There are mainly three high blood pressure causes according to research. The DASH study effectiveness helps prove these three are the culprits. These three things the research show can reduce blood pressure. The DASH study got it right bur for the wrong reason. Salt is not the enemy, a poor diet is.
The DASH diet researchers were desirous to prove salt raises blood pressure. They neglected to consider one simple challenge with research, namely bias. They had let their bias blind them to the real cause of high blood pressure but the study proved it anyway.
There is considerable evidence that suggests that salt is not guilty of causing heart disease. If it is, it would have to be due to processed table salt. Even so, there is little evidence.
While some people with high blood pressure will see a slight lowering benefit from salt restriction, the same is not true for the population at large.
In the American Journal of Hypertension in 2011 looked at seven studies of over 6000 people and found no real evidence that by cutting your salt intake you will reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and death.
"Conclusion: Despite collating more event data than previous systematic reviews of RCTs (665 deaths in some 6,250 participants) there is still insufficient power to exclude clinically important effects of reduced dietary salt on mortality or CVD morbidity. Our estimates of benefits from dietary salt restriction are consistent with the predicted small effects on clinical events attributable to the small BP reduction achieved."
In other words, salt alone is not responsible.
Actually, another study said just that.
A 2011 JAMA Internal Medicine article said,
"Randomized controlled trials (RTCs) and epidemiologic studies have shown that individuals with higher sodium or lower potassium intakes have increased risk for elevated blood pressure and hypertension. Although elevated blood pressure and hypertension are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the observed association between sodium or potassium intake and CVD incidence or mortality has been inconsistent. Recently, several studies suggested that the ratio of sodium to potassium intakes represented a more important risk factor for hypertension and CVD than each factor alone."
Now research is showing the connection to potassium. A 2015 article...
Why Your Mother Was Right: How Potassium Intake Reduces Blood Pressure showed why we need to eat our vegetables.
Low potassium intake, common in western diets, increases blood pressure and enhances salt-sensitivity. Most humans in "Westernized" countries also consume excess salt. In studies using mice, we found that a high-salt, low-potassium diet activates the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter in the kidney. This effect led to sodium retention and increased blood pressure, and was dependent on plasma potassium. .... These data show that dietary potassium deficiency increases blood pressure...... They suggest that global efforts should focus on increasing potassium intake, which will attenuate the effects of high-salt diets.
In the journal, Open Heart, a 2014 article The Wrong White Crystals are responsible for heart disease.
"Evidence from epidemiological studies and experimental trials in animals and humans suggests that added sugars, particularly fructose, may increase blood pressure and blood pressure variability, increase heart rate and myocardial oxygen demand, and contribute to inflammation, insulin resistance and broader metabolic dysfunction. Thus, while there is no argument that recommendations to reduce consumption of processed foods are highly appropriate and advisable, the arguments in this review are that the benefits of such recommendations might have less to do with sodium—minimally related to blood pressure and perhaps even inversely related to cardiovascular risk—and more to do with highly-refined carbohydrates."
"It is time for guideline committees to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more-consequential food additive: sugar."
It said, "A reduction in the intake of added sugars, particularly fructose, and specifically in the quantities and context of industrially-manufactured consumables, would help not only curb hypertension rates, but might also help address broader problems related to cardiometabolic disease."
The research is not conclusive but a number of doctors are jumping on this band wagon. They would not if they were not seeing benefits from it.
Magnesium stored in your cells helps relax muscles in our body. If our magnesium levels are lower than needed, blood vessels will not be able to relax, resulting in increased blood pressure.
Uric acid, another byproduct of fructose metabolism, inhibits nitric acid oxide in the blood vessels. The nitric acid is provides for the elasticity in the blood vessels. Unlike the elasticity in our underwear, when this is gone, the vessels get tighter, not looser.
So long as we are eating a healthy diet, by managing the insulin, leptin and uric acid it is possible to normalize blood pressure without drugs. The long term use of many of the high blood pressure drugs results in even greater harm to health.
Because of the damage sugar does, magnesium may help lower blood pressure. As a supplement it can be taken in various forms. The best is probably calcium, magnesium and zinc in one supplement. However, many doctors are moving away from calcium supplement because of the inherent dangers that do not exist when eating calcium rich foods.
The simple logic, cows do not drink milk once weaned yet they have strong bones. As a matter of fact, all animals have strong bones simply from eating their diet. The same is true with magnesium.
There evidence points to diets rich in magnesium as having a positive effect in normalizing blood pressure.
The DASH diet once again got it right, only it promotes the wrong reasons. Again, we agree, table salt is dangerous for health. Only unprocessed salt should be consumed. If you are a meat eater, the pink or mined salts work best. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, then the sea salts will work better.
There were few studies on magnesium supplements. So, was it the food or the magnesium in the food. One thing for sure, food makes the best supplement.
The sugar connection relates to something you may have heard about it recent years. When we eat a lot of sugar, we get spikes or increases in both insulin and in leptin. As these rise so does blood pressure. With the rise, we get leptin and or insulin resistant.
When the insulin receptors become resistant to insulin, it becomes more difficult for the body to store magnesium. The necessary magnesium is passed out of the body in our pee.
Keep in mind that for most Americans, in order to lower your fructose/sugar consumption you'll also need to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods.
At WaterCures.org, we are not big proponents of supplements. Likewise we are not anti medical doctors. We believe both have a place. But it is also important to point out limitations. Just like medical doctors, the supplement companies do not warn about the problems with their supplements.
In the study on magnesium sulfate, high blood pressure resulted in some people if they were on certain drugs. Other commonalities were being female, 60+ old.
Of 7,071 people who had side effects while taking Magnesium sulfate 268 got high blood pressure. The most used drugs where there was a BP increase included...
1. Lasix (84 people, 33.07%)
2. Acetaminophen (74 people, 29.13%)
3. Potassium chloride (70 people, 27.56%)
4. Zofran (56 people, 22.05%)
5. Aspirin (54 people, 21.26%)
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