I haven’t done the fasting thing yet. That’s on my list of things to try to see if they help, but I haven’t really felt ready to do them yet. Maybe in the new year.
My suggestion would be to get an automatic blood pressure machine and put it beside your bed. Get an app that tracks your vital signs and take your BP when you get up and when you go to bed. It will become such a regular thing for you that you stop getting nervous about it and you’ll get accurate BP readings over time that you can share with your doctor. A trend of readings is MUCH more valuable than any single, isolated reading.
Also, salt makes us retain water, which increases our blood pressure. So if you’re trying to drop your BP trying eating less salt and see how that affects you. You want to get your BP tested under normal conditions, so don’t exercise, or restrict your fluid intake, or do anything else to try and artificially change it. Find out what it actually is, over time, so you can have an accurate picture of the tension on your vessel walls.
I have not seen anything about keto helping or hurting blood pressure (but a section to delve into it sounds good).
Biggest items I have come across in terms of blood pressure are excess body fat and alcohol consumption. Those two really seem to move the needle.
Zero out the alcohol consumption for 2 or 3 weeks and the blood pressure comes down.
Do some EF and drop 5% of your body weight in 2 or 3 weeks - same outcome.
Do both at the same time and you can go from 160s/110s down to normal (without drugs).
Replying to myself here - I would never start a blood pressure drug unless I had proved that zero alcohol and a drop in body weight did nothing (i.e. then there might be a real problem that needs something stronger in terms of a fix).
There’s actually a very good systematic review out on the effects of vitamin K on arterial calcification. You can read the whole thing here but it’s a really heavy read if you don’t have a background in medicine and statistical analysis. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313955
However, they have a very readable summary of their findings in the paper. They wrote:
What is already known on this subject?
► Vitamin K is essential for the activation of proteins that
help maintain vascular health, including preventing vascular
calcification and stiffness.
► Vascular stiffness and calcification are associated with
cardiovascular risk and may be exacerbated in subclinical
vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K supplementation may improve
markers of vascular health and long-term cardiovascular risk.
What might this study add?
► The existing clinical trial data describing the effect of vitamin
K supplementation on vascular health and serum markers of
vitamin K deficiency is summarised.
► The findings are encouraging and justify ongoing study of
vitamin K supplementation to improve cardiovascular risk.
How might this impact on clinical practice?
► Assessment of vitamin K status and offering supplementation
has the potential to be a cheap and safe intervention to
improve vascular health and cardiovascular risk.
Link does not work for me.
Interesting. I usually have a glass of red at night, so it might be something to cut out and see what happens. What research or references do you have for alcohol causing high blood pressure? Just curious, not judging, I’d like to read more about it. Alcohol is actually a (short term) vasodilator, so it drops blood pressure when you drink it.
You wrote to do some ‘EF’ - does that mean ‘extended fasting’? I think I’m going to start trying some fasting in the new year. The problem is I’m fairly lean and I can’t get enough energy through the day from my body fat, so I might try going on a ‘fat fast’ and just have a bit of cheese. That feels do-able.
Oh, that’s odd, It’s sci-hub, it usually works around the world.
The original article is here, but it’s behind a paywall: https://heart.bmj.com/content/early/2018/12/04/heartjnl-2018-313955
If you want to share your email I’ll happily send you the pdf. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you like. That’s my spam catcher email, but if you send me an email make the subject ‘HEY MARC’ and I’ll find it.
Ha! The paywall (or lack thereof) link worked!
Good! See if you can download the entire article.
Sorry, no papers (but google alcohol and blood pressure and you get lots of results).
Doctor in the family and some unusually high readings in my college years around partying but much lower numbers around finals (when I got serious - knocking off any drinking and lowering stress). Since the 1980’s I’ve always kind of monitoried the correlation. Then, blood pressure machine at home and regular usage confirmed it.
Basically, any consumption put (it seemed - I am not the doctor) the body in a defensive mode with just a bit higher BP (sometimes much higher with some unusual “partying” - either due to good or bad times). Wouldn’t come down without some “clean living” - but, always did.
I spoke too soon - still wants $37.
I don’t know, offhand, any studies on this, but also don’t know if the effect is in doubt, really. For myself and many of my co-workers, big boozers all, it’s monolithically true - drinking has meant higher blood pressure, regardless of weight.
Send me an email, I’ll return the pdf.
I found this BP study that might be of interest to anyone with above normal BP.
Overall Study Site
75 years of age results (includes frailty measures)
Study formulary (which meds of which types)
My takeaways (I’m 65 yo)
- Being fit remains important to me and my lovely wife (fitness is beneficial is probably obvious to some but maybe not all, wife and I go to the gym 5+ /week)
- Meds to lower BP lower overall risks and getting BP in the 120s range or lower is better than 130+ for risk (so if I can’t get my BP below let’s say 123 Systolic without meds I might stay on meds).
- intensive treatment comes with its own other risks
They are going to release results in the future related to:
- SPRINT-MIND Cognitive and brain MRI outcomes
- Health related quality of life
- Adverse events (nursing home placement),
- safety (falls, orthostasis), cost analysis
I am interested in all of the above. Also, I’m not expert in reading these reports. So your analysis may be different and I would love to hear what that might be.
My BP varies from an all-time low of 111/68 (since going Keto) to more typically around 130/88 or so (I’m about to turn 60). This is on meds. Off one of my meds, I quickly build to 160/100 or so.
Not sure about what you saying regarding potassium. The sites/videos I review said Keto dieters requires 4,700mg/day of potassium, and even with sparing from my meds, I doubt I’m in danger to overloading on potassium (am I??). Iodine only adds a tiny amount of potassium: 7.50mg of potassium iodide per 2 drops at 5%. I never used more than that, which is 12.5mg of overall iodine/iodide. (Lugol’s solution). Supposedly iodine is to be taken with supporting Selenium/Vit C etc, and the danger is supposed to be with Selenium since some of us hold onto it, and it can be dangerous in that case.
All I know from my limited experimenting is that iodine over the RDA makes my heart thump for a while. Thats enough to make me cautious. I was hoping to find others here who have tried both Keto diet and iodine, and have BP issues…maybe a long shot.
Blood pressure average: 160’s/100+. Twenty lb weight loss. BP this morning: 138/86. Determining whether I could lower my BP through weight loss alone was/is my number one reason for going Keto. So far so good.
I obviously can’t/won’t offer specific medical advice for your situation, I hope it didn’t sound like I was trying to. My only point about the potassium is that it is very important that we don’t let it get too high because it’s very dangerous for our hearts. If you’re taking a potassium sparing medication and you’re taking in extra sources of potassium then you really should be having your potassium levels checked regularly. Don’t risk it. The fact that you’re getting palpitations when you’re taking iodine is something to be cautious about.
I think it’s a good idea to keep checking in with your GP. Have them take bloods regularly if you’re doing some dietary hacking. I think it’s really good to be taking responsibility for your health and trying different things, but having a good GP who knows what you’re doing and is able to watch out for dangers you might not be aware of is invaluable. You wouldn’t go sky diving on your own without an instructor, I kind of feel the same way about working in conjunction with a good GP (and I’m doing my PhD in medicine right now). Even if you know a lot, it’s helpful to have someone who can do some basic tests, read up on the side effects and interactions of your meds and write the scripts for your meds as they change.
As the ‘dudes’ say: Change your doctor, or change your doctor. Keep looking for a good one who encourages and supports your exploration.
But yeah, be careful with your potassium levels.
The SPRINT study was quite famous and it lead to physicians aiming to aggressively reduce their patients systolic BP’s to below 120. It seems from this study that that is a reasonable goal. We’ve long held that hypertension is hard on our hearts, brains and kidneys and this studied showed so conclusively that this was true that they actually stopped the study because they felt it was unethical to withhold what they called the ‘aggressive’ treatment from those who weren’t getting it.
The basic rule of thumb for BP is the lowest you can go without getting dizzy is the best BP to have. Lot’s of lean women walk around every day with systolic blood pressures under 100 and they’re just fine.
Personally, if I can get into the low 120’s I’ll be happy with that.
I think my New Year’s resolution is to start doing some intermittent fasting and to stop all alcohol and see how that goes.
That was my number one reason too. However, just ‘normal’ keto hasn’t been enough for me. As I posted to James, I’m going to be trying IF and stopping all alcohol. We’ll see how that goes!