1

votes

Blood pressure, potassium and sodium

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 13, 2011 at 11:41 PM

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is a main risk factor for cardiovascular disease. I have found a detailed, controlled study that shows that the consumption of large quantities of potassium in foods is a very powerful tool to diminish blood pressure: http://www.news-medical.net/news/2009/01/27/45282.aspx http://www.healthcentral.com/high-blood-pressure/lifestyle-161415-5.html

This would explain the excellent cardio health in societies that consume large amounts of potassium containing foods, such as sweet potatoes, bananas or lentils, such as the Okinawas or Cretan traditional diets. It would also explain why an omnivore diet, with lots of vegetables and fruits plus meat and fish is healthier than a zero carb diet. Do you agree?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:24 PM

(cont.) But that doesn't mean it is healthiest, necessarily. And for those already showing evidence of Western disease, even paleo glucose may not be tolerated.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Good question, Mari. I never said I think ZC is healthiest, but I should have known it would be interpreted that way. What I meant is that I don't think an omnivorous diet is necessarily healthier. That thing about longevity, even if true, is not evidence, merely epidemiology. I also know a handful of people who are much healthier with no carbs than with even a low amount, and have seen some studies suggesting vegetables can be unhealthy (not to mention fruit). I do understand that almost all existing H-G's eat plants to some degree or other, and are not plagued by our diseases. (cont.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:17 PM

Good question, Mari. I never said I think ZC is healthiest, but I should have known it would be interpreted that way. What I meant is that I don't think an omnivorous diet is necessarily healthier. That thing about longevity, even if true, is not evidence, merely epidemiology. I also know a handful of people who are much healthiest with no carbs than with even a low amount, and have seen some studies suggesting vegetables can be unhealthy (not to mention fruit). I do understand that almost all existing H-G's eat plants to some degree or other, and are not plagued by our diseases. (cont.)

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:46 AM

More support for starchy tubers...

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:45 AM

Why do you believe zero carb is the healthiest?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I watch my sodium very closely and my potassium numbers are great. I am not interested in replacing medication with supplements. Many people that take diuretics need potassium, but I never have. My doc gives me blood tests at least twice a year.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:09 AM

sherpamelissa you may need a low carb diet, of course but if you have high blood pressure you could benefit a lot from lower sodium/higher potasium ratio. If you do not want to consume that many vegetables, perhaps you should supplement with potassium. It works!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:59 AM

I think lowering my carbs is what finally solved mine, but I still don't know why it went up.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:58 AM

Well put, Eva. I have unexplainable high blood pressure. It went up when I was 29 and pregnant and never went down. I lost 111lbs, I improved my nutrition and fitness. 6 years later, after starting Paleo, I finally got off meds. My sodium, potassium and magnesium were always good when I had blood tests and nothing I ate seemed to affect it.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:56 AM

in fact ALL societies with great longevity rates, whether traditional Okinawans, CRetans, etc did follow omnivore diets with an important intake of vegetables. It is a fact and so far none has come up with similar longevity levels for any zero carb diet, or even very low carb diet...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:53 AM

Eva the first quote is a study abstact "There isn't as much focus on potassium, but potassium seems to be effective in lowering blood pressure and the combination of a higher intake of potassium and lower consumption of sodium seems to be more effective than either on its own in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Paul Whelton, senior author of the study in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine . Whelton is an epidemiologist and president and CEO of Loyola University Health System."

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:45 AM

this article "Relationship and interaction between sodium and potassium". Journal of the American College of Nutrition 25 (3): 262S–70S. PMID 16772638. http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/full/25/suppl_3/262S. covers the importance of the sodium-potassium ratio

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:22 AM

that is exactly right and the way to improve your potassium to sodium ratio is to reduce sodium and increase potassium, through consumption of foods that contain potassium.

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4 Answers

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:46 AM

I think the problem is that it is complicated. Many things have been implicated in high blood pressure, anything from nutrient intake to plaque buildup in the arteries. Nutrients like calcium and magnesium have also seemed to help control high blood pressure and so does exercise. Levels of one nutrient influence levels of others as well as needs for levels of others, such that it all becomes such a big tangled web of confusion that they haven't yet sorted it out. Here is an article on potassium that touches on some of that: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/potassium-k-in-blood

For myself, I feel that decent levels of potassium intake may be good and are probably not bad so I try to eat decent amounts. But I think it's far too soon to assume that lowering of blood pressure via high intake of potassium might directly influence cardiovascular risk to a large degree. Higher blood pressure may be correlated with heart attack risk due to a lot of hbp problems being causes by plaque buildup. But if you get your blood pressure down via manipulating potassium and salt intake, but the plaque is all still there and building, then this may turn out to do nothing whatsoever to improve your cardiovascular health. Because high blood pressure could just be a mostly symptom of plaque buildup and cardiac probs, but it may not be the actual cause. In order to truly solve a problem you have to get down to the root of it and I don't think we know for sure the root of it yet, although inflammation may well be a strong contender at this point.

Also, I see no study citations in the original cited article, so I am not sure how we know that any studies were 'detailed' or even particularly relevent. To me, it is not enough for them to just say 'studies show' while giving not references at all. So I am not monstrously impressed with the article as major scientific evidence of anything. That article is enough to portray a basic idea ot the public. However, I think the jury is still out on if eating more veggies and fruits will automatically cause more good then harm just because they have potassium in them. They also have sugar, which could lead to increased inflammation and exacerbate many with already existing blood sugar issues, which could cause more problems than the potassium solves. And studies I have seen comparing actual real life fruit and veggie intake with health issues have NOT been able to find any obvious benefit to eating more fruits and veggies.

One of the dangers of having a preexisting theory is that one tends to cast around and only notice data that fits that theory. This is why epidemiological studies are such a dangerous tool to use. Okinawans are different from americans in millions of ways so the number of uncontrolled variables are astronomical. But I would like to point out that there are a number of groups that eat little or no fruits and veggies but still have healthier cardiovascular conditions. If it were all about potassium by itself, this would not be the case.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:58 AM

Well put, Eva. I have unexplainable high blood pressure. It went up when I was 29 and pregnant and never went down. I lost 111lbs, I improved my nutrition and fitness. 6 years later, after starting Paleo, I finally got off meds. My sodium, potassium and magnesium were always good when I had blood tests and nothing I ate seemed to affect it.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:53 AM

Eva the first quote is a study abstact "There isn't as much focus on potassium, but potassium seems to be effective in lowering blood pressure and the combination of a higher intake of potassium and lower consumption of sodium seems to be more effective than either on its own in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Paul Whelton, senior author of the study in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine . Whelton is an epidemiologist and president and CEO of Loyola University Health System."

0
Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

on February 14, 2011
at 01:27 AM

Browsing through the web, I found that Loren Cordain considers the ratio of potassium to sodium as one of the main factors in Western disease " Sodium-potassium ratio

The average sodium content (3271 mg/d) of the typical US diet is substantially higher than its potassium content (2620 mg/d) (23). Three dietary factors are primarily responsible for the dietary ratio of sodium to potassium, which is >1.0. First, 90% of the sodium in Western diets comes from manufactured salt (sodium chloride); hence, the sodium content of naturally occurring foods in the average US diet (330 mg) is quite low. Second, vegetable oils and refined sugars, which are essentially devoid of potassium, constitute 36% of the total food energy. The inclusion of these 2 foods into the diet displaces other foods with higher potassium concentrations and thereby reduces the total dietary potassium content. Third, the displacement of vegetables and fruit by whole grains and milk products may further reduce the potassium intake because potassium concentrations in vegetables are 4 and 12 times those in milk and whole grains, respectively, whereas in fruit the potassium concentration is 2 and 5 times that in milk and whole grains (64). Taken together, the addition of manufactured salt to the food supply and the displacement of traditional potassium-rich foods by foods introduced during the Neolithic and Industrial periods caused a 400% decline in the potassium intake while simultaneously initiating a 400% increase in sodium ingestion (4, 12, 159).

The inversion of potassium and sodium concentrations in hominin diets had no evolutionary precedent and now plays an integral role in eliciting and contributing to numerous diseases of civilization. Diets low in potassium and high in sodium may partially or directly underlie or exacerbate a variety of maladies and chronic illnesses, including hypertension, stroke, kidney stones, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal tract cancers, asthma, exercise-induced asthma, insomnia, air sickness, high-altitude sickness, and Meniere’s Syndrome (ear ringing) (160-170)."

0
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:49 AM

It would also explain why an omnivore diet, with lots of vegetables and fruits plus meat and fish is healthier than a zero carb diet.

Since I don't believe an omnivorous diet is healthier than a zero carb diet, it doesn't explain anything.

Moreover a low carbohydrate diet is known to lower pathologically high blood pressure.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:28 AM

I watch my sodium very closely and my potassium numbers are great. I am not interested in replacing medication with supplements. Many people that take diuretics need potassium, but I never have. My doc gives me blood tests at least twice a year.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Good question, Mari. I never said I think ZC is healthiest, but I should have known it would be interpreted that way. What I meant is that I don't think an omnivorous diet is necessarily healthier. That thing about longevity, even if true, is not evidence, merely epidemiology. I also know a handful of people who are much healthier with no carbs than with even a low amount, and have seen some studies suggesting vegetables can be unhealthy (not to mention fruit). I do understand that almost all existing H-G's eat plants to some degree or other, and are not plagued by our diseases. (cont.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:17 PM

Good question, Mari. I never said I think ZC is healthiest, but I should have known it would be interpreted that way. What I meant is that I don't think an omnivorous diet is necessarily healthier. That thing about longevity, even if true, is not evidence, merely epidemiology. I also know a handful of people who are much healthiest with no carbs than with even a low amount, and have seen some studies suggesting vegetables can be unhealthy (not to mention fruit). I do understand that almost all existing H-G's eat plants to some degree or other, and are not plagued by our diseases. (cont.)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:59 AM

I think lowering my carbs is what finally solved mine, but I still don't know why it went up.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:45 AM

Why do you believe zero carb is the healthiest?

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:56 AM

in fact ALL societies with great longevity rates, whether traditional Okinawans, CRetans, etc did follow omnivore diets with an important intake of vegetables. It is a fact and so far none has come up with similar longevity levels for any zero carb diet, or even very low carb diet...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 01:09 AM

sherpamelissa you may need a low carb diet, of course but if you have high blood pressure you could benefit a lot from lower sodium/higher potasium ratio. If you do not want to consume that many vegetables, perhaps you should supplement with potassium. It works!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 14, 2011
at 02:24 PM

(cont.) But that doesn't mean it is healthiest, necessarily. And for those already showing evidence of Western disease, even paleo glucose may not be tolerated.

0
E4b155f898e209391902792ec3c005f3

(220)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:19 AM

I think the ratio of potassium to sodium is more important. In wild meat, this is always between 1:2 and 2:1. The vast amount of salt-added food makes SAD something around 10:1 up to even 40:1.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on February 14, 2011
at 12:22 AM

that is exactly right and the way to improve your potassium to sodium ratio is to reduce sodium and increase potassium, through consumption of foods that contain potassium.

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