Reader David rings in with some interesting blood pressure experiences on paleo. Good weight loss, but very high BP, but looks like he may have found a solution that worked in just a few days.
I am 6' even, 47 year old, ex-infantry (so my fair share of abused joints, and strongly aware of what the body can do when in condition). I've been out for about 10 years and not been working out enough, in part because it just hurt.
We eat well and have taken some herbal supplements for years, with proven effect - they have stopped my migraines. Several years ago we ditched wheat for a while to address some health issues with the kids, but once they seemed to be under control, we slid back.
About 9 months ago I hit about 195 lbs and seemed to be racing to 200, whereas my fighting weight had been about 155. Something had to change. Coincidentally, a friend of mine got me interested in glutathione and after doing some research I was intrigued. Very quickly I was able to run every day with minimal knee pain (now I am doing about 6-8 km most days, in comfort and good wind). Shortly after that initial success with the joint pain, I figured I had to dump weight too and decided to drop what grains I still had in my diet. As of today, I have lost over 30 lbs and am approaching my old fighting weight - and I feel stronger than I have for years.
So several months into this process I was feeling great, losing weight, joints were more comfortable and so on. But, I was a bit concerned with cardiovascular progress.
My resting pulse has always been on the low side and is now 46 to 56 bpm, which is back down to where it was in my 20's. BP was high though and just wouldn't come down. Yes, my work can be very high stress, and yes, I often have to go with far too little sleep, but I figured that between exercise and losing weight my BP should drop. If anything it seemed to be creeping up. I eliminated as much sodium from my diet as I could (and already ate almost no processed foods and rarely ate in restaurants even when on the road). Then I started pigging out on high potassium items, especially dried apricots and small potatoes (lots of skin for the amount of the potato itself). No change. Four days ago I hit 160/98 and was not happy. I figured I needed to do something a little more aggressive to change the sodium/potassium balance in my body and bought a potassium supplement at 50mg per day. This morning I went to the mall to get a few things. There are two stores in that mall with BP machines, so I thought I would check to see if there was any effect. The first one gave me readings of 130/81 then 123/74 five minutes later. I was amazed. I also know that this machine tends to read a bit low compared to the other one, so I figured I had better go see what it would show. 124/79. That indicates the readings were real and not just one machine needing to be calibrated.
In four days I dropped over 30 points systolic and about 20 points diastolic. My hypothesis in starting the potassium supplement was that my sodium/potassium balance was off and that for some reason, my body was holding that balance even as I lowered sodium intake and increased potassium intake. So I figured I needed to do something to surge the potassium level in my body.
I would like to know what thoughts your readership has on this. My intent at the moment is to stay with the potassium supplementation until I hit my goal of 110/70, then start weaning off the supplement to see if the body holds the BP or not. Ideally, I will hold at 110/70 without the supplement and with eating properly. In other words, I hope my body establishes a new potassium/sodium balance facilitating normal BP.
Wow, that's quite a normalization in a very short time. Back in 2007 when I embarked on my own journey, one of the things that really gave me pause was my BP, which was consistently 140-150 / 90-100, sometimes higher, rarely lower than 140/90. At first I didn't alter diet much, just twice per week to the gym for 30 minutes, but intense resistance training. I have a measuring device that stores your readings and I was able to plot them on a chart as my BP readings began to come down immediately and within only a couple of weeks I was typically in the 130s / 80s, and that's about what it seems to be most of the time now.
How about you? Anyone have any insights for Dave?