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Thread: Managing low BP with Primal eating? page 3

  1. #21
    PHaselow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BestBetter View Post
    I've had BP that was on the lowish end of normal for most of my life. When I started eating paleo/primal, it dropped signifiantly lower (to 90/60 or lower) to the point it started causing problems like lightheadedness and dizzyness when standing up and bending down, and my fatigue also got significantly worse, which I think is connected with the lower BP. So, I began my epic quest to understand how to raise my BP, and here is what I've learned/experimented with:

    1) Salt rarely increases BP, so you could try adding more salt to your diet, but likely this won't make a difference. On a similar note, being dehydrated will probably cause BP to go lower, and drinking more liquids will raise BP a little, but this is a temporary fix (unless you are chronically dehydrated).

    2) Having a little too much/not enough blood can cause higher/lower BP. My husband was told by his doctor that he has 1/2 a liter too much blood, which is why his BP tends to be on the higher end of normal. From what I've read, this is not a factor that can be changed.

    3) Vasodilation (when blood vessels become bigger) causes lower BP, and vasorestriction (when blood vessels shrink) causes higher BP. If BP is too low, it's better to focus on reducing/eliminations things that cause vasodilation (such as alcohol) and try to increase things that cause vasorestriction. This will likely provide temporary relief as blood vessels are constantly expanding or restricting depending on many factors.

    4) Licorice can raise BP. Not the fake anise-flavored candy that's called 'licorice', but actual licorice, which is hard, black, and shiny, and does not contain any other ingredients. I was able to find this very easily in Italy, but in the U.S. I've only seen it available on Amazon, and it's pretty expensive. Alternatively, you could buy licorice root, and boil it for 20 minutes to make a tea, and consume that a few times a day. I took licorice daily over the summer, and there was a good increase in my BP (up to 110/70, on average) after a few weeks.

    5) HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE. One of the major symptoms of this is low blood pressure. Other symptoms include digestive upset (like diarrhea, constipation, and general IBS-type symptoms, fatigue, and headaches after consuming wine, beer, or other fermented foods and drinks. I'm suspicious that this is ultimately the cause of my low BP, because when I went paleo, I dramatically increased my intake of histamine containing/releasing foods and drinks (like kombucha and ferments and certain veggies and cured meats).
    All so interesting! I feel a lot better today, but I had an episode in the middle of the night last night where I felt very shaky and 'off'. I drank half caf coffee this morning and used salt on all my meals. Not sure if that helped, or if it is the fact my cold is getting a bit better. I've stayed hydrated, but drinking no more than I normally do.

    I have not increased consumption of histamine containing/releasing foods (at least what you list) since going Primal. I do have chronic swings between loose stools and constipation, fatigue and headaches from wine for sure. I will look at this further.

    off to find some licorice. I know I can find the tea bags, but not sure if I should use those or buy chunks of real licorice to steep?

    thank you. Very helpful. I wish candy licorice worked. I love black licorice and would enjoy an excuse it eat it again. I'm gluten free, so they are out.

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  2. #22
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    I eat way more dark chocolate (60-99%) than I care to admit. I wonder if I'm causing problems?

    It is one of those histamine releasing foods. Other than that, I don't eat a lot of any on the list except for meat. I've eaten so much more meat in the past 3 months than I've ever eaten in my life. So Paleo lowers BP and I cannot afford to have lower BP. What to do? What to do?

    Licorice tea and caffeinated coffee. That's the plan!

    Age 48
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    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
    Henri Frederic Amiel

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    I have not increased consumption of histamine containing/releasing foods (at least what you list) since going Primal. I do have chronic swings between loose stools and constipation, fatigue and headaches from wine for sure. I will look at this further.

    off to find some licorice. I know I can find the tea bags, but not sure if I should use those or buy chunks of real licorice to steep?
    Histamine intolerance is a pretty easy thing to research online, but here are a few links to get started:

    Histamine intolerance

    The Food List - Histamine Intolerance

    As for the licorice, I used the concentrated form, so I'm not sure if the tea bags are better than boiling the actual root (though my guess is that it would probably be more effective to boil the root, but this will have to be your n=1 experiment!)

    I found a link to a site that is selling one of the brands of 100% licorice I was using in Italy, in case you want to check it out.

    AMARELLI Pure Licorice Candy Spezzata 1.4 oz

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    What to do? What to do?
    You know, every once in a while I get these totally hair-pulling-out moments where I realize that while everyone else is seeing magical health improvements from primal, it somehow backfired for me and gave me 10x more problems than I started with! Eating primal, my IBS got significantly worse, my BP dropped like a stone, my fatigue got out of control, my depression and mood fluctuations and anxiety got worse, my metabolism tanked, my sensitivity to cold worsened...the "healthier" I ate, the worse I got!

    Anyway, it's all been a lesson that what's good for some people isn't for others. I'm finally getting out of the quagmire, mainly by doing the opposite of what I used to think was healthy (which has been the biggest kicker!).

    Sometimes we have to let go of the philosophy we want to believe in, because reality just doesn't match up with our expectations. So, don't give up if licorice or caffeine, or any of the other things aren't the magic bullet, and don't be afraid to tinker around with things; you will figure it out if you don't give up.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BestBetter View Post
    You know, every once in a while I get these totally hair-pulling-out moments where I realize that while everyone else is seeing magical health improvements from primal, it somehow backfired for me and gave me 10x more problems than I started with! Eating primal, my IBS got significantly worse, my BP dropped like a stone, my fatigue got out of control, my depression and mood fluctuations and anxiety got worse, my metabolism tanked, my sensitivity to cold worsened...the "healthier" I ate, the worse I got!

    Anyway, it's all been a lesson that what's good for some people isn't for others. I'm finally getting out of the quagmire, mainly by doing the opposite of what I used to think was healthy (which has been the biggest kicker!).

    Sometimes we have to let go of the philosophy we want to believe in, because reality just doesn't match up with our expectations. So, don't give up if licorice or caffeine, or any of the other things aren't the magic bullet, and don't be afraid to tinker around with things; you will figure it out if you don't give up.
    So true! I'm not about to start eating fast food and Ho-Hos, but I have gotten to the point where I see I need to find what works for me within a healthy paradigm. PB is definitely not 1 size fits all.

    ~Pam

    Age 48
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    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
    Henri Frederic Amiel

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    I need to raise this BP now that I am feeling symptomatic.

    I appreciate any insight or experience. What I'd love to do is check my pressure various times of the day, but that is a pain without a home device.
    My BP went from 160/100 to 110/80. I found that I needed to significantly increase my salt consumption.

    Edit: To echo other posts, my sensitivity to cold was non-existent. Now I definitely notice if I am not eating enough or it's a cold day with cold fingertips.
    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.

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    Seems that drinking a bit of caffeine in the morning (1/4 caff) and getting over my cold is helping immensely. I wish I had a home monitor to see if my pressures were back up to the 90/60 range where I am asymptomatic.

    Back to the MD on Wednesday for a different issue, so I'll be curious to see what BP is that day.

    From what I've been reading, low BP (even with symptoms) isn't something I should freak out about unless it is accompanied by low heart rate? My heart rate is in the 50s even when I feel shitty. As long as I'm not passing out or getting confused I am going to assume I'm getting enough blood and oxygen to my important parts.

    Age 48
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    Henri Frederic Amiel

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    Seems that drinking a bit of caffeine in the morning (1/4 caff) and getting over my cold is helping immensely. I wish I had a home monitor to see if my pressures were back up to the 90/60 range where I am asymptomatic.

    Back to the MD on Wednesday for a different issue, so I'll be curious to see what BP is that day.

    From what I've been reading, low BP (even with symptoms) isn't something I should freak out about unless it is accompanied by low heart rate? My heart rate is in the 50s even when I feel shitty. As long as I'm not passing out or getting confused I am going to assume I'm getting enough blood and oxygen to my important parts.
    I'm not a medical professional, but heart rate in the 50s seems incredibly low.

    My understanding of BP is that it's highly individualistic (to a degree) so that certain numbers for one person could be causing problems, while for another person, those same numbers can be totally fine. For me, the 90/60 area starts giving me low BP symptoms that are problematic, while it seems like for you, it's ok. And for me, a pulse in the 50s is definitely not good - when my pulse and BP were in the 50s and 90/60 range, I was super lethargic, cold, had no energy or motivation to move around, and I had the dizziness issue.

    (I have one of those home arm monitors, so I test it constantly to see what the connection is between how I'm feeling and what my BP/pulse is. I highly recommend getting one so you can keep close tabs on how your interventions may be helping or not, since BP can fluctuate frequently throughout the course of the day. The one I have was only about $30, and I think the arm bands ones are more accurate than the finger or wrist monitors).

    Another thing I think has been helping is more walking and general movement, which I improves circulation (as we all know) and possibly contributes toward maintaining my improved BP (which is now averaging between 110/70 to 95/65, often right in the middle; I'm currently taking a break from licorice and starting to consume some more histamine foods to see how I react.)

    I've also noticed that I tend to feel better, have more energy and motivation to move around when my pulse is in the 65-75 range, so I'm trying to keep it a little higher, since it seems to always want to be around 60.

    I can't tell if because I'm feeling better, I'm more motivated to walk and do yoga, or if that movement is contributing to me feeling better (life is full of these chicken and egg situations). I've not read anything about more movement improving low BP (almost everything I seem to come across is focused on high BP), but I do know that the lower my BP is, the more difficult it is to incorporate a lot of movement into my day.
    Last edited by BestBetter; 11-11-2012 at 10:54 AM.

  9. #29
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    Are home BP monitors accurate or at least in the ball park?

    Tomorrow I am going first thing to do my fasting glucose. That will also help rule in/rule out problems.

    I question adrenal fatigue (term tossed around too much) because of stress in my life and perimenopause. So many things to check out.

    Age 48
    Start date: 7-5-12
    5'3"
    121lbs
    GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
    Henri Frederic Amiel

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHaselow View Post
    Are home BP monitors accurate or at least in the ball park?

    Tomorrow I am going first thing to do my fasting glucose. That will also help rule in/rule out problems.

    I question adrenal fatigue (term tossed around too much) because of stress in my life and perimenopause. So many things to check out.
    Low BP can be a symptom of adrenal issues. Adrenal Fatigue and Blood Pressure - DrLamŽ - Body. Mind. NutritionŽ. I also had low BP (90/65) when I was diagnosed with, and under treated for, thyroid disease.

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