadly, so far I have not seen that Primal Diet (or Fitness) has really helped my HBP. This is just n=1 stuff and I've really only been doing it about a year (and in that time I've been a little bit off and on) AND I have family history with HBP, so it may just be something for me that no amount diet/weight control/exercise/lifestyle/etc. is going to help me...
          Re-focusing on the Primal Lifestyle in 2012!

          Starting: 221.0lb, 29.5% BF (1/9/2012)
          Latest: 208.9, 26.1% BF (3/19/2012)

          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread35679.html

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          • #6
            My cholesterol has not improved much, but it's not really dangerous (all my ratios are good) and my blood pressure has improved a bit from what I recall, but I don't have specific numbers.
            Depression Lies

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tim_1522 View Post
              Sadly, so far I have not seen that Primal Diet (or Fitness) has really helped my HBP. This is just n=1 stuff and I've really only been doing it about a year (and in that time I've been a little bit off and on) AND I have family history with HBP, so it may just be something for me that no amount diet/weight control/exercise/lifestyle/etc. is going to help me...
              How is your sleep? I know some people that were not sleeping good (they had a sleep study) and got on one of those machines to sleep and their blood pressure dropped immediately. You may need to look at other things besides diet.
              Primal since March 2011

              Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

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              • #8
                I watched Sugar: The Bitter Truth the other night and remember a part about how all the insulin and sugar that gets trapped in our bloodstream during a SAD raises blood pressure just by it's volume.
                "If we’re not supposed to eat animals, how come they’re made out of meat?" - Tom Snyder, talk show host

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by denasqu View Post
                  I watched Sugar: The Bitter Truth the other night and remember a part about how all the insulin and sugar that gets trapped in our bloodstream during a SAD raises blood pressure just by it's volume.
                  I had low blood pressure when my BMI was 34. I'd eaten low sugar for about 14 years.

                  My blood pressure started to go up as I lost weight. It's back at the same level now (around 110/65) with BMI 28.something. I'm not prepared to eat sugar just to raise my blood pressure.
                  F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                  • #10
                    A lot of people begin some kind of exercise when they start PB. I've always heard that exercise is the best way to naturally lower blood pressure so maybe that has something to do with it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tim_1522 View Post
                      Sadly, so far I have not seen that Primal Diet (or Fitness) has really helped my HBP. This is just n=1 stuff and I've really only been doing it about a year (and in that time I've been a little bit off and on) AND I have family history with HBP, so it may just be something for me that no amount diet/weight control/exercise/lifestyle/etc. is going to help me...
                      Familial hypertension has everthing to do with shared habits and, IMO, nothing whatsoever to do with genetics. I'd surmise that your family with HBP are also not eating a very healthy diet or doing other aspects of PB (exercise, sleep, etc.).

                      Congrats on re-focusing on PB in 2012 -- I think your being "a bit off and on" is why you're not seeing the BP results you want. Not sure what your height is, but you've lost just under 5% of your starting weight. I suspect that when you get down to about 200#, you'll see the BP numbers finally start to budge, with more movement after that. Really think about all aspects of the PB and whether you need to revisit how much in line with them you are.

                      For me, at 6'2" and SW of 250#, I didn't see any positive changes in BP until I got down to 225#, and even then I hit a weight plateau and didn't see the BP go down for about 3 months. In the meantime, though, I was redistributing my weight, as attested to losing 5" around the gut and all my pants no longer fitting. I was sleeping better and tweaking the little things. Just keep at it, it will come around.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by whitebear View Post
                        A lot of people begin some kind of exercise when they start PB. I've always heard that exercise is the best way to naturally lower blood pressure so maybe that has something to do with it.
                        Yes I agree that is a big factor.
                        F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Finnegans Wake View Post
                          Familial hypertension has everthing to do with shared habits and, IMO, nothing whatsoever to do with genetics. I'd surmise that your family with HBP are also not eating a very healthy diet or doing other aspects of PB (exercise, sleep, etc.).
                          Maybe, maybe not...but I'd say frankly/honestly that the members of my family "run the gamut" from the atrociously unhealthy to CW types to middle of the road types to even more strict than I am types. Consistently (at least the males) there's HBP every single time. This include my older brother who's 24 years in the Navy, eats very well, has to hit both fitness, endurance and body weight numbers, etc. and has *always* fought with HBP. So, I while I think that it's likely that genetics gets overplayed -- I don't think it contributes nothing (as you put it) to the equation.
                          Congrats on re-focusing on PB in 2012 -- I think your being "a bit off and on" is why you're not seeing the BP results you want. Not sure what your height is, but you've lost just under 5% of your starting weight. I suspect that when you get down to about 200#, you'll see the BP numbers finally start to budge, with more movement after that. Really think about all aspects of the PB and whether you need to revisit how much in line with them you are.
                          Well, you're right, I haven't lost much weight on PB neither so far in 2012 nor during the time I was really working it in 2011. Honestly, I lost much more weight on CW regiments of caloric deficits and tons and tons of running. I went from 250 to 200 from (roughly) April 2010 - November 2010. Then bumped around from 200-210 as I stopped running as much during the Winter.

                          In early 2011, I started running again, but was seeing no weight loss. This lead me to trying the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferris -- while also running a lot. I got as low as 195 (still didn't see any help with BP) on Slow Carb before the constant consumption of beans made me lose it and then I kind of reverted to more of a "CW" type diet (though I didn't do much grains in that time) before wandering over here in June/July of 2011. From there you can see my progress (or lack thereof) as I tried to adopt the ways of PB. And that includes the "other stuff" like sunlight and sleep and PBF...not just diet. BTW, i'm 5'11 / 71 inches / 130 cm. I thought it was in my Progress Thread which you seem to have looked at based on your observations.

                          I *am* trying to be patient with this stuff but I can't seem to shake the inescapable conclusion that I've not lost much weight on PB, I've not seen any improvements on HBP on PB (although I'm not entirely convinced that I should be expecting that) and so forth along with the fact that...you know, I lost 50 lbs on CW. Maybe this Primal stuff doesn't work as well as people say it does...

                          I'll cop to not being very good at being Primal in the end of 2011, but you know what? If I was following CW, then what I was doing in that time frame was no good by that standard, either. At this point, I think I'm being *very* compliant to Primal (all aspects not just diet) and the only way I could be more so would be to stress about every little detail to the point where I'd be doing more harm in the stress/sleep/cortisol areas that I would doing good in the areas I'd potentially be improving.

                          I'm curious as to where you think I "need to revisit how much in line with them you are."
                          Re-focusing on the Primal Lifestyle in 2012!

                          Starting: 221.0lb, 29.5% BF (1/9/2012)
                          Latest: 208.9, 26.1% BF (3/19/2012)

                          http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread35679.html

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                          • #14
                            Tim, poor choice of words to say genetics has nothing to do with hypertension. As you put it, I think it does get overplayed.

                            Sorry, I didn't read your progress thread; it sounds like you're really dedicated to PB now, so I would just encourage you to keep up the good work. The rates of weight loss and other health changes most certainly do vary from person to person. Like I said, my BP went down after about 3 months on a weight plateau. What would explain that? Not weight loss per se, although weight loss may be a good overall indicator of progress for someone who needs to drop some pounds.

                            That said, weight loss alone isn't the sole factor in hypertension. You may lose more weight in a CW but be less healthy, say by caloric restriction (which does not appear to work long-term, however), but what if that includes eating processed foods, foods full of vegetable oils? A lot of CW diet stuff is chock full of them, and that's a great way to mess with your endothelium. Think of sugar and vegetable oil as being like fiberglass and frying grease coursing through your arteries: the arterial walls get all messed up, the mechanism by which fats are transported to cells is disrupted, the insulin response is disrupted, inflammation occurs. All this can happen in skinny people, too.

                            You want to become healthy inside and out. Sometimes it takes time. Your body is reversing years of abuse, so be patient with it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tim_1522 View Post
                              I'm curious as to where you think I "need to revisit how much in line with them you are."
                              How is your stress level? Do you have a high stress job? What about your home life? Also, again how is your sleep? Do you snore? This could be a sign you aren't getting enough oxygen causing you to not get a good quality of sleep. Are you getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night? Are you spending some time finding meaning in your life and reconnecting with nature? These are the 2 biggest things besides diet/exercise that have an effect on blood pressure.

                              Try adding some meditation to your life (daily 3 min), make sure you are getting enough play time.. Get out of a bad relationship if you are in it (be your job or your family life). Try some deep breathing exercises. Get a sleep study done.

                              How is your thyroid? How is your gut health? These can also be adding stress to your body.

                              You need a full thyroid panel including t3/t4. you might want to try iodine supplementation. Try a consult with Chris Kresser.... he might have more ideas.
                              Last edited by activia; 03-07-2012, 02:26 PM.
                              Primal since March 2011

                              Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

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