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Thread: Low Carb Diet - Increased Blood Viscosity? page

  1. #1
    magicmerl's Avatar
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    Low Carb Diet - Increased Blood Viscosity?

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    I watched a video a while back by Dr MacDougall (he of the 'plant based diet' mantra), and one of the things he mentioned as an arguement in favour of eating carbohydrates instead of fat was that your blood run swiftly when you are eating carbs, and is sluggish and lethargic when eating a fat based cue. I tried digging further but only found rodent studies.

    Cue my personal experience.

    I was donating plasma this morning (like a blood donation, they draw off your blood, but then they centrifuge it and siphon off the blood plasma and then pump the red blood cells back into me). The machine errored on 3 of the 4 cycles because it timed out returning my blood cells to me. Basically, my blood was too viscous for the machine to return it all to me within the timeframe allotted by the machine settings. The nurses had never seen this before.

    Do people have any explanations for this? From what I can tell, increased blood viscosity is a known side effect of a high fat diet, but the exact mechanism is unclear (one site I read posited that it was due to excess serum triglycerides cloating the surface of the red blood cells, which slowed them down and made them stick to each other, although this was speculation only).

    Anyway, just thought that I would throw it out there. I'm wondering if I should intentionally eat more tubers (carbs).
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
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    jtrain_36's Avatar
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    Nothing to add in regards to scientific reasoning behind it, but in my personal experience having just given blood while in a state of ketosis the rate at which I gave blood was definitely diminished even from when I was still paleo without being ketogenic.

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    You want thin blood eat some salmon every day.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    Omni's Avatar
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    I just did a quick search, first thing that popped up:
    Dietary Protein May Affect Acute Changes in Blood Pressure during High Stress Situations

    It suggests that a high protein intake may be the cause of high blood viscosity on a high fat diet in atleast one study as the HF diet had twice as much protein as the HC diet.
    Provided you get adequate omega 3 the HF diet shouldn't be an issue with viscosity IMO.

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    Drumroll's Avatar
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    I tend to think that unless you have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease in your family, you shouldn't even be worried about your blood viscosity.

    As Omni and sbhikes have both said though, blood viscosity can be helped by maintaining good dietary levels of omega-3 in the diet.

    Also, cinnamon is a potent blood thinner, so you could take that.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could look into vasodilators such as ginger, yerba mate, turmeric, ginseng, and other herbs and spices that widen the blood vessels. This will obviously aid blood's ability to travel speedily through the body.

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    I'm serious about the salmon. I was eating a can of salmon every day for a while there. I went for a hike on an overgrown trail and blood was streaming out of small scratches on my arms. Just running out super thin in little rivulets. If you've ever hiked with an old man who takes aspirin, it was just like that. Super thin, super runny, just flowing in rivulets down my elbows. It kind of shocked me as normally my blood is quite thick and viscous.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    cori93437's Avatar
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    I used to donate plasma regularly ... back when I was eating plenty of 'healthy whole grains" and was definitely NOT low carb.
    It was the process there they took the blood out, filtered it, and pumped it back into the other arm sort of simultaneously.
    ("plasmapheresis: plasma filtration: Two venous lines are used. The plasma is filtered using standard hemodialysis equipment. This continuous process requires that less than 100 ml of blood be outside the body at one time")
    I always donated plasma because my blood-type is pretty useless for whole blood donation.

    I had the same issue with Errors every single time I donated... It was due to my lower blood pressure not "viscosity".
    I've always had blood pressure on the low side.

    Not sure if that is how they did yours, but that is my experience.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche
    And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.


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    magicmerl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cori93437 View Post
    I had the same issue with Errors every single time I donated... It was due to my lower blood pressure not "viscosity".
    I've always had blood pressure on the low side.

    Not sure if that is how they did yours, but that is my experience.
    Yeah, this wasn't a low blood pressure error (which happens when they are drawing the blood out and your blood pressure drops). It was when the blood platelets was being pumped back in. My blood pressure wasn't too high (it stayed on the max flow rate, where it usually lowers the rate if there's too much pressure). It just took so long that the monitor thought that there was an error. Basically, it took about 10 seconds longer than the monitor thought to pump my platelets back into me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drumroll View Post
    I tend to think that unless you have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease in your family, you shouldn't even be worried about your blood viscosity.

    As Omni and sbhikes have both said though, blood viscosity can be helped by maintaining good dietary levels of omega-3 in the diet.

    Also, cinnamon is a potent blood thinner, so you could take that.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, you could look into vasodilators such as ginger, yerba mate, turmeric, ginseng, and other herbs and spices that widen the blood vessels. This will obviously aid blood's ability to travel speedily through the body.
    The funny thing is that my blood pressure pre-primal was 160/100, and right now it's 110/80. So it's not as simple as high blood pressure.

    I am going to resurrect this recipe and try it out again, however. And I will go for more fish (something we have been intentionally doing as a family for about a month).
    Last edited by magicmerl; 10-02-2012 at 03:41 PM.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

  9. #9
    Annlee's Avatar
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    Makes no sense if you are low carb for the problem to be all those triglycerides. Unless you have been also running low calorie and thus are supplying your energy needs with trigs out of your own fat stores, trigs in the blood are the result of carbs in the diet. They are not at all correlated with with dietary fat, which is transported via chylomicrons.

  10. #10
    Neckhammer's Avatar
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    Well I haven't looked at any studies in this regard but do you for some reason think this is a negative health factor? If so, why? To me it would seem that if your vascular elasticity (BP) is good and running consistent with your blood viscosity I wouldn't F with things. The more I know the more questions I have. At some points I just decide that "innate intelligence" knows what its doing.

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