4

votes

Low Blood Pressure - Can it get too low eating Paleo/low carb?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 17, 2011 at 1:04 AM

I'm probably lucky to report that I have naturally low blood pressure (91/63), but the downside is that I get lightheaded nearly every time I stand up and often when doing simple tasks.

I have recently begun doing Paleo in earnest and am enjoying all of the foods and the healthier lifestyle that comes from eating so healthily, especially in light of the serious issues I had on SAD. I understand Paleo nutrition lowers blood pressure, and I'm wondering whether I should be concerned about my blood pressure going too low the longer I eat this way.

Have any of you lowered your blood pressure too much as a direct result of Paleo nutrition? I would hate to exacerbate my proneness to faintness. It's not fun.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:35 PM

the occasional cocaine binge will certainly do the trick to raise your BP

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on February 21, 2012
at 09:31 AM

I like the recommendation for the "occasional cheat day" to improve health... wtf Brian.

D81880919f3d4b75b6ca8380914137d1

(80)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:33 AM

Melissa, have you tried headstands and kumbhaka (breath retention)? And massively upping your salt intake? B12 shots can also work wonders for lightheadedness, even when the doc says B12 levels are "normal." You may need a B12 shot every two weeks for six months to normalize levels to where they should be.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 24, 2011
at 02:13 PM

Yeah, my blood pressure was so low I had a syncope event, which sucked. Eating more calories and salting my food has helped. I like having salty broth in the morning now.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 24, 2011
at 02:12 PM

Haha, I WISH fat and cholesterol would raise my blood pressure.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:26 PM

@ Cheryl, I agree that electrolyte balance is important for health, and that deficiencies of potassium, magnesium and calcium should be corrected, when present. However, potassium and magnesium supplements do not commonly raise blood pressure, and sometimes lower it. Calcium supplements can raise blood pressure by interfering with blood pressure medicines ( http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calcium-supplements/AN01871 ).

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:29 PM

I really should. Thank you.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:28 PM

Electrolytes - right. Thank you, Cheryl!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:48 AM

@Brian, just an FYI, you have all those downvotes, because its a recognized fact in the Paleosphere that Dietary Fat and Cholesterol are not only GOOD for you, but required for optimal health. and that neither contribute directly to fat or bad blood cholesterol.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 17, 2011
at 09:51 AM

Ed, thank you for posting this. It's very helpful.

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on January 17, 2011
at 05:18 AM

may I edit #2 - it is all electrolytes! You must have a balance; it is possible that Ed's suggestion was based on an assumption that you have too little systemic sodium. What is most important is balance - of all electrolytes, in addition to mineral balance. Monitor - monitor - monitor! Keep track of your BP sitting, standing, and lying down at varying times of day, consistently everyday. Take care when rising from seated or lying position. Good nutrition helps, and supplementation may help more, once you know your trends!

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Thanks, Brian. I actually am adopting a high meat diet and avoiding fruit because of issues I have with sugar, but it's good to know exercise can improve my condition.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Thank you very much, Ed! I really appreciate those links; I recently had my blood pressure tested, but I wasn't aware of that terminology and might not have found that info. on my own.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:27 AM

I have begun to read that blog; it's great. Thanks for the notice, Jamie. I'll check out any posts she wrote on the topic. Upping salt - on it.

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8 Answers

5
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:03 AM

A paleo diet will tend to lower pathologic high blood pressure towards the normal range by reducing one's level of stress (and cortisol), by lowering sodium intake (as processed foods are replaced by real foods), and by supplementing with vitamin D, fish oils, magnesium and potassium.

A healthy diet will not cause a pathologic condition such as orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure), which, as you pointed out, was pre-existing. Here are some things you can do to improve low blood pressure:

1) Always maintain good hydration

2) Increase your sodium intake

3) Supplement with iodine (get your thyroid levels checked if you haven't recently)

4) Additional suggestions are here and here.

Best of luck and health to you!

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 17, 2011
at 09:51 AM

Ed, thank you for posting this. It's very helpful.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:28 PM

Electrolytes - right. Thank you, Cheryl!

2b8c327d1296a96ad64cdadc7dffa72d

on January 17, 2011
at 05:18 AM

may I edit #2 - it is all electrolytes! You must have a balance; it is possible that Ed's suggestion was based on an assumption that you have too little systemic sodium. What is most important is balance - of all electrolytes, in addition to mineral balance. Monitor - monitor - monitor! Keep track of your BP sitting, standing, and lying down at varying times of day, consistently everyday. Take care when rising from seated or lying position. Good nutrition helps, and supplementation may help more, once you know your trends!

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on January 17, 2011
at 06:26 PM

@ Cheryl, I agree that electrolyte balance is important for health, and that deficiencies of potassium, magnesium and calcium should be corrected, when present. However, potassium and magnesium supplements do not commonly raise blood pressure, and sometimes lower it. Calcium supplements can raise blood pressure by interfering with blood pressure medicines ( http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calcium-supplements/AN01871 ).

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Thank you very much, Ed! I really appreciate those links; I recently had my blood pressure tested, but I wasn't aware of that terminology and might not have found that info. on my own.

2
D81880919f3d4b75b6ca8380914137d1

on November 19, 2011
at 04:27 AM

Low blood pressure per se should not cause lightheadedness, and is generally a sign of good health. However, if you get lightheaded when you stand up, or if you are standing for a lengthy period of time, this is called orthostatic hypotension. You can suffer from orthostatic hypotension even if you do not have low blood pressure, and you can have low blood pressure without having orthostatic hypotension. I have low blood pressure (90/60), but I do not suffer from lightheadedness. There are 4 effective strategies you can use to normalize your blood pressure and prevent orthostatic hypotension:

1) Make sure you're getting plenty of high quality salt!

2) Chew licorice root or make licorice root tea.

3) Do headstands and handstands. Five to ten minutes a day upside down benefits the entire circulatory system.

4) Take a deep breath and hold the air in for at least 5 seconds before releasing. Repeat this 3 times daily.

Keep in mind that the lightheadedness might actually be caused by anemia, rather than hypotension. Are you eating enough organ meats? Eat grass-fed beef liver, heart, and kidney. I also highly recommend trying canned cod liver at least once a week. Hope this helps! Please keep me posted on how you are doing.

2
86e631c6164bfdf4221434e2d38125b3

(414)

on January 23, 2011
at 11:53 PM

I also have naturally low blood pressure. 1 I lost a bunch of weight about a year ago the "old-fashioned" way - killing myself at the gym and very low calorie diet. After losing about 20 lbs. I had three scary fainting spells and was lightheaded every time I stood up.

This was very scary, as a 32-year-old with two young kids. I saw a cardiologist and after just about very test he could think of, there was nothing wrong. His advice was to stay hydrated and be careful when I stood up.

In Sept I went Paleo through a program at my gym, and started having dizzy spells again. The nutrition consultant went through my food log and told me to eat more fat. I wasn't sure, but he was right. I upped the fat and the dizziness went away.

Now, if I ever start to get the lightheadedness, I think about what I've been eating, and sure enough, I've been skimping on the fat. I've stared cooking with coconut oil only, which helps.

That turned out longer than I planned, but I hope it helps!

2
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on January 17, 2011
at 01:41 AM

You should read the hunt gather love paleo blog. The author, I believe, had too low of blood pressure. Yes, it can get too low. Have you tried upping salt intake and starches?

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:27 AM

I have begun to read that blog; it's great. Thanks for the notice, Jamie. I'll check out any posts she wrote on the topic. Upping salt - on it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 24, 2011
at 02:13 PM

Yeah, my blood pressure was so low I had a syncope event, which sucked. Eating more calories and salting my food has helped. I like having salty broth in the morning now.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on January 17, 2011
at 04:39 AM

You should get your own blood pressure monitor device and watch your blood pressure closely. No one can guarantee what any diet will or will not do to your blood pressure. The only way to know for sure is to check. Certainly, I would not let fear of low blood pressure stop you from eating healthier as eating healthy has many benefits, but someone like you should be monitoring your blood pressure if or when making any serious changes to your diet or lifestyle in general.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 02:29 PM

I really should. Thank you.

0
687bcdeaf37909fd0a6c3dbcc244f1de

on February 18, 2014
at 08:41 PM

I have lowest blood pressure in my life after paleo, 90's over 60's. Just a side note that there are herbal teas, stevia, abd beets as examples that will drop bp so be aware if you take them. Lack of sleep, which some paleo have, can cause dizziness too.

0
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on April 04, 2011
at 04:59 PM

My blood pressure last two times I checked were around 90/68. This was taken at the blood donation center. Before paleo my blood pressure was a consistent 120/60. I do not feel light headed.

I don't know if that is too low but I feel perfect. My iron number taken by the blood donation center was 14.5, which was right in the middle of the range, not too high and not too low.

-3
6da9aadfd5e3751311ca11285452c3ce

on January 17, 2011
at 01:41 AM

Lowering blood pressure happens on nutritional programs usually when the individual has nutritionally induced high blood pressure from excessive fat and cholesterol intake. With your BP so low as is, healthy eating and a good exercise program should maintain that low level as you age. However, if you adapt a high meat diet, as some paleos do, monitoring your levels is crucial so you don't let it get too far. Lots of fruits and veg, appropriate meat/fat, lots of exercise, and the occasional cheat day and you should be ok.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:48 AM

@Brian, just an FYI, you have all those downvotes, because its a recognized fact in the Paleosphere that Dietary Fat and Cholesterol are not only GOOD for you, but required for optimal health. and that neither contribute directly to fat or bad blood cholesterol.

Medium avatar

(310)

on January 17, 2011
at 03:31 AM

Thanks, Brian. I actually am adopting a high meat diet and avoiding fruit because of issues I have with sugar, but it's good to know exercise can improve my condition.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 24, 2011
at 02:12 PM

Haha, I WISH fat and cholesterol would raise my blood pressure.

D81880919f3d4b75b6ca8380914137d1

(80)

on November 19, 2011
at 04:33 AM

Melissa, have you tried headstands and kumbhaka (breath retention)? And massively upping your salt intake? B12 shots can also work wonders for lightheadedness, even when the doc says B12 levels are "normal." You may need a B12 shot every two weeks for six months to normalize levels to where they should be.

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on February 21, 2012
at 09:31 AM

I like the recommendation for the "occasional cheat day" to improve health... wtf Brian.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 04, 2012
at 07:35 PM

the occasional cocaine binge will certainly do the trick to raise your BP

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