How’s Your Blood Pressure?

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?

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  1. John FitzGibbon on September 30, 2009 at 14:35

    so the interesting thing that I see with a lot of these supplements that reduce inflammation, including glutathione, glucosamine etc is that their oral bio-availability is very low. When you take them orally they don't really get into your system, interestingly enough the same can be said about things like quercetin and many other compounds we see in supplements. Now the interesting angle, and again I don't know about this with glutathione, but with glucosamine it helps to disrupt pro inflammatory gut biofilms. I think this is actually an area that is just opening up and needs a lot more research so I say if you have the time look into gut biofilms and their disruption, I think you'll see a lot of links to things we see in a primal or paleo diet.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 09:38

      You are very right about the importance of gut health. I learned about this we my wife used diet to aid our son in overcoming a health challenge several years ago. I saw changes in skin problems in one daughter and behaviour changes in all children. It has been a wonderful thing to have my eyes open for a number of years about diet. It took me years to try a full-on grain-free diet, and I really like it … no matter how much I used to enjoy bread, beer and so on … I simply feel better without. Based on what I have seen I am convinced that ditching processed foods, wheat and corn will get most people a long way towards improved gut health and is well worth the experiment. Unfortunately, most people are not motivated to learn anything about this and so just expect prescriptions and surgery to make it all go away.

      As for bio-availabilty, yes that is an issue. You have to do some personal research to see what is aout there. I use a glutathione supplement designed to be bio-available and have been very satisfied with it.


  2. […] Original post by Free the Animal […]

  3. bjjbryce on September 30, 2009 at 15:37

    Chronic Cardio can lead, in some cases, to inflammation in the vasculature. Inflamed vasculature = stiff vasculature. The stiffer your veins/arteries, the higher your blood pressure. That's why BP is strongly associated with heart disease. High blood pressure is a symptom of stiff arteries, and that stiffness is usually caused by plaques build up.

    Any sugar that could be sneaking it's way into your diet (ketchup, gum, tea w/ honey), or any starchy tubers could also be slightly elevating your insulin levels. Hyperinsulinemia acts on your primary blood pressure regulators: the kidneys. If reducing wheat caused you to lose weight, I think it's fair to say you had a bit of metabolic syndrome. If that's the case, potatoes could also be a problem.

    I'd give it a good several months before making any starchy foods (potatoes, bananas) a part of your normal diet, as even though they may not be inherently dangerous, someone with overactive Beta cells might produce too much insulin in response to them, thus elevating blood pressure again.

    Just some thoughts from an interested lay person.


    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 09:57

      I know about “over exercising” as a contributing factor for many problems. I can't see that 6-8 km runs (about 30 minutes) would be “chronic cardio”. I don't have much interest in pushing beyond this. If anything, my target is 10k in 40 minutes. Note that the target is time bounded and I just want to be as good as i can be for distance in the time.

      As for sugars, my diet is very clean. No ketchup, gum or stuff. Potatoes 1-2 times a week – preferably small and with skins. I don't think there is any indication of insulin issues as my fasting glucose has always been low. As I have progressively cleaned up my diet over the years, it just gets lower.

      The weight reduction has several causes, but can fundamentally be attributed to exercise and diet. Obviously when you exercise, that burns calories, but more imporantly it increases muscle mass, which in itself changes the metabolism. Removing wheat has two main effects from what I can see. (1) That I feel better off it, and notice that I don't digest it well now, suggests that it may not have been a good food for me in the first place. (2) Removing a major food, in terms of proportion of food consumed, that turns to glucose has completely changed hunger for me. I've never been a big eater, and would often forget to eat meals if family wasn't around. Now I deliberately don't bother with a number of meals, and feel fine. In fact, I prefer running in the late afternoon, and prefer doing so on an empty stomach, so often the only real meal of the day is dinner. You've got to think that that has an effect on weight.


  4. Webster Webski on September 30, 2009 at 18:33

    From my personal experience I also think it's very important to have a decent potassium/sodium ratio. What started me on this track was Richard Moore's book “The High Blood Pressure Solution: A Scientifically Proven Program for Preventing Strokes and Heart Disease”. Before I started his program, I was around 140/90 and often 150/100. By normalizing the ratio between 6 and 14 (he recommends at least 4), I was able to drop to 120/80 in about 5 weeks. The way I did it was to basically drop all the salt and go hog on veggies, fruits, and even no-salt bread (sorta high carb version of pseudo-paleo plus bread, but no frankenfoods). The interesting thing is that this relatively high carb diet did help me, but after reading GCBC I decided to cut carbs (fruits, potatoes and such) while staying off salt and frankenfoods altogether. Now my BP is around 115/75, quite often 110/70 in the evenings. Just cutting salt in the past did not do squat for me, so I am very grateful to Moore.
    It's funny that Taubes, whom I hugely respect, thinks that the salt thing is a complete BS and blames high BP solely on insulin and carbs (NOT my personal experience). But Moore actually shows that the low K/Na ratio may (among other bad things) also leads to high insulin and because of that could increase BP in that way AS WELL. Despite these things being interconnected in my view, Taubes is pro-salt and Moore is pro-carbs and anti- saturated fat!
    Personally, I prefer to listen to both of them and keep my carbs low and potassium/sodium ratio and fats high!

    • Richard Nikoley on September 30, 2009 at 19:22

      I have such great readers. I didn't expect this to generate great
      input and several readers have already proven me wrong, which is

  5. Ed on September 30, 2009 at 18:48

    You may be someone who's highly sensitive to sodium. Congratulations on finding something that worked so dramatically for you. Also, maybe your previous positive lifestyle changes finally “caught up” to you and had an additive effect on your blood pressure. It takes months to years to reverse plaques and calcifications in your arteries. Vitamins D and K2 may help you to maintain and even add to your blood pressure improvements–search Richard's site for previous posts on these supplements.
    Best of luck and health to you!

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 08:12

      What Richard posted is only a brief overview of some of the work that I've been doing on my health. He and I have been in correspondance for years and I study his findings with interest. There's lots of evidence about the need for D, and I've been taking 5-10K a day for more time than I can remember. I have supplemented for K2, but do not currently do so. When I make changes I try to isolate them so that I can determine relative effects. New people should definitely check the back file on this site!

  6. Webster Webski on September 30, 2009 at 19:04

    Getting enough potassium when low carbing is tricky though, you need around 4-5 grams a day or more, so standard (50mg) supplements don't do much at all. I don't like avocados too much, they screw-up my (omega-6)/(omega-3) ratio despite being relatively low carb, so I still eat some sweet and regular potatoes, occasional banana, plus fruit. Recently I discovered coconut water from Whole Foods: it has 515 mg of potassium and “only” 11 grams of carbs per 250 ml, so I drink that twice a day with my supplements of vit D, fish oil etc. MUCH better than any other juices that I don't even drink any more because of sugar. So coconuts rule on this front as well (coconut oil is a must!
    I am looking forward to adding some regular cardio workouts and other exercises to the mix and dropping my BP to permanent 110/70 and under.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 08:24

      Question – why is it harder to get enough potassium when low-carbing? I wasn't aware that a high carb diet was also higher in potassium. I don't know enough about potassium yet, so this may be a missing piece of the puzzle. I do eat lots of dried apricots and coconut oil most days, so the potassium supplementation was an experiment to see if I could achieve a change by bumped up the amount of potassium in the system. First evidence is that the experiment did produce a result. Next I need to see if I can manage my way to the target, then if I can maintain it. Part of my working hypothesis is that the body, like many natural systems, tends to equilibria. Once in an equilbrium, it can take a significant change in environment or contributing factors before the system leaves that equilibrium. What I am hoping to achieve is a stable state of low-normal BP that is self-sustaining by just being on my regular diet and level of exercise, without requiring special supplementation. I think it is a worthwhile experiment since once people's BP increases, it tends to stick higher. If I can find a safe way to unstick it, then others can follow the same method. As I get my weight and fitness back to what it was 20 years ago, I see no reason why my BP should also not revert to what it was then. My resting pulse already has, and I eat better now than I did then,

      • Webster Webski on October 2, 2009 at 10:47

        Some low carbers tend to skip veggies and fruits and these contain lots of potassium. While meats, fish and nuts also have decent amounts of potassium, one usually does not eat as much of those, since they are quite calorie dense, containing fat. At the same time it is possible to stay under 100 g of carbs and still get 5 or more grams of potassium. For example I eat very close to Mark's version of paleo (plus lots of fermented no added sugar dairy and cream) (see here ) and that includes lots of veggies. As I mentioned before and unlike Mark, I try not to eat a popular low-carber potassium source – avocado (because of omega6s), but I do eat tubers, like sweet and regular potatoes and one banana a day. Still, it might be a challenge to get to over 5 grams, so that's why I was quite excited to discover the coconut water.As to the time frame, it strongly depends on your history of hypertension. If you have some blood vessel stiffening because of high BP, it might not be fully reversible. According to Richard Moore (not to be confused with Thomas Moore and DASH diet), it might take up to a year or more in some patients to go back to 115/75 or lower. In my case BP started to drop during the very first week, but it took about 5 weeks to get to the “normal” 120/80 and a several months to get to a frequent 110/70 at nighttime…. the good thing is, that once you eliminated all processed foods and BREAD, you can actually afford to eat nice salty things now and then like caviar (lots of omega3s!), lobster, scallops, liver pâtés, smoked wild salmon, canned cod livers, raw cheeses etc and still stay under 1 g of sodium a day.

  7. jmatasic on October 1, 2009 at 08:15

    I might have to try the potassium thing. I've been on blood pressure meds and cholesterol meds since I was 18 (now 36). Quit statins after schooling myself on nutrition and cholesterol and now everything I can. Lost 100 pound on low-carb, now more paleo but not all the way, and cut my bp meds in half. I was up to 3 meds and two on max doses. Granted I was 330-353 (weight varied) and 6'4″ and now range from 250-270. Still would like to get off the BP meds and lose some weight.

    I do crave salt though. I mainly use kosher or sea salt. I wonder if it could be related to iodine deficiency, I'll need to look into that also. I've tried the low salt thing when I was younger. Maybe I should give it a try again, just to rule out being one of the sensitive people.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 08:33

      Good work on reducing your meds. You know the side effects, and that BP only tends to increase over time. At the very least, reducing meds gives you more room to increase them later again, if needed. First thing, I think, is you still need to drop more weight. Even if you're big boned, 250 sounds heavy unless you're working out a lot.

      As for craving salt, you may be more correct than you know. People do become addicted to salt in a sense. They need more and more to get the same taste, and over time their body becomes habituated to it. I never used much salt, but always liked the taste of it. For a long time I was pretty low salt in my cooking and now almost never add sodium or any other salt to a meal, even meat. Try adding various spices and garlic instead.

      I'll try to keep people posted on the potassium experiment. The more I read about potassium/sodium balance and the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that it was an experiment that needed to be tried. Those very early results indicated an effect. Now I need to quantify and control the effect and maintain the result.


  8. Webster Webski on October 1, 2009 at 10:38

    On the question of the so-called “salt sensitivity”, I think it could be qualitatively similar to the omega6/omega3 situation, as was discussed by Stephan here:…. Basically once you overdo “bad” things (sodium or omega6) to a significant degree AND don't have enough “good” things in your diet to begin with (potassium or omega3), you won't notice any changes for the better if you just somewhat cut the “bad” things because you would be sitting on a saturated part of the curve. That was definitely my experience with salt. Back then I also thought that I was “salt insensitive” when cutting salt without addressing potassium did not do anything for me. If one is shooting for the K/Na ratio of 4, you really have to crank up your potassium AND really cut down on your sodium. Cutting just Na alone if your are K deficient may not cut it, so to speak.
    What I find fascinating is that those kind of push-pull, “ratio” relationships might be much more important in many cases than just the absolute numbers. Which would make sense, considering that living systems often use these kind of balancing acts for self-regulation.
    All IMHO.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 08:48

      Hi again Webster,
      Yes, you are touching on the tendency of a system in equilibrium to stay in equilibrium, even as inputs change, until the inputs change enough, at which point the system suddenly and quickly changes to another state of equilbrium. In this particular case, the BP is chronically too high for my liking and has stayed there … no matter what changes I have introduced, and those changes have had excellent impacts in so many other areas of my boy and my health. Forcing a change the potassium/sodium ratio seemed to be a logical next step. As for the push-pull aspect, yes to that as well. For those that don't know, the body uses these two elements to regulate the amount of fluid held in cells. Sodium causes the water to perfuse into cells and potassium to go in the other direction. Obviously the body needs both actions to occur. Other posters have talked about the Na/K ratio, and like other ratios such as the omegas, it tends to be out of whack in our diets. Processed food has a LOT of NaCl, and very little (as I understand it) potassium. Therefore, the typical North American body is awash in sodium, throwing off this critical ratio controlling how the body moves water. I am not a typical North American in what I eat … now. It is entirely possible that 40 years of not so good eating needs time and intervention to undo. As evidence that I could feel the effect of specifically adding potassium, I did notice more frequent urination. That is not necessarily a good thing if a person is not retaining fluid, which I am not. Because of this I am not inclined at this point to further increase the supplementation. If I plateau, or if my BP readings climb again, I will – simply to see what happens,

      • Webster Webski on October 2, 2009 at 11:04

        I'd say in my case the changes in BP were not abrupt, but pretty gradual. Also, the ratio of sodium to potassium regulates sodium-potassium pumps in every cell of the body and through that the amount of intracellular calcium. Calcium excess inside cells leads to blood vessel constriction and increased BP. At least this is ONE of the passageways to high blood pressure according to Moore. Another one is through the increase in insulin (insulin again!) due to the K/Na imbalance.
        As to urination, high BP also causes frequent urination, so I did not notice significant changes all in all, it may even became LESS frequent in my case, despite all the potassium.
        Over the counter potassium supplements are completely insufficient, so you'd have to take prescription K supplements to really increase the amount. At the same time one can just buy pure KCl salts at every supermarket, but I think it's much better to get K from foods.

  9. JLL on October 1, 2009 at 14:42

    Cutting back on salt may work, but it also makes food pretty tasteless… hibiscus tea seems to be an easier way to lower blood pressure:

    I know some people don't like the taste, but I find it alright. The Egyptians drink a lot of it. Better than regular tea for BP.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 08:57

      I was concerned about the same thing, especially meat, when I decided try going salt-free in my cook. I was away from home on business and had an apartment with a nice kitchen, including a great spice rack. So I loaded up with turmeric, chili flakes, rosemary, thyme, paprika, coriander and so on as the fancy took me. I found that I could get by just fine without salt on the meat. I did use regular butter when I wanted to fry mushrooms or have a roast potatoe, and that started to taste quite salty. I do still eat a bit of cheese, and i found that some became almost inedible due to the amount of salt I could taste. I have heard good things about hibiscus tea and will look to include that later after I conclude the potassium experiment. It is important to try and isolate variables. In the end I would rather maintain low-normal BP by eating apricots and drinking tea than by using a potassium supplement.

  10. Steve on October 1, 2009 at 18:13

    Webster, I may be wrong, but I think ordinary table salt is sodium chloride, while sea salt tends to have other mineral salts, such as Magnesium, Potassium, etc, depending on where it is from, so it might be a little more balanced and “better” for you. double check before you take my word though. Another ? I have had since this starting coming up on “Marks Daily Apple” awhile ago. How sure are we of the ideal #'s on b/p? Could different individuals have different ideal? As a nurse on an i.c.u., I have seen little old ladies who M.D.'s are fine if the pressure is 85/50, and they are completely without symptoms, were I would be light headed and falling over with the same pressure. So, should a bigger person be ok with a pressure of 150/90 if they have no symptoms of hypertension? The last few years I seem to have noticed the numbers for ideal blood sugar and all the cholestrol related #'s going down, down, down. Just to sell more meds? Is that the same reason the cut off for the definition of pre-hypertension changed a few years ago? Based on real reasearch, or sales #'s. I am not going to stop my meds yet, but sites like this and Art's and Mark's will make me consider it if I lose the weight and get back in shape and still need the meds.

    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 09:11

      regarding table salt, you are correct about the other minerals being present (compared to table salt which is deliberately processed to only include NaCl, and is then fortified with iodine). However, I think if you look at the ratios of NaCl to other salt, you will still find it predominantly to be NaCl, since that is the predominant salt in the ocean. This does make me ask … so how did paleo man get enough potassium? I suspect that food animals preferentially retain potassium that they ingest. As a wild guess … range fed meat animals are a better source of potassium than corn or grain fed … just like vitamin K2.

      On the size question, I do think that smaller bodies should have lower BP since the heart has to work less hard to push less blood shorter distances, hence the little old ladies. However, higher BP is very hard on some organs, especially the kidneys. As for symptoms of hypertension, there really aren't any, until the damage has been done.

      I do agree that the # have been pushed down over time. I think part of that is a recognition that HBP does cause damage, and that BP tends to increase over time, therefore getting it low and keeping it there is a good thing. However, I think the medical community goes at it all wrong, reaching for the prescription pad. I am convinced that a person eating a good diet and maintaining a decent level of fitness should be able to obtain optimum performance from his body, including the cardiovascular system. Therefore my prefered route to lower BP is to maintain my body better and not abuse it with drugs. I think the challenges for most MDs are twofold – first, they don't know enough about nutrition; second, change by nutrition takes time and it requires dedication by the patient – and how many MDs get that from their patients? In short I fully understand why MDs rely on prescriptions. it just isn't the route I intend to follow,

  11. lauramccallum on October 1, 2009 at 19:23

    I am a glutathione educator, and I am glad to hear about David's positive results. I would like to add a comment about my husband's experience to add to David's experience with glutathione. Glutathione is made by your cells, and you can raise it by taking the building blocks or precursors for it. It is your body's master antioxidant, immune system booster, detoxifier, and energy restorer, all at the cellular level. It can also help reduce inflammation, as David noticed.

    My husband started raising his glutathione three years ago, when his blood pressure was 140/90. He didn't want to take medication, as it just masks the cause. He learned that one of the main causes of high blood pressure is lipid peroxidation, or oxidation of fats, which builds up in our arteries, restricting blood flow, making the heart work harder and the blood pressure to rise.

    Glutathione naturally protects against lipid peroxidation. His blood pressure has gradually come down each year to where it is now, 115/70. He has never taken any medication for his high blood pressure, and now that he has reduced the oxidation of fats in his bloodstream with glutathione, his arteries are clean, and so the blood pressure has normalized.

    Thanks for allowing me to share, and add a piece to the puzzle that we all want to solve for great health!


    • davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 09:29

      restorative change is slow, just as damage is slow to accumulate. Based on what I have read, increasing glutathione levels is highly beneficial, but change must be holistic to obtain sustainable benefit. If you run your car down, you need to do more than change the oil to improve performance – you need to change filters, maintain tire pressure, replace worn parts and so on. If the only change that your husband has introduced in 3 years is glutathione supplementation, then that is an indication of its progressive benefit in his case. I do much suspect that if he got the energy boost that many people find with glutathione, it motivated him to make other positive changes and that in general he may be more health conscious now than before. You've got to be careful about some of what you say. There's a lot of people in this group that know a tremendous amount about biomechanics and biochemistry. Claims like “his arteries are clean” are not capable of substantiation without some kind of before and after benchmarking, such as coronary occlusion. That said, anecdotes are powerful … especially if LOTS of people find similar benefits, even if unquantified.

      Personally I decided to add glutathione to my supplementation after looking into how it affected anergy production in the ATP cycle, and how it supported the elimination of waste. Unlike many supplements, in which the results may take a long time to show and are demonstrated by the absence of problems, I found noticeable benefit to glutathione very quickly, so I'm sold on it.

      However, my only point in mentioning with relation to BP, was to point out some significant changes I had introduced that I had expected would have a direct effect on BP (such as not cooking with salt) or an indirect effect (such as increased exercise and aerobic fitness).


  12. davidmccracken on October 2, 2009 at 10:08

    Thanks to everyone that has repsonded so far. I think I gave everyone a personal reply, because each response was so different. Thanks also to people commenting on BP in other threads that got me to thinking about the sodium/potassium ratio.

    One of the HUGE problems in trying to manage BP is that our medical and scientific community really don't know much at all about why HBP develops. And so people like me are reduced to looking at folk wisdom about herbs that help, anecdotal evidence about some foods and supplements that help, some science such as how sodium levels may be associated with HBP … and not much else.

    You now know that I have made significant changes over the while, with some very visible benefits, yet BP just didn't change. This persistence indicated that I was seeing a resistant equilibrium. I looks like I may have found something that has upset that equilibrium, but need more time to substantiate the results. Then I will need more time to figure out how to maintain a new equilibrium.

    Keep your comments coming, please. You never know where that next clue will come from. Also my experience will differ from others. For example Laura talsk about her husband's steady drop in BP, compared to mine being stubbirn, then dropping significant amount.

    I'll keep Richard posted on changes and conclusions that I reach, and if he's willing we'll post updates when I've got something significant to report.


  13. Laura on October 2, 2009 at 10:24


    Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate what you say. I cannot say that my husband has had his arterial walls occluded, so the comment is not based on a medical test, but is based on the results he achieved and what we know from medical studies to be contributing factors to hypertension, namely, oxidative stress, inflammation, and lipid peroxidation.

    I asked him again this morning about any other changes he has made in the last few years. Before he started raising his glutathione, he actually worked out more regularly and ate more home cooked meals than he does now. The only positive change he has made has been raising his glutathione.

    His blood pressure and pulse have come down, and his sinus infections and allergies have disappeared.

    Now he is not proud of this, but it is the truth. We both believe that glutathione is only part of the puzzle, and adequate diet, exercise, rest, and nutrient and water intake are all just as important if not more so for total health. They just require more ongoing discipline every day on a regular basis, as all of us have found.

    His energy level has not changed, but he never had energy issues. I, on the other hand, was extremely fatigued and would often miss work. Glutathione has given me the energy you speak of, and this has enabled me to get more done during the day. It has changed my life completely, and I probably exercise about the same as I used to, and eat less home cooked meals. Again, not proud, but our lifestyle has changed, and we are getting away with it, if you know what I mean. I took a RealAge test yesterday, and I am 40, but my RealAge is 37. I intend to make some further changes to bring that down even further.

    As you say, each one’s experience will be unique. The one thing that we know is that glutathione is in each and every one of our cells, and it “knows” what is wrong in our bodies and goes about repairing it on a cellular level.

    Since you mention the biochemistry background of many on this forum, you may find this study done in the New England Journal of Medicine interesting:

    This study found in part “low level of activity of red-cell glutathione peroxidase 1 is independently associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events… Furthermore, increasing glutathione peroxidase 1 activity might lower the risk of cardiovascular events. ”

    Raising glutathione also raises this related enzyme, leading to lowered risk of heart attack. Yet nobody knows about it. Except you – you now have an important piece in the puzzle.

    Here’s a study that discusses the relationship between oxidative stress and hypertension:

    Glutathione is also your body’s master antioxidant.

    I am so glad you found a way to raise your glutathione levels, David. There are now 86,000 published articles on pubmed on the subject. As you mention, you need to take it in a form that makes it safely to your cells, or take the precursors for it. Your body makes it in the cells. You can’t just take a glutathione pill and expect it to work.

    Keep up your great work!


  14. donny on October 2, 2009 at 11:27


    “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).”

    Maybe you benefited more from the potassium in these foods then you thought, but it was masked by temporary water retention from the carbs?

  15. Paleo Newbie on October 2, 2009 at 18:40

    Always remember Renal Artery Stenosis…common cause of refractory hypertension in young adults.

  16. Laura on October 2, 2009 at 19:34

    Paleo Newbie:

    Excellent observation. You got me curious, and you know how I love PubMed.

    On a PubMed search for Renal Artery Stenosis, I found this:

    “Endovascular intervention for renal artery stenosis:
    Renovascular diseases are common conditions with important implications on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is present in 1-5% of patients with hypertension (HTN) in the US with the vast majority of caused by atherosclerosis.”

    So the vast majority of cases of RAS are from atherosclerosis. Where does this come from?

    One of the causes is oxidative stress, in which glutathione serves to combat this at a cellular level:

    “Roles of Oxidative Stress and Redox Regulation in Atherosclerosis:
    Oxidative stress is believed to be a cause of aging and cardiovascular disorders. In response to inflam-mation or endothelial cell injury, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is enhanced in vascular cells. These changes contribute to the initiation of atherosclerosis.”

    Always keep doing more research, that’s what I say. There’s more out there, we just have to keep looking. I love that David is always searching for more information. That is the key. Never stop asking the questions and searching for the answers.

    I don’t want to wear anyone out, but check out this study on glutathione that sums it up pretty well:

    This study alone can have a huge impact on your health if you understand the implications of this study and the others that support it’s findings. We are just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to understanding the impact of glutathione on our health.

    Only then can we begin to understand what we need to do to take control of our own health using research to make the wisest decisions.

  17. Steven Herndon on October 2, 2009 at 21:48

    David, Thanks for all your responses! And I realized after I hit enter, no, hypertension often has no symptoms. Not making myself sound like much of a nurse, I know! I hope Richard keeps us up to date on your progress. Hopefully I and many others will find ways to help ourselves, and as a nurse, hopefully I will have opportunities to help others find non-pharmaceutical was to deal with b/p issues. I really have no reason to doubt the research on the problems with high b/p, but my new foray into paleo sure has me questioning everything I have learned to this point. And as much as I would like to be off the meds (avapro, 150 mg q day) no way am I going to just stop. I have seen way to many patients in the i.c.u. with complications for untreated hypertension. I recently had a patient, fairly young, 60’s, no other health problems, die, because he tried for years to treat his b/p with herbal remedies and no doctor visits. Any way, thanks again to you and Richard for bringing this up and I hope to hear much more about this from both of you, and all the commenter’s, in the future.

  18. David on October 4, 2009 at 15:01

    Hi folks,
    with Richard dumping Disqus we have lost the threading. Oh well. OK, so you know how my BP was after 4 days with a potassium supplement. I tend to check my BP whenever I happen to be in a store with a machine. Friday I was up to mid 130’s and I can’t remember the bottom number. Today has been very rushed as I am flying. On some last minute errands I went into a local drug store. Aargh. 148/89 with a pulse of 64. For me that is a high pulse, so maybe I was just showing the effect of being rushed. I took another measure and was down to 141. Not good enough. I went for a stroll in the mall for 5 minutes, even though I did not have time to waste. Next reading was 131. I have used biofeedback for pain control and with migraines back when they used to be a problem. I immediately hit the start button again and concentrated on relaxing. Part way through the test, the machine reset itself … which I had not seen before and came out with a result of 122. Throughout, the bottom number and pulse didn’t move in any consistent direction.

    So what can I conclude? Tentatively, the top number is down slightly. Almost certainly, we can consciously reduce our BP, but I don’t know that it is a persistent effect.

    I’m n the road for a couple of weeks so I’ll check in when I get home.

  19. Debbie on October 5, 2009 at 11:45

    Hmm, so if pill forms are glutathione are largely bio-unavailable where *does* one get it from them? My own BP tends to run about 135/75 but I would like to get the top number lower if I can. My diet is totally grain-free, sugar-free, PUFA-oil-free, low carb, processed food free. I do use some sea salt but hardly to excess, and I supplement with potassium and try to eat some potassium-rich foods. But the BP never seems to come down.

  20. Matt on October 5, 2009 at 13:16

    Awesome article. Thanks for the info guys. I went to the vitamin shop to try to grab a pottasium supplement and found about four different supplements with potassium…potassuim chloride, potassuim gluconate, potassium amino acid complex. Which would you recommend? I noticed that one of them only provided 3% of the RDA…it seems pretty low. Do you think it’s still worth it? Thanks again guys!!!

  21. Laura on October 5, 2009 at 18:25


    I will tell you up front that I am affiliated with a glutathione enhancer, and so I am not the best person to give an unbiased answer to your question.

    I suggest you do some digging. You can find the answer to your question through your own research, which is what I would rather have you do, than to just tell you what I think. My personal opinion isn’t worth much.

    Find out what Dave is taking; if he is noticing the effects, then he is probably taking an effective glutathione enhancer. There are a few good ones available. There are several ways to learn more. Googling how to raise glutathione may produce some good results for you.

    Wikipedia is a good source of information about glutathione, check under the supplements heading and you will find the most thoroughly researched ways of raising glutathione there, along with the published medical studies backing up the information.

    Some supplements can be purchased in a drug store, others through direct marketing companies. All have varying levels of effectiveness and possible side effects.

    This should get you started. If you would like to read a webpage about all of the researched ways to raise glutathione, based on Dr. Jimmy Gutman’s book, “Glutathione – Your Key to Health”, directly ask and I will post the page. But only if you ask. The page will let you know which one I find the most effective and why.

    You can probably get most of this information just from the above searches, though.

    There have been lots of good comments on this forum, and I am really enjoying them. I appreciate everyone on this forum allowing me to share this small piece of the puzzle that I am so passionate about. One thing I have learned is never self promote on the forums. I appreciate your allowing me to be here and post what I have learned so far. We are all learning this together!


  22. Polly on October 9, 2009 at 11:52

    The autism researchers have found that one of the best ways to raise glutathione levels in the mercury poisoned is to improve methylation. The mercury interferes with folic acid and B12. To counter this problem, the children are given special methyl-B12 shots or a methyl-B12 nasal spray (methyl-mate by New Beginnings). After they have been on that for a while, folinic acid or 5-MTHF can be tried (not ordinary folic acid).

    As for potassium supplements, please be careful. Crush pills. You don’t want a pill of potassium sitting on your stomach lining and burning it.

  23. Laura on November 18, 2009 at 18:34


    If you or your readers have experienced one of the myriad benefits of glutathione, we would love to hear from you. I just made my site interactive today and am taking story submissions.

    You can share at the link below:

    Thanks for your contributions!

    On another note, my husband and I just started a new fitness program today- something we did 7 years ago with great success called Body for Life. Day 3 and very sore!

    Looking forward to being fit AND well!

    To your health,

  24. Webster Webski on December 15, 2009 at 06:18

    A must read for those concerned with high blood pressure, Dr. NephroPal is trying to connect the dots between metabolic syndrome and high BP:

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