5

votes

Has being Paleo allowed you to drop maintenance medications?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 19, 2010 at 2:16 PM

I have been taking medication for high blood pressure for 9 years now. Over that course of time, I have lost 115lbs and stayed very dedicated to an exercise program. My doctor has been shocked that I still need the medication. We have reduced the dosage, only to have to move it back up. We have switched the medication only to have to switch it back. I have stopped taking it occasionally to see if I could train my body to deal without having it, but it just won't seem to heal itself.

I was only 30 when I started taking it, something about being pregnant disagreed with my body and I've had high blood pressure (and curly hair) since the onset. I hate the idea of taking this medication for another 30+ years!

I have been eating Paleo for about 3 months now. I have a doctor appointment scheduled next week and I'd like to possibly try to reduce the medication again. I'm just looking for any hope that maybe I've finally found the "cure".

**UPDATE 3/5/11: 9 YEARS AFTER HAVING MY DAUGHTER, I AM NOW OFFICIALLY OFF ALL OF MY MEDS. MY DOCTOR TOOK ME OFF THE BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION 2 MONTHS AGO AND I TOOK MYSELF OFF THE WATER PILLS 2 WEEKS AGO. I HAD AN EKG THIS WEEK AND EVERYTHING LOOKED GREAT.

LOSING 111LBS DID NOT CHANGE MY BLOOD PRESSURE AND EDEMA PROBLEMS. EATING PALEO DID.**

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on August 08, 2011
at 12:15 AM

I am Paleo and thinking about going on MEtformin ( i have pcos) because i can't get my body fat % down. What was your experience? Do i need it? Any advice?

16ac9720030cbf0908f56da404ab01b9

(289)

on March 05, 2011
at 03:32 PM

If you go the supplement route, the Perfect Health Diet folks seem to have the most science based approach. Just for grins, I compiled all of my regular foods into a nutrition calculator (based on RDAs but better than nothing) and came up short in three of the eight micronutrient areas that the Jaminets recommend (copper, K2, and selenium) so I'm trying a round of those in supplement form. Although not paleo, they're dirt cheap compared to pharmaceuticals.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 30, 2010
at 02:05 PM

That is fantastic! My doctor appt is Thursday and I hope I talk her into reducing my medication for a month to see what happens!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 21, 2010
at 04:40 PM

My thyroid status is good. I've been tested for all kinds of things with being obese and then losing the weight. I am not extremely low sodium. I try to keep things around 1000/1200 mg per day. I just don't actually add salt to recipes or to my food.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 21, 2010
at 01:31 PM

That's one thing I don't do, supplements. I've tried to research what to take and usually get very lost, so many studies contradict themselves. It's something I've really wanted to figure out and haven't. I'll ask for a new blood test during this visit and see what happens.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 21, 2010
at 01:28 PM

I'm working on the doing what I love part! Everything else, I think I'm doing. I have hope though. I'm currently on a high blood pressure/water pill combo. I'm going to ask to switch just to a water pill for a month and see what happens!

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on November 21, 2010
at 12:23 PM

if i remember correctly it was this one: "Dietary Sodium and Cardiovascular Health in Hypertensive Patients: the Case Against Universal Sodium Restriction" http://is.gd/hwNbO

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on November 21, 2010
at 11:18 AM

qualia: Can you share the research please ?

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on November 21, 2010
at 11:07 AM

how is your thyroid status, TSH? you shouldn't limit salt too strictly. newest research shows that the kidney "expects" you to consume 2.5g of sodium or more.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 20, 2010
at 08:28 PM

Thanks Tom! I appreciate the response. I've been eating clean for awhile now, maybe my body is just slow.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 11:41 PM

That is so cool! I have high hopes I can do the same. I do eat dairy, but I've never had any issues with it. It may have to wait until after the stress of the holidays to go that strict.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:42 PM

I don't think I have a lot of fructose, but I will watch it more carefully. I don't add salt to anything and really watch my sodium intake closely. That's awesome for your mother! Somehow I think I damaged my body too much while obese and pregnant. It doesn't want to recover. :(

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:41 PM

That's amazing! There is hope for me yet!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:24 PM

If the culprit is high insulin, then it might take a while for that to gradually lesson. Keep carb intake low and see if that helps. Also might want to try cutting salt. Salt seems fine for most people though, but some seem to have probs with it. That woudl actually make sense if the main prob is really insulin most of the time.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Oh, I lift heavy things! Usually as part of my intervals. Thanks.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:50 PM

Sounds good to me, although of course I would love to see "lifting heavy things" added to that. But I don't think you're doing anything "wrong" per se. You might want to find a good doctor who understands the evolutionary angle and the insulin/sodium connection. It might be hard to find, but it'll be worth it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:17 PM

@Dave S. - Thanks. I'll try to watch that also. I don't think I overdo it in that area at all, but it may be a sensitivity. @Jae - My current workout routine is 3 days a week of interval training, including body weight exercises like squats/lunges some days and other days kettlebells/ropes. I started out doing a ton of cardio, but I learned better.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:08 PM

Out of curiosity, what is your workout routine?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:05 PM

Also, fructose --> increases uric acid --> blood pressure.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 02:45 PM

Thanks! I can't get to his website at work (filters!) so I have to remember to do that over the weekend. Water retention is my major issue, without meds I can gain 5/10lbs in 2 days. I already eat very low sodium and low carb and have been doing that for years. I think something is broken inside me!

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

best answer

4
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 19, 2010
at 02:39 PM

I have not had this experience personally, but I know of several people who have gone through the experience of dropping or reducing BP meds after going on Paleo.

Gary Taubes demonstrates in Good Calories, Bad Calories that the primary mechanism behind elevated BP probably has nothing to do with salt (in most people). Instead, the mechanism is something like:

  • sugar/grain consumption -> elevated insulin

  • insulin -> kidneys hold on to sodium ->

  • sodium retention -> body holds on to water

  • increased water retention -> elevated BP

Drop the grains and sugar, keep the rest of your diet pretty clean, get an appropriate amount of exercise, get adequate sleep, make sure you spend a lot of time laughing and playing with your friends and kids, and you'll probably see your BP drop.

In some cases, the drop is very, very fast. (I think Robb Wolf said something to the effect that it tends to drop like a stone.) Monitor your BP carefully so that you can adjust your meds if BP drops too low. In other cases, the change is more gradual.

If your BP doesn't budge despite a clean diet, I'm not sure what to tell you. You may be salt-sensitive, so you can try cutting that, too -- although I imagine that you've already done that.

Email Robb or post on his blog comments, and tell him your situation. He may have more ideas.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:24 PM

If the culprit is high insulin, then it might take a while for that to gradually lesson. Keep carb intake low and see if that helps. Also might want to try cutting salt. Salt seems fine for most people though, but some seem to have probs with it. That woudl actually make sense if the main prob is really insulin most of the time.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:17 PM

@Dave S. - Thanks. I'll try to watch that also. I don't think I overdo it in that area at all, but it may be a sensitivity. @Jae - My current workout routine is 3 days a week of interval training, including body weight exercises like squats/lunges some days and other days kettlebells/ropes. I started out doing a ton of cardio, but I learned better.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:50 PM

Sounds good to me, although of course I would love to see "lifting heavy things" added to that. But I don't think you're doing anything "wrong" per se. You might want to find a good doctor who understands the evolutionary angle and the insulin/sodium connection. It might be hard to find, but it'll be worth it.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:05 PM

Also, fructose --> increases uric acid --> blood pressure.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:04 PM

Oh, I lift heavy things! Usually as part of my intervals. Thanks.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on November 19, 2010
at 04:08 PM

Out of curiosity, what is your workout routine?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 02:45 PM

Thanks! I can't get to his website at work (filters!) so I have to remember to do that over the weekend. Water retention is my major issue, without meds I can gain 5/10lbs in 2 days. I already eat very low sodium and low carb and have been doing that for years. I think something is broken inside me!

2
Medium avatar

(3259)

on November 19, 2010
at 08:57 PM

I've been a cheating paleo (mostly with beer) for about 4 years and have been super tight for about a month. Have also cleaned up my sleep routine (6 hours in a moonlit room to 9 in pitch black). I've dropped 12 lbs (182 to 169) and feel generally amazing. I was diagnosed with "essential hypertension" about 7 years ago and have been taking a low dose of an Ace Inhibitor since. I was eating a pretty healthy but high-carb diet at the time and was running about 160/110 average BP. As I was putting my paleo house back in order this past month, I had my wife (who's a nurse) take my BP daily. Within two weeks I was consistently reading 118-122/78-80. Amazing. I stopped the meds and it's yet to read anything above 120/80 since. I should also add that I started taking CoQ10, which I'm sure has had an effect.

I would make sure your paleo is strict - grain, dairy, legume, alcohol, and sugar free - and try and get lots of sleep in a pitch black room.

Good luck.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 11:41 PM

That is so cool! I have high hopes I can do the same. I do eat dairy, but I've never had any issues with it. It may have to wait until after the stress of the holidays to go that strict.

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:33 PM

MIght want to keep your fructose down as well. Interesting study here: http://www.nature.com/ki/journal/v64/n6/abs/4494141a.html Seems like fructose interferes with feedback mechanisms that help control salt absorption, at least in rats.

My mother actually had her bloop pressure drop within only a few weeks of going paleo, but results will probably vary from one person to another. There is hope, but sadly, we haven't yet figured out how to restore every single person to perfect health.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:42 PM

I don't think I have a lot of fructose, but I will watch it more carefully. I don't add salt to anything and really watch my sodium intake closely. That's awesome for your mother! Somehow I think I damaged my body too much while obese and pregnant. It doesn't want to recover. :(

2
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on November 19, 2010
at 07:28 PM

Oh yes. Went Paleo and am now off Metformin, Lipitor, and some beta blocker whose name I forget.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 19, 2010
at 07:41 PM

That's amazing! There is hope for me yet!

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on August 08, 2011
at 12:15 AM

I am Paleo and thinking about going on MEtformin ( i have pcos) because i can't get my body fat % down. What was your experience? Do i need it? Any advice?

1
C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on November 30, 2010
at 03:06 AM

To generally answer your subject, yes. I quit taking Aciphex (and before that, years of Nexium) in April. Unsure if I've permanently damaged my little stomach acid vats but other than an occasional flare usually engendered by overindulgence in neo-foods my decades-long battle with heartburn/GERD/whatever is over.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 30, 2010
at 02:05 PM

That is fantastic! My doctor appt is Thursday and I hope I talk her into reducing my medication for a month to see what happens!

1
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on November 21, 2010
at 12:48 PM

what supplements do you take at the moment? what are your blood levels of the most important health markers? (CRP, Lipids, TSH, ferritin, etc). in general i'd say, check your antioxidant levels, and of course your vitamin D level. i know of some cases where just bringing the vitamin D blood level into an optimal range (say, 50-80ng/L) was enough to normalize BP. one senior had to take 25'000IU/d to normalize his BP. my recommendation: take a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral incl. 2x1g of vitamin C a day (1g morning, 1g afternoon), a good vitamin E complex which contains the whole spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols, and the vitamin D3 dosage that is right for you. do before/after blood tests for the usual health markers including the most important vitamins and hormones. if nothing helps, i'd go to a certified functional medicine practitioner, or ask this question to byron richards: http://is.gd/hwQVD this guy can answer questions like this in his sleep.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 21, 2010
at 01:31 PM

That's one thing I don't do, supplements. I've tried to research what to take and usually get very lost, so many studies contradict themselves. It's something I've really wanted to figure out and haven't. I'll ask for a new blood test during this visit and see what happens.

16ac9720030cbf0908f56da404ab01b9

(289)

on March 05, 2011
at 03:32 PM

If you go the supplement route, the Perfect Health Diet folks seem to have the most science based approach. Just for grins, I compiled all of my regular foods into a nutrition calculator (based on RDAs but better than nothing) and came up short in three of the eight micronutrient areas that the Jaminets recommend (copper, K2, and selenium) so I'm trying a round of those in supplement form. Although not paleo, they're dirt cheap compared to pharmaceuticals.

1
9837a92b22321b0c29cd1d53eeb025ce

on November 21, 2010
at 07:58 AM

also stress reactions cause insulin to go thru the roof

i tell my patients to also use the book "dont sweat the small stuff" (I am a doctor)

recommend paleo with not too much fruit, do what you love , lift heavy things even if it is just the groceries, everything above

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 21, 2010
at 01:28 PM

I'm working on the doing what I love part! Everything else, I think I'm doing. I have hope though. I'm currently on a high blood pressure/water pill combo. I'm going to ask to switch just to a water pill for a month and see what happens!

1
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on November 20, 2010
at 08:10 PM

I would call myself a "cheating paleo" follower as well with the occasional beer and probably a little more sugar than I should consume. That said, other than the beer, grain free and dairy free. I used to pop antacids, beta blockers, and all other types of heartburn "relief" medicines. I haven't taken any of those in months. When I do get tempted and eat bread, boom. Heartburn. My point is that eating cleaner certainly can lead to kicking the maintenance drugs in some circumstances.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on November 20, 2010
at 08:28 PM

Thanks Tom! I appreciate the response. I've been eating clean for awhile now, maybe my body is just slow.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!