Too Much Salt: How A Diet Too High In Sodium Can Affect Your Heart, Brain, And Even Bone Health


salt
Sodium, the main component in table salt, can be detrimental to the body in high quantities. 

Salt has always been of high importance to humanity. In ancient Egypt, salt was an integral part of religious ceremonies, and the Moors in Africa would trade salt pound for pound with gold. Part of our adoration for salt, however, lies in its main ingredient, sodium. (It’s also composed of chloride and iodine sources.) According to the American Heart Association, about 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes not from the salt shaker, but rather in processed and restaurant food.

Our Love Affair With Salt

Sodium is essential to human health. The mineral helps to regulate fluids by letting the body know when it’s time to replenish or dispose of water. Along with that, sodium also maintains nerve transmissions and muscle contractions — functions vital to our survival. As a result, our bodies evolved a desire for sodium akin to addiction to ensure that we never went without enough.

A 2011 Australian study found that the brain responds to sodium similar to how it does for substances such as heroin, cocaine, and nicotine, which may explain why so many of us tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing can actually prove deadly.

Your Brain On Salt

A 2011 Canadian study on 1,200 older sedentary adults with normal brain function found that over the course of three years, high-sodium diets were linked to increased risk of cognitive decline. This result was “independent of hypertension and global diet quality” and “suggests that sodium intake alone may affect cognitive function in sedentary older adults above and beyond the effects of overall diet,” the researchers wrote.

The reason why sodium is detrimental to the brain is not fully understood, but according to Dr. David L. Katz, a researcher involved in the study, physical exercise may be able to protect the brain from the effects of too much salt, Medscape reported.

Kidneys

Sodium plays a key role in balancing the levels of fluid in our bodies by signaling to the kidneys when to retain water and when to get rid of water. A high-sodium diet can interfere with this delicate process and reduce kidney function. The result is less water removed from the body, which may lead to higher blood pressure. As explained by The World Action on Salt and Health, this excess strain on the kidneys can lead to kidney disease or exacerbate kidney problems in those already with the condition.

High-sodium diets may also increase your risk of developing renal stones, also known as kidney stones. The main cause of kidney stones is urinary calcium, a mineral which is noted to increase in those with high-sodium intake.

Bones

Excessive calcium excretion in the urine is believed by some experts to increase the risk of bone thinning. According to WASH, over long periods of time, this excessive calcium loss is associated with osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

Heart

Due to salt’s fluid retention effect, in some individuals excessive amounts of salt in their diet can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood, and high blood pressure can lead to many serious conditions, such as stroke and heart failure. Although blood pressure increases naturally with age, according to the American Heart Association, reducing your salt intake can help prevent your blood pressure from increasing too much.

Skin

Excessive salt in the diet can cause a symptom known as edema. As reported by Medical News Today, edema is characterized by swelling, particularly in the hands, arms, ankles, legs, andfeet, caused by fluid retention. Excessive salt consumption commonly causes edema; however, the symptom can be caused by a number of other health concerns ranging from menstruation to genetic disposition. Edema is non-life threatening and is a symptom of another underlying health condition, rather than a condition on its own.

While edema may be an extreme symptom of excessive salt consumption, even something as simple as having an extra-large popcorn the night before can leave your skin looking a bit puffier than usual. Dr. Neal B. Schultz, a dermatologist practicing in New York City, told Shapethat susceptibility to swelling due to salt consumption increases with age.

Stomach

A 1996 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that death from stomach cancer in both men and women was closely linked to salt consumption. High salt intake is also associated with stomach ulcers. The reason for this is not completely understood, but one study theorized that the salt may have an adverse effect on the mucous lining of the stomach and cause the stomach tissue to become abnormal and unhealthy, according to Livestrong.

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease.


microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.

processed-foodsA team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are.

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections.

Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level.

Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’

It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.

It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

‘Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.

‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin.

‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said.

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.”

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”

Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US.

He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Study Source: 
This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Markus Kleinewietfeld, Prof. David Hafler (both Yale University, New Haven and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Harvard University, USA), PD Dr. Ralf Linker (Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen), Professor Jens Titze (Vanderbilt University and Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg, FAU, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Professor Dominik N. Muller (Experimental and Clinical Research Center, ECRC, a joint cooperation between the Max-Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin, and the Charite — Universitatsmedizin Berlin and FAU)

Myths About High Blood Pressure.


1) Myth. High blood pressure runs in my family. There is nothing I can do. I will get it too.

High blood pressure can run in families. If your parents or close blood relatives have had high blood pressure, you are more likely to develop it, too. However, lifestyle choices have allowed many people with a family history of high blood pressure to avoid it themselves. Lifestyle changes you can make to prevent it include:

  • Eat a better diet, which may include reducing sodium.
  • Enjoy regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke.
  • Comply with medication prescriptions.
  • If you drink, limit alcohol.

2) Myth. I don’t use table salt, so I’m in control of my sodium intake and my blood pressure isn’t affected.

In some people, sodium can increase blood pressure. But controlling sodium means more than just putting down the salt shaker. It also means checking labels, because up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is hidden in processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes. When buying prepared and prepackaged foods, read the labels. Watch for the words “soda” and “sodium” and the symbol “Na” on labels; these words show that sodium compounds are present.

3) Myth. I use kosher or sea salt when I cook instead of regular table salt. They are low-sodium alternatives.
Chemically kosher salt and sea salt are the same as table salt – 40 percent sodium – and count the same toward total sodium consumption. Table salt is a combination of the two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Learn more about Sea Salt Vs. Table Salt.

4) Myth. I feel fine. I don’t have to worry about high blood pressure.

More than 76 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure – and many of them don’t know it or don’t experience typical symptoms. High blood pressure is serious. If uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to severe health problems. High blood pressure is also the No. 1 cause of stroke.

5) Myth. People with high blood pressure have nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping and their face becomes flushed. I don’t have those symptoms so I must not have high blood pressure.

Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. High blood pressure is often called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms, so you may not be aware that it’s damaging your arteries, heart and other organs. Don’t make the mistake of assuming symptoms will alert you to the problem of high blood pressure. Everybody needs to know their blood pressure numbers. Diagnosis should only be made by a healthcare professional.

6) Myth. I read that wine is good for the heart, so I can drink as much of it as I want.

If you drink alcohol, including wine, do so in moderation. Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. Too much alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents, and it can be highly addictive. If you drink, limit consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Generally, one drink equals a 12-ounce beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or one ounce of hard liquor (100-proof).

7) Myth. I have high blood pressure and my doctor checks it for me so I don’t need to check it at home, too.

Because blood pressure can fluctuate, home monitoring and recording of blood pressure readings can provide your healthcare provider with valuable information to determine whether you really have high blood pressure and, if you do, whether your treatment plan is working. It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening, or as your healthcare professional recommends.

8) Myth. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and I have been maintaining lower readings, so I can stop taking my medication.

High blood pressure can be a lifelong disease. Follow your healthcare professional’s recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life. By partnering with your healthcare team, you can successfully reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.

Scientists Officially Link Processed Foods To Autoimmune Disease.


The modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame.

‘This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,’ they said.

Junk foods at fast food restaurants as well as processed foods at grocery retailers represent the largest sources of sodium intake from refined salts.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal sent out an international team of researchers to compare the salt content of 2,124 items from fast food establishments such as Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway. They found that the average salt content varied between companies and between the same products sold in different countries.

U.S. fast foods are often more than twice as salt-laden as those of other countries. While government-led public health campaigns and legislation efforts have reduced refined salt levels in many countries, the U.S. government has been reluctant to press the issue. That’s left fast-food companies free to go salt crazy, says Norm Campbell, M.D., one of the study authors and a blood-pressure specialist at the University of Calgary.

Many low-fat foods rely on salt–and lots of it–for their flavor. One packet of KFC’s Marzetti Light Italian Dressing might only have 15 calories and 0.5 grams fat, but it also has 510 mg sodium–about 1.5 times as much as one Original Recipe chicken drumstick. (Feel like you’re having too much of a good thing? You probably are.

Bread is the No. 1 source of refined salt consumption in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just one 6-inch Roasted Garlic loaf from Subway–just the bread, no meat, no cheeses, no nothing–has 1,260 mg sodium, about as much as 14 strips of bacon.

How Refined Salt Causes Autoimmune Disease

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections.

Previous research suggests that a subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In the latest study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’

They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

They were also more likely to develop a severe form of a disease associated with multiple sclerosis in humans.

The scientists then conducted a closer examination of these effects at a molecular level.

Laboratory tests revealed that salt exposure increased the levels of cytokines released by Th17 cells 10 times more than usual. Cytokines are proteins used to pass messages between cells.

Study co-author Ralf Linker, from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, said: ‘These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no cure.’

It develops when the immune system mistakes the myelin that surrounds the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord for a foreign body.

It strips the myelin off the nerves fibres, which disrupts messages passed between the brain and body causing problems with speech, vision and balance.

Another of the study’s authors, Professor David Hafler, from Yale University, said that nature had clearly not intended for the immune system to attack its host body, so he expected that an external factor was playing a part.

He said: ‘These are not diseases of bad genes alone or diseases caused by the environment, but diseases of a bad interaction between genes and the environment.

‘Humans were genetically selected for conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no salt. It’s one of the reasons that having a particular gene may make African Americans much more sensitive to salt.
‘Today, Western diets all have high salt content and that has led to increase in hypertension and perhaps autoimmune disease as well.’

The team next plan to study the role that Th17 cells play in autoimmune conditions that affect the skin.
‘It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake,’ they said.

‘However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors.’

Stick to Good Salts

Refined, processed and bleached salts are the problem. Salt is critical to our health and is the most readily available nonmetallic mineral in the world. Our bodies are not designed to processed refined sodium chloride since it has no nutritional value. However, when a salt is filled with dozens of minerals such as in rose-coloured crystals of Himalayan rock salt or the grey texture of Celtic salt, our bodies benefit tremendously for their incorporation into our diet.

“These mineral salts are identical to the elements of which our bodies have been built and were originally found in the primal ocean from where life originated,” argues Dr Barbara Hendel, researcher and co-author of Water & Salt, The Essence of Life. “We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are similar to sea water. From the beginning of life, as unborn babies, we are encased in a sack of salty fluid.”

“In water, salt dissolves into mineral ions,” explains Dr Hendel. “These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.”
Mineral salts, she says, are healthy because they give your body the variety of mineral ions needed to balance its functions, remain healthy and heal. These healing properties have long been recognised in central Europe. At Wieliczka in Poland, a hospital has been carved in a salt mountain. Asthmatics and patients with lung disease and allergies find that breathing air in the saline underground chambers helps improve symptoms in 90 per cent of cases.

Dr Hendel believes too few minerals, rather than too much salt, may be to blame for health problems. It’s a view that is echoed by other academics such as David McCarron, of Oregon Health Sciences University in the US.

He says salt has always been part of the human diet, but what has changed is the mineral content of our food. Instead of eating food high in minerals, such as nuts, fruit and vegetables, people are filling themselves up with “mineral empty” processed food and fizzy drinks.

Source: preventdisease.com

         

Does Potassium Lower Blood Pressure?


It’s not groundbreaking news that high blood pressure and diet are related. Even when you go the medical doctor route, one of the first things your doctor will suggest is lowering your salt intake to help control your blood pressure. But what else can help? Does potassium lower blood pressure? Often, one important nutritional catalyst is overlooked; and yes, it is indeed potassium.

bananaeaten 235x147 Does Potassium Lower Blood Pressure?

Does Potassium Lower Blood Pressure?

Potassium has several functions in the body, aiding with the proper workings of the heart, kidneys, nerves, muscles and the digestive system. A lack of potassium can manifest itself in many ways, including high blood pressure.

Researchers have looked at the connection between high blood pressure and potassium for decades, determining that simply increasing your potassium intake while lowering your sodium intake is enough to get your blood pressure back under control.

Our friends over at NaturalNews have compiled some pretty telling statements from experts in the medical and nutritional community on the power of potassium in helping control blood pressure.

Sodium and potassium play related role in controlling fluid balance in the body. Without sufficient potassium to help the body secrete sodium, sodium builds up and exerts its harmful effects. Thus, to reduce high blood pressure most people need not only to lower sodium intake but also to increase potassium consumption. Indeed, some studies indicate that potassium intake is a stronger factor in determining blood pressure than is sodium intake. Various population studies confirm a beneficial effect on blood pressure from increases in potassium consumption.

– Off-the-Shelf Natural Health by Mark Mayell

The sudden death that can occur in fasting, anorexia nervosa, or starvation is often a result of heart failure caused by potassium deficiency. Many population studies have found links between low potassium intakes and an increased risk of high blood pressure and death from stroke. Increasing the amount of potassium-rich foods in the diet can lead to a reduction in high blood pressure. The ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet appears to play an important role in the development of high blood pressure. The typical Western diet is low in potassium relative to sodium.

– The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs by Nicola Reavley

One study conducted from St. George’s Medical School in London and published in the April 2005 issue of Hypertension, found that potassium citrate can lower blood pressure just as well as potassium chloride – which has been shown to lower blood pressure. Potassium chloride must be taken in supplement form, while potassium citrate can be attained through foods.


After comparing the blood-pressure-lowering effects of potassium chloride against the effects of potassium citrate, researchers found that each one has similarly positive effects. Adults starting at 151/93 on average found their blood pressure reduced to 140/88 while using potassium chloride, and 138/88 when taking potassium citrate.

Potassium Food Sources

Sure, you could take a potassium supplement. But, why pop a pill when you can get plenty of potassium through healthy food choices. You can get about the same potassium from one bite of a banana as you can from one 99 mg supplement. The following foods are rich in potassium. By cutting down on sodium and eating several of these foods each day, you can combat high blood pressure naturally:

 

 

Potatoes Found to Combat High Blood Pressure.


 Are you worried about high blood pressure? Researchers studying the effects of potatoes on human health have noted that potato consumption is linked to a reduction in blood pressure among obese people with high blood pressure.

potatopurple 260x162 Potatoes Found to Combat High Blood Pressure

Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally

Just a few servings of potato each day can reduce blood pressure in overweight people who have high blood pressure, states researchers in a new report. The potato study was conducted using purple potatoes without any fat or oil. Two groups of participants were chosen for the study, a healthy group and an overweight group who suffered from high blood pressure.

The healthy participants ate 6 small purple potatoes a day or the equivalent of starch in the form of biscuits. At the end of the trial, it was found the antioxidant capacity of their blood and urine was increased by eating potatoes and decreased by eating biscuits. The overweight group ate 6 purple potatoes each day for 4 weeks followed by a 4-week period of no potatoes, followed by another 4-week period of eating potatoes. The results demonstrated that although eating the potatoes caused no change in body weight, blood fats or sugar levels, blood pressure did decrease.

One of the primary reasons for potatoes lowering blood pressure has to do with high levels of potassium found in the food. Potassium has several functions in the body, aiding with the proper workings of the heart, kidneys, nerves, muscles and the digestive system. A lack of potassium can manifest itself in many ways, including high blood pressure.

At the end of the study, researchers claimed that the consumption of purple potatoes was, in fact, effective for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke in people who have high blood pressure. It is thought that red-skinned potatoes would have the same impact.

The Blacklisted Potato

Unfortunately, many Americans have blacklisted potatoes from their diet completely. The potato is often seen as an empty calorie, high carbohydrate, fattening food that has no nutritional value. This is actually a long way from the truth. But when a potato is topped with mounds of butter, sour cream, fried in oil or otherwise changed from its original state, this is where problems begin. In actuality, a potato only has slightly over 100 calories and numerous beneficial vitamins and phytochemicals such as those found in spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

A Little Potato History

Potato roots began in the Andes Mountains of South America where inconsistent temperatures and extremely poor soil were the norm. The potato, however, survived and even thrived in these conditions, some 15,000 feet up in the air. Pre-Columbian farmers, impressed by the heartiness of this vegetable began cultivating the potato almost 7,000 years ago. It was not until around 1537 that people in the west encountered the potato. Of course, everyone is aware of the potato’s use in Ireland. Because potatoes contain most vitamins that are needed for survival, it was a popular food. This explains the great famine in Ireland that followed the crop failure of the 1800′s.

What – You Still Think Salt Consumption Causes High Blood Pressure?


High sodium intake as a source of high blood pressure has been an unchallenged dogmatic mantra for decades. But a few renegade MDs, several naturopaths, and chiropractors have challenged the unproven hypothesis of salt being the basis of high blood pressure (HBP). Turns out that the link between high sodium intake and elevated blood pressure is a false one.

salt blood pressure 263x164 What – You Still Think Salt Consumption Causes High Blood Pressure?

Pure, unrefined salt is actually a necessary and helpful dietary component. Perhaps the most well known salt promoter is Dr. David Brownstein, MD, author of Salt Your Way to Health. Refined commercial table salt, used excessively in processed foods, is processed with toxic chemicals and stripped of its inherent nutritional value. It’s mostly poison with very little nutrition, though even using table salt often won’t lead to high blood pressure.

Actually, those with high blood pressure (and everyone, really) should just consume more foods rich in potassium. Meta-analysis’ show how low potassium intake has the same impact on blood pressure as high salt consumption – the real problem is an imbalance between sodium and potassium.


It appears the new HBP dietary villain could be high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which has been already linked to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular health issues.

HFCS is more commonly used in processed foods, fruit juices, sweets, and sodas than cane or beet sugar. It’s cheaper than sucrose (table sugar), and satisfies the “sweet tooth” SAD (standard American diet) consumers’ desire.

According to the USDA, HFCS consumption has increased significantly from 1970 to 2005, and it is now the number one source of empty calories in America. In fact, Americans eat approximately 35 lbs on average of high-fructose corn syrup each year.

How HFCS Contributes to Hypertension or High Blood Pressure

Fructose in fruit is tied to several other nutritional compounds that balance out fructose’s negative aspects. But fructose isolated from corn and made into a syrup is too much for the body to metabolize. Even table sugar metabolizes better.

Robert H. Lustig, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explains how the rise in HFCS use over the past three to four decades is behind the obesity and diabetes epidemic, both of which contribute to high blood pressure.

HFCS or “corn sugar” or “corn syrup” initiates a toxic overload from insufficient metabolism. The liver doesn’t convert isolated, concentrated fructose into energy well and stores it as fat instead. Add this to the dangers of GMO corn with traces of extremely toxic glyphosate herbicides and mercury as a byproduct from the conversion process. This toxic overload leads to obesity, fatty liver, other liver complications, and kidney disease.

Dr. Richard Johnson of the University of Colorado has been a researcher of investigations into HFCS and high blood pressure. His research revealed definite links of high HFCS consumption to high blood pressure.


What’s more, one of the toxic waste products remaining in the body from regular HFCS consumption is uric acid. A test of 17 subjects with high uric acid counts showed all 17 with high blood pressure. Uric acid inhibits nitric oxide (NO) in the blood vessels.

Nitric oxide is a volatile gas that helps maintain blood vessel elasticity. When that elasticity decreases, blood pressure increases. Here are 4 ways to increase nitric oxide naturally.

A safe range of uric acid is from 3 to 5.5 milligrams per deciliter (0.1 liter), with 4 mg/dl ideal for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women. Higher numbers threaten blood pressure increases. You can ask your health professional about a uric acid test or shop the internet by inserting “uric acid blood testing” in your search engine.

1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers.


Researchers have finally found out why the jade-green cup appears red when lit from behind

The colorful secret of a 1,600-year-old Roman chalice at the British Museum is the key to a super­sensitive new technology that might help diagnose human disease or pinpoint biohazards at security checkpoints.

phenomenon-Glow-With-Flow-631

The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s. The mystery wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.

The ancient nanotech works something like this: When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color depending on the observer’s position. Gang Logan Liu, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has long focused on using nanotechnology to diagnose disease, and his colleagues realized that this effect offered untapped potential. “The Romans knew how to make and use nanoparticles for beautiful art,” Liu says. “We wanted to see if this could have scientific applications.”

When various fluids filled the cup, Liu suspected, they would change how the vibrating electrons in the glass interacted, and thus the color. (Today’s home pregnancy tests exploit a separate nano-based phenomenon to turn a white line pink.)

Since the researchers couldn’t put liquid into the precious artifact itself, they instead imprinted billions of tiny wells onto a plastic plate about the size of a postage stamp and sprayed the wells with gold or silver nanoparticles, essentially creating an array with billions of ultra-miniature Lycurgus Cups. When water, oil, sugar solutions and salt solutions were poured into the wells, they displayed a range of easy-to-distinguish colors—light green for water and red for oil, for example. The proto­type was 100 times more sensitive to altered levels of salt in solution than current commercial sensors using similar techniques. It may one day make its way into handheld devices for detecting pathogens in samples of saliva or urine, or for thwarting terrorists trying to carry dangerous liquids onto airplanes.

The original fourth-century A.D. Lycurgus Cup, probably taken out only for special occasions, depicts King Lycurgus ensnared in a tangle of grapevines, presumably for evil acts committed against Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. If inventors manage to develop a new detection tool from this ancient technology, it’ll be Lycurgus’ turn to do the ensnaring.

Salt: friend or foe?


salt

Dietary guidelines advise against the consumption of too much salt. A high intake of sodium causes raised blood pressure—an established risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. But how much salt is too much? And could a very low salt intake also be detrimental?

The effects of salt consumption on health are controversial, but reduced salt intake is mostly believed to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a maximum daily consumption of 2300 mg salt for healthy adults and 1500 mg for people at raised risk of heart disease (eg, those older than 51 years, people with diabetes, and black people). The American Heart Association even advises that everyone adheres to the 1500 mg limit, irrespective of age or race. However, most people still eat too much salt—on average, US adults consume 3400 mg (about 1·5 teaspoons) daily.

In May, 2013, the Institute of Medicine reviewed recent evidence (39 studies) and reported that a very low salt intake might not be as beneficial as was previously thought, at least for those at increased risk of heart disease. Less than 2300 mg salt daily could even increase some cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood lipids and insulin resistance, potentially triggering heart problems. Moreover, no evidence suggested a benefit of an ultra-low sodium intake (<1500 mg daily) in any population.

High study heterogeneity, and the fact that the effects of reduced sodium intake on health outcomes cannot always be distinguished from those of overall diet changes, make accurate conclusions difficult. The report concludes that more trials are needed to address gaps in the data, especially studies of the effects of a 1500—2300 mg daily salt intake in different groups.

The report needs cautious interpretation—it does not suggest that people use salt freely. The Institute agrees that a link between high salt consumption and increased risk of cardiovascular disease persists, and that average intake needs to be reduced. However, the findings about very low sodium levels will help to clarify public health messages (eg, updated US dietary guidelines, due in 2015) and hopefully improve health outcomes.

Source: Lancet.

 

 

Higher Potassium Intake Lowers Blood Pressure and Is Associated with Less Risk for Stroke.


A BP-lowering effect was noted in hypertensive people and those with high sodium intake.

Low potassium intake is associated with hypertension and stroke. In new meta-analyses, investigators assessed whether higher potassium intake protects against hypertension and adverse cardiovascular (CV) events, including stroke.

Overall, 1600 individuals participated in 22 randomized trials; trial interventions were provision of potassium supplements in 20 trials and dietary advice in the other 2. Higher potassium consumption significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) by a mean 5.9 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by a mean 3.8 mm Hg. However, subgroup analyses revealed that higher potassium intake lowered BP only in patients with hypertension (i.e., not in patients with normal or low BP). Daily potassium intake of 90 to 120 mmol was associated with the largest reductions in SBP (mean, 7.2 mm Hg) and DBP (mean, 4.0 mm Hg). Notably, higher potassium intake lowered SBP regardless of baseline potassium intake and antihypertensive drug use. When trials were grouped by participants’ sodium intake, the greatest decrease in SBP (mean, 6.9 mm Hg) was seen in studies with the highest daily mean sodium intake (>4 g). In 11 cohort studies that involved 127,000 patients, high potassium intake was associated with less risk for stroke (risk ratio, 0.76) but not with lower risk for incident CV disease or coronary heart disease.

Comment: In these meta-analyses, higher potassium intake lowered SBP and DBP and was associated with less stroke risk. Patients, especially those with hypertension, should be advised to not only reduce their sodium intake but also to increase their potassium intake.

 

Source: Journal Watch General Medicine

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