There’s always a surprise around the corner when it comes to our health. Insulin resistance and high blood pressure is one. Is there a relationship between insulin resistance and high blood pressure?
Okay, let’s get direct. Does insulin resistance cause high blood pressure? Let’s explore that question on this page. This is very important because it constitutes part of the spectrum of the metabolic syndrome. A syndrome that is making us sick the world over. Worse in the Western hemisphere.
So, does insulin resistance cause high blood pressure?
The simple answer to that question is: Yes, insulin resistance does cause high blood pressure. In fact, the relationship is so strong that some scientists now believe that what we call ‘Essential Hypertension’ should no longer be called that.
Because we now have a cause for that high blood pressure of indeterminate origin. Insulin resistance.
In case you didn’t know, essential hypertension is hypertension (high blood pressure) for which there’s no known cause.
But now we know essential hypertension is not neccessarily without a cause. It has a cause that has been missed all of these years. Insulin resistance is the cause of most essential hypertension cases.
If you have any doubt, ask your doctor the next time you visit him/her, if most people with type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure. Your doctor will probably smile at you and will answer in the affirmative.
Yes, a relationship exists between hypertension and glucose intolerance without doubt.
What’s the background to insulin resistance and high blood pressure relationship?
Here’s the background.
The first thing to remember is that when you have insulin resistance, your insulin levels in the blood are going to be persistantly high. The reason is that your pancreas will keep pumping insulin into circulation to overcome the resistance of the cells to respond to insulin action.
Insulin’s primary job is to drive glucose out of the blood circulation into the cells of our body where the glucose is needed for energy production. In insulin resistance, the insulin receptors which are the “doorman” guarding glucose entry into the cells become desensitized.
Once desensitized, they are no longer responsive to signals to let glucose into the cells. The result is high blood glucose levels. This triggers further release of insulin from the pancreas as a compensatory mechanism. The idea being to lower blood glucose levels at all cost.
And because the insulin receptors on the cells are not “listening” to these signals, the result is higher and higher levels of insulin in the blood circulation. A sort of reactive hyperinsulinemia, if you like.
Imagine the pancreas as a pump station. It will keep pumping insulin until the blood sugar levels drop. Unfortunately those high levels of insulin in the blood circulation through a cascade of events result in high blood pressure.
This study was able to reproduce the effect of insulin on blood pressure when it observed a rise in blood pressure in patients commenced on insulin therapy. Meaning the presence of insulin through insulin shots is enough to trigger a rise in blood pressure.
There’s even a suggestion that high insulin levels especially high fasting insulin levels play a huge role in the development of high blood pressure independent of weight.
Highlight: Insulin resistance always carries the inescapable misfortune of elevated insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia). It is the hyperinsulinemia that forms the bedrock of the unhealthy relationship between insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
So, how does insulin resistance cause high blood pressure?
There are 3 possible mechanisms. And they are all related to the high insulin levels.
Mechanism #1 – Insulin resistance and the autonomic nervous system
The first is that; high insulin levels in blood drives sympathetic activity. If you have high blood pressure, the last thing you want is high sympathetic activity of your autonomous nervous system. Not good.
The sympathetic nervous system raises blood pressure. That’s a direct response and is bad for your health. Someone with high blood pressure should be hankering for what I decsribe as ‘Parasympathetic Domination‘.
For instance, if you were confronted by a lion. The sympathetic nervous system will automatically take control. It is needed in that instance to protect you. For self-preservation, if you like. It automatically prepares you for the ‘Fight or Flight response‘.
But there are other instances where the action of the sympathetic become undesirable. High blood pressure is one of them. With high blood pressure, the parasympathetic nervous system is a better friend to you.
Highlight: The pressor effect exerted through the sympathetic nervous system narrows your blood vessels mainly the arteries resulting in higher blood pressure. Not good!
Mechanism #2 – Insulin resistance and the kidney effect
High insulin levels has an effect on what happens in your kideneys as urine is being formed. Normally the kidneys have a fine balancing act where they control how much Sodium is retained in the body and how much is expelled out of the body through urine.
This fine balancing act is influenced by a couple of substances in particular Aldosterone. This is done through a well co-ordinated system called the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS).
But it would appear that when insulin levels are high, insulin gets in on the action too. Insulin influences what happens in the kidneys at high levels.
What does insulin do in the kidneys?
Insulin levels when high, facilitates retention of sodium in the body through the RAAS.
The overriding influence of insulin on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone (RAAS) is extensively reviewed here and here.
In fact, the relationship between insulin resistance and high blood pressure is so close that the class of blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril, Ramipril and the ARB medications like Valsartan, Losartan, Candesartan are thought to actually improve insulin sensitivity.
Mainly because those class of medications block the RAAS mechanism at various points which in turn reduces the influence of insulin.
This the second mechanism through which insulin resistance causes high blood pressure.
Highlight: The net effect of sodium and water retention in the body is high blood pressure.
Mechanism #3 – Insulin resistance and your arteries
Persistent high insulin levels almost ineveitably leads to lipid dysfunction. Dyslipidemia is one of the hallmarks of metabolic syndrome.
Why is this?
Quite simply; insulin is a fat storing hormone. Insulin facilitates the storing of fat both viscerally and underneath the skin too. Along with that is the elevation of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
Over time, high lvels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, results in hardening of arteries. When arteries are hardened, they become inelastic.
If your arteries are in elastic, they are less stretchy, less relaxed. Blood pressure goes up because of the inelasticity. Obviously if the situation is allowed to prgoress unchecked, plaques will form in the arteries making the situation worse.
Highlight: High insulin level is bad for the health of the walls of your arteries. Insulin is in fact, atherogenic.
What should you do?
As I stated in the video above, if you have high blood pressure, it makes sense to screen yourself for insulin resistance. The relation between insulin resistance and high blood pressure is so strong that screening yourself is best thing you can do for your health.
You should assume that if you have high blood pressure, then you probably have insulin resistance until proven otherwise. Act on the basis of that premise.
Ideally you would want to check your blood fasting insulin levels but such a test is beyond the reach of most of us.
So the best alternative is to check your fasting blood sugar levels. It’s very simple to do. All you need is a blood sugar monitor.
One of the queries I get often on this blog is: does drinking water reduce blood pressure? If we flip that question on its head, the question can be framed differently.
What will that be? It will be: does dehydration affect blood pressure?
I shall answer both questions for you on this page and you shall know the truth regarding water and blood pressure reduction.
Plus, you also get to know briefly the importance of water to our bodies, why we need water, how much water to drink and the effect of over-consumption of water on blood pressure too.
And you get my recommendation on the best drink for high blood pressure.
The way I am going to approach the subject is this. I will discuss the effect of dehydration on blood pressure first, then talk about how drinking water (rehydration) affects your blood pressure afterwards.
Kinda make sense to do it that way.
But if you’re in a hurry and only want to know if drinking water reduces blood pressure, then you can scroll towards the later part of this article for an answer straightaway.
Using water as a blood pressure remedy can seem a little far fetched but there’s some truth in it, within reason.
I know that some people do take it a little too far. I have read some people claim that drinking just water only without any medications whatsoever lowered their blood pressure and now they live life happily ever after.
We live in a world where anyone can make any claim regarding anything. This is worse online. After all, people make all sorts of claims about diabetes and cancer online. These claims range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
So, it’s not surprising we have people making ridiculous claims about blood pressure treatment at home…and even low blood pressure.
Before I delve into the possibility of dehydration causing high blood pressure and the fact that drinking water is one way you can lower your blood pressure naturally, let’s talk about the importance of water to our bodies briefly first.
How important is water to our bodies?
Well, make no mistake about it. Water is very important to our very survival. Without water we won’t be here on this planet.
This is exemplified in the fact that the average adult body is made up of 55 – 60% water. Babies have even more water content in their bodies. Babies are made up of 75% water until they are 1 year old when their water content drops to 65%.
Water plays a huge role in our bodies. From joint lubrication to keeping our brain well hydrated. Your brain is 75% water, believe it or not. Our brains have the same amount of water as you’ll find in ripe bananas. Our lungs are to a large extent a wet organ too.
Let’s not forget body temperature regulation. Water plays a major role in heat generation for our bodies.
In fact, without water, there will be metabolic mayhem in our bodies. Undoubtedly so.
Why do we need to drink water daily?
We need to drink water daily because some of our body functions mean we lose water every day. We lose water through urine. We lose water through bowel movement. We lose water through sweat. We lose water through our breathe.
All of that water loss needs to be replaced.
If we fail to replace the water lost through those bodily functions, dehydration will result.
But there has to be a fine balance between how much we are losing and how much we replace.
This fine balance prevents dehydration and over-hydration. Both over-hydration and dehydration are bad for our health.
Indeed, too much water in the body from over-hydration is just as bad for our blood pressure as dehydration is.
So, does dehydration affect blood pressure?
Yes, it does. And dehydration does affect blood pressure through 3 different mechanisms.
Dehydration is a potent trigger for a whole host of metabolic events.
Let’s just talk about hormonal events that occur when you are dehydrated. Because this is how dehydration can affect your blood pressure.
The 1st Dehydration-BP Elevation Mechanism
Dehydration leads to renin secretion. Renin is an enzyme produced in the kidneys in response to low blood volume or low salt levels in the blood.
When renin is released, it triggers the conversion of another pro-enzyme called angiotensinogen to angiotensin 1.
A chain of events follows. I don’t want to bore you with the details. All you need to know is that; the end result of that chain of events is the production of another hormone called aldosterone.
The job of aldosterone is to conserve the mineral called sodium. Of course, wherever there’s sodium, water follows. Aldosterone raises blood pressure as a result.
Aldosterone raises blood pressure by preventing the kidneys from losing sodium in urine. Conserve as much sodium as possible.
And because water follows the sodium saved by the aldosterone (don’t forget that sodium is salt), our blood pressure gets elevated when we are dehydrated.
Blood pressure rises when salt and water are retained in the body.
This chain of events caused by dehydration is initiated by renin. In fact, this research tells us a 24-hour episode of dehydration induced a 3-fold increase in renin activity in the body.
That’s the power of water deprivation with a ripple effect on our blood pressure.
That’s one mechanism.
The 2nd Dehydration-BP Elevation Mechanism
A second mechanism of how dehydration can affect our blood pressure is via another hormone called Anti Diuretic Hormone (ADH).
ADH is released from the hypothalamus in our brain when dehydration signals are received by the brain.
Anti Diuretic hormone as the name implies stops you losing water in urine. Meaning ADH will concentrate your urine to conserve water in the body.
By reducing the amount of urine excreted by the kidneys, blood volume increases and blood pressure rises as a conseqence. This is a protective mechanism to prevent the fatal consequences of dehydration on your body.
This action in turn will elevate your blood pressure too.
The 3rd Dehydration-BP Elevation Mechanism
There’s a 3rd mechanism through which dehydration elevates your blood pressure. It involves a direct effect on the tiny vessels we call capillaries.
Dehydration causes these capillaries to “narrow up”. When these tiny vessels become narrow, the pressure inside them rises causing a blood pressure elevation.
So, whereas initially dehydration leads to a lower blood pressure, compensatory mechanisms move things in the opposite direction leading to high blood pressure.
That’s how our body protects itself from harm caused by dehydration.
So, does drinking water reduce high blood pressure?
Yes, drinking water does reduce high blood pressure but with a caveat. You only need to drink what your body requires for the effect of water on blood pressure to be within the safe margins.
You just need to stay well hydrated. Nothing more.
The reason water does cause a reduction in blood pressure is the reverse of the events I discussed above.
Staying well hydrated by drinking plain water, mineral water or decaffeinated tea means you suppress renin release. Inhibiting the release of renin means you avoid elevated aldosterone levels.
Remember I said, aldosterone causes blood pressure elevation, so we don’t want to trigger its release.
We also want to suppress Anti Diuretic Hormone release by drinking enough.
Drinking enough water staves off those hormonal events that lead to blood pressure rise. Meaning drinking adequate water helps us lower high blood pressure naturally.
The effect of drinking water to lower or reduce blood pressure may not be as dramatic as eating foods that lower blood pressure quickly, but it helps a great deal.
What about over-hydration…
Does drinking too much water cause high blood pressure?
If you remember, I did say, to use water as a natural blood pressure remedy, you only need to drink enough to stay well hydrated.
This means you don’t need to go over-board because drinking too much water can actually cause high blood pressure.
It’s got to be finely balanced.
What’s the fine balance?
How much water should I drink a day?
Well, conventional teaching has always been that we should aim to drink 8 glasses of 8-oz glass per day.
But that advice is changing.
The amount of water we need to drink a day largely depends on our weight and our environment.
The recommended daily water intake does vary but it ranges from 2.5 liters – 3.7 liters for men and between 2 liters – 2.8 liters for women.
Obviously, that recommended daily water intake is not set in stone. Our daily water intake can be dialled up or down depending on how healthy we are, how old we are, how active we are and how hot the environment we are located is.
So, drink enough water or decaffeinated beverage like tea or mineral water or even coconut water to stay hydrated but don’t overdo it.
Because when you drink too much water especially within a short time interval, you can cause salt dilution in the body.
Is himalayan salt good for blood pressure? That’s a question I get asked often. Mainly because I do a lot of videos on high blood pressure on my You Tube channel.
My subscribers get bombarded with ads professing the goodness of himalayan salt and the puported benefits of himalayan salt. In modern times, when something appears exotic and himalayan salt is indeed exotic, we automatically assume, it must be good for our health.
That may be true for a lot of products that come from afar. We thank the internet for the globalization that we exeperience today. It’s given us the opportunity to share in the spoils of other regions which hitherto would have been totally unavailable to us.
Making the world one big global village is good for our physical and mental health.
The Plan – Here’s what you’re going to get on this page
In this article, I will answer that question of himalayan salt and high blood pressure, whether himalayan salt is good for you or not, if himalayan salt is iodized and also whether himalayan salt is better than regular table salt.
Let’s crack on…
Is himalayan salt good for high blood pressure?
The short answer to the question of himalayan salt being good for high blood pressure is; No, it isn’t.
If there was ever a product that literally represents the saying that “all that glitters isn’t gold“, himalayan salt represents that.
Yes, himalayan salt looks pretty because of its distinctive pink hue and it’s easy on the eye. But that’s where the beauty and it’s usefulness to health end.
The beautiful pinkish hue of the himalayan salt is due to the fact that this brand of salt is unprocessed, therefore it retains some traces of iron within it. The presence of the iron and some other minerals is the reason the himalayan salt has become the latest “miracle cure” for all from the East.
No, himalayan salt isn’t a magic cure for all your ailments.
Himalayan salt or Pink salt as it’s also known; is not healthier than any other salt out there.
Indeed, himalayan salt is not good for high blood pressure. If you’re one of those who got caught out with the health benefit claims of himalayan salt being good for hypertension, then it’s time for a thought make-over.
Don’t buy the hype. Terms like organic, natural, unprocessed and healthy salt have all been used to describe the himalayan salt. They all imply a loftier status of this rock salt compared to the regular table salt. Again, don’t buy the hype.
Is Himalayan salt better than regular normal salt?
Answer: No, himalayan salt is not better than regualr normal table salt.
You may argue that himalayan salt is unrefined unlike regular table salt but in the end, the nutritional profile is almost the same. Yes, refined salt is processed which means all the impurities are removed leaving a white crytalline fine powder for us to use as table salt.
But here is the deal.
Himalayan salt retailers may claim superiority because it contains some minerals which regular table salt does not boast of. That’s true.
But the devil is in the detail. When you look closely you’ll realise that ‘all salt is salt’. Period.
Meaning all salt contain Sodium Chloride (NaCl). It is the amount of the sodium chloride in each salt that may vary.
But guess what? They don’t vary that much.
What’s the himalayan salt hype all about?
Yes, himalayan salt contains traces (yes, traces) of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium compared to our regular white table salt.
But did you know that himalayan salt is actually 98% Sodium Chloride?
Another 0.6% of himalayan salt is calcium and 0.7% being water. That leaves only 0.7% of its nutritional profile being made of the potassium, iron and magnesium. That’s the “mineral idea” the makers of himalayan salt want you to buy into literally; as having superior health benefits over regular white table salt.
Yes, the himalayan salt promoters will tell you your white table salt is bleached and has all the nutrients stripped away unlike himalayan salt, but ask them how much minerals are we talking about?
Is it the 1.4% of the himalayan rock salt that is made up of minerals?
Because the rest of the himalayan rock salt is wholly Sodium Chloride – 98% and 0.6% water.
The so-called minerals you’ll get from himalayan rock salt are so small that we will consider them as negligible. In fact, with a healthy diet which hopefully is what you needed the salt for in the first place, you won’t be lacking those minerals.
Keto and Redmond Real Salt hype similarity
This reminds me of what’s going on the keto community. The keto folks believe so much in Redmond Real Salt (which is basically Sea Salt) as being superior to table salt. So much so that they now carry pocket-sized redmond real salt wherever they go. Ridiculous!
The Redmond Real Salt has the same nutritional profile as the himalayan salt and as expected is marketed to the ketogenic community similarly. And these keto folk have bought into it. Big time.
As for taste, well if you made salt water with himalayan salt and regular table salt, I guarantee you, you won’t notice any difference in taste when you drink both. It’s the same Salt water regardless of the salt in it.
All rock salt whether it’s Sea salt, Himalayan salt, Redmond salt have roughly the same amount of Sodium Chloride and this has been tested in various labs, by the way. Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype and their expensive price tags.
Bottom line: forget those health benefits of organic himalayan salt, sea salt, redmond real salt. They are pure hot air. Not worth your money.
Is Himalayan salt iodized?
Himalayan salt may contain the tiniest amount of natural iodine mineral and I mean tiny. So tiny that it’s best ignored. It’s best to say, himalayan salt is not iodized.
If you want to use iodized salt for your cooking to furnish your thyroid gland with supplemental iodine, you are better off buying a manufactured iodized table salt. Don’t rely on the himalayan salt as your source of supplemental iodine.
Is Himalayan salt good for you?
Next question is whether himalayan salt is good for you or not.
Answer: Yes and No.
Himalayan is good for you in so far as any salt is good for you. You need to be careful how much salt you consume daily especially if you have high blood pressure. Recommended daily salt intake is 1500 mg.
Please do not consume lots of himalayan salt in the hope that you are improving your health doing so. You’re not. Use salt to taste whether in a drink or in food.
And No, himalayan salt is not good for your health any more than table salt is.
All the health benefit claims that organic himalayan salt is good for your blood pressure, makes you sleep better, good for your thyroid, relieves headache, improves adrenal function, good for weight management, makes your circulation better etc are all unsupported claims as far as the science goes.
Don’t get sucked in by retailers and their unsubstantiated himalayan salt goodness claims. Your regular table salt is as good as the himalayan salt or redmond real salt and much less expensive.
Ever since I posted the nitric oxide dump exercise routine video, I have had a number of questions.
Some of them include; what is nitric oxide dump, why do a nitric oxide dump (the benefits of nitric oxide), why call it ‘dump’ and what does the nitric oxide dump do.
So, you are in luck because I am going to answer these nitric oxide related questions here for you.
I will also tell you about the surge in sales of arginine and citrulline supplements as possible substitutes for viagra.
Oh yes, there’s a relationship between arginine, citrulline and nitric oxide. I’ll explain that…and even link up nitric oxide with the popular viagra pill.
Are arginine and citrulline supplements worth your money? Are they the silver bullet for erectile dysfunction?
Plus you get to know if dark chocolate does boost nitric oxide levels in the body too, right here. A lot to cover.
But before then, I should say a ‘Big Thank You’ to you folks for giving my nitric oxide dump exercise video a nice leg up on the You Tube platform. It’s 11 days since I posted the video and at the time of writing, the video has garnered over 250,000 views. Awesome!
The purists will say, what’s there to shout about? After all, there are videos with 5 million views and counting…
Well, a lot actually…
…because my channel is a relatively new one on the You Tube platform with a small subscriber base.
So, over a quarter of million views in 11 days for this video, is something I am certainly proud of. As I write, the momentum of the views has decelerated considerably but I enjoyed it whilst the momentum lasted. Thank you all.
If you’re not sure what I am talking about, the video will be embedded on this page on the relevant section. Don’t worry.
Okay, let’s get back on track and talk about the nitric oxide dump exercise routine.
What is Nitric oxide?
It sort of makes sense to talk about the molecule of nitric oxide first; before we dive into what nitric oxide dump is. What is nitric oxide?
Allow me to take you on short walk on Geek Street. Don’t worry. It’s not going to be long. But it’s essential to our understanding of the concept of the dump and it’s benefits.
The substance, Nitric oxide has come a long way. It’s formula is NO. It is a gas molecule. A colourless gas. It’s journey of discovery ended in 1992 when it got the title of ‘Molecule of the Year‘.
Through years of intense research Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad finally uncovered this beautiful nitric oxide as a signalling molecule for the cardiovascular system.
Inside the body, nitric oxide is a free radical. So, even though we always talk about getting rid of free radicals in the body, nitric oxide is one free radical you want to embrace and keep. For good.
Nitric oxide is a biologically active compound. It’s a mesenger molecule involved in a lot of biological processes in both mammals and plants. The main enzyme responsible for its synthesis is Nitric Oxide Synthase.
That’s the link between arginine and nitric oxide. You need arginine to make nitric oxide.
This is probably the reason why some Nutraceutical companies have now developed arginine supplements. The premise is to boost nitric oxide production by making the amino acid arginine readily available in the body, but the results have been very disappointing.
High arginine levels in the body through supplemental arginine does not appear to be an effective way of achieving high nitric oxide levels in the body. There’s something about synthetic arginine amino acid that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Maybe the nitric oxide synthase enzyme doesn’t quite warm up to synthetic arginine. Which is just as well.
Because one has to be careful in attempting to over-promote the production nitric oxide in the body especially through the use of supplements. The reason is that there has been some research to suggest that nitric oxide in excess may play a role in cancer genesis.
This paper seems to suggest nitric oxide may be involved in some of the events mediating cancer origin like formation of new blood vessels.
But don’t panic just yet about the role of nitric oxide in cancer. Because the silver lining is that; this study tells us that nitric oxide actaully kills cancer cells. They used nitric oxide in the treatment of mouth cancer successfully.
Also this study talks about the power of nitric oxide to suppress cancer growth as well as the spread of cancer in the body. It’s role in cancer treatment and prevention appears to supercede any suspicion of it’s involvement in cancer causation. So, please don’t fret, okay.
Nitric oxide is very diffusible. Meaning it permeates cell membranes very easily once it is signalled to commence work, because nitric oxide is very water soluble.
Talking about oral supplementation to boost nitric oxide production.
Nutraceutical companies have gone a step further to make L-citrulline supplements to increase nitric oxide levels. L-citrulline is another amino acid. A non-essential amino acid.
Some have gone one more step to combine Arginine and citrulline together like this one here for convenience.
L-citrulline is converted into L-arginine by the kidneys. The L-arginine is then converted to nitric oxide. A lot of these supplements have been developed to serve as alternatives to the popular drug, Viagra.
Of course, we all know about viagra and blood flow and what it does to fix erectile dysfunction.
Feedback from people who have used citrulline supplements have been disappointing. No better than a placebo effect. Even this reseach paper here confirmed the futility of citrulline use and failure to increase blood flow.
Could the failure of citrulline substitution for arginine and failure to ignite substantial nitric oxide production be due to the low levels of glutamineas shown here? It’s difficult to say.
What’s the link between viagra and nitric oxide?
Viagra (Sildenafil) works by boosting the amount of nitric oxide’s signalling partner cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP) available in the penile tissue.
Viagra does that by blocking the enzyme that promotes the breakdown of cGMP. This action relatively makes the job of smooth muscle relaxation easy for the available nitric oxide.
So, a small rise in nitric oxide level will go a long way (no pun intended).
Smooth muscle relaxation in the penis results in vasodilation and a rush of blood to the penis. Happy days!
Bottomline: Arginine or citrulline supplements are not suitable viagra substitutes. You’re not going to get the same results. You may use these supplements for workout purposes, if you like.
What is Nitric Oxide dump?
Okay, let’s depart Geek Street and talk about natural nitric oxide boosting mechanisms. Because that’s what the nitric oxide dump is about.
The nitric oxide dump is an exercise routine that is designed to trigger the release of the nitric oxide from the lining of the blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide is usually stored in the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessel wall).
Once released from the endothelium, it gets to work diffusing across cell membranes. This results in the relaxation of the blood vessel wall leading to to what we call vasodilation.
The net result: lower blood pressure amongst other multitude of benefits.
Why is the exercise routine called Nitric oxide dump?
I know ‘dump’ not a flattering name.
But the simple reason it is called ‘dump’ is because we are initiating a process that dumps nearly all of the available nitric oxide in the “storage tanks” into the blood circulation in one go.
Do this exercise and you empty the the nitric oxide tanks, if you like. Don’t worry, the tanks will be re-filled.
What makes up the nitric oxide dump exercise routine?
There are 4 exercises that make up the nitric oxide routine and they are:
1) The Squat
2) Circular Arm Swing
3) Static Forward March
4) Shoulder Press
To save me describing them and how to perform them, watch video below. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words.
I recommend performing 20 reps for each of the 4 exercises. That makes a total of 80 reps. Those 80 reps constitute 1 set.
I also recommend 3 sets. By the time you have completed the 3 sets, you would have done 240 reps in total.
And guess what? It only takes 4 minutes. Just 4 minutes to perform. Very time-efficient.
What does the Nitric Oxide dump do?
As explained above, the nitric oxide dump exercises trigger the release of the stored notric oxide from the lining of the blood vessel walls. That causes a surge in nitric oxide levels in the blood circulation.
Because of the solubility of the nitric oxide, it diffuses across cells. In particular, within the cells of the blood vessel wall, nitric oxide signals the muscle cells around to relax. That’s why nitric oxide is referred to as endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF).
This leads to vasodilation. The net result: lower blood pressure, better blood flow, better supply of oxygen and nutrients to tissues. Better health.
There’s more. Even though at the start of the nitric oxide dump exercise routine, the exercise is not involved in the production of the molecule, it actually stimulates the production of more nitric oxide.
Why…because as you use up the stored nitric oxide following the exercise routine, more nitric oxide production is stimulated. The used up nitric oxide has to be replaced.
So, performining the nitric oxide dump exercise routine boosts further production of this all-important substance in our body. Not a bad deal, is it?
Why do a nitric oxide dump?
You do the nitric oxide dump exercise routine for one principal reason. Release and boost your nitric oxide levels in your body. Simple.
I suppose your next question is; what does nitric oxide do or what are the benefits of nitric oxide?
Before I talk about the benefits of doing the Nitric oxide dump, I just want to say something about issue of dark chocolates boosting nitric oxide. Well, yes, you can achieve a boost with dark chocolate, within reason.
But you must ensure it is a 90% dark chocolate as opposed to anything below that. The reason is the higher the percentage, the more the cacao levels in the chocolate bar. Meaning less additives and less processed.
The more cacao in the product, the better the nitric oxide boosting potential of the dark chocolate product. I talk more about that here.
So, here are the benefits of boosting nitric oxide and also by implication benefits of the nitric oxide dump exercise:
Excellent for blood pressure control
Improves heart health
Enhanced oxygen delivery to your body cells
Improved mitochondrial (the power house of your cells) function
Improved blood circulation
Reduces stickiness of your blood, thereby preventing blood clots
Protects lean body mass
More benefits of doing nitric oxide dump exercise include:
Promotes fat loss
Reduces the risk of plaque formation on the walls of your arteries
Increases VO2 max thereby boosting oxygen utilisation during exercise
Improves exercise endurance
Slows down cognitive decline
Improves erectile dysfunction – a natural free viagra
Boosts immune system function
Reduces cell death
Calms down nerves
There are more advantages of having your nitric oxide levels boosted by performing the dump routine, but I’ll have to stop there for now.
Now, looking at all of these benefits, it’s time for me to do my evening session of nitric oxide dump routine. Won’t miss it for the world!
Ever wondered if you can use herbal teas for high blood pressure? On this page, you’re going to grab 8 herbal teas that will assist you in lowering your blood pressure. Drinking tea is beneficial for your health. It’s not just a pastime.
Of course, you can drink tea as an activity for enjoyment purposes. You may of course drink teas as an exercise of escapism, if you like; but you get so much more. Rather than go on social media for instance, you can drink tea to let the minutes slip by.
If anything you do both. Drink tea and be on social media, if that’s your thing.
But there’s something in the horizon in the world of teas. Herbal teas.
Herbal teas are your new liquid foods.
Herbal teas have grown in popularity in the last couple of years. As we turn to alternative therapies for our health, herbal teas have taken a surge in sales and popularity.
Blood pressure management is no different. People with high blood pressure can use herbal teas to control their blood pressure. They work and some of them have been scientifically tested to prove their efficacy.
Conventional anti hypertensive medications work in different ways. So do these herbal teas for high blood pressure. They work differently. What does this mean?
It means to have the best results, you’ll need to drink different herbal teas to get your blood pressure under control. That is the best approach. We’re going to take advantage of the hypertensive reducing properties of these natural remedies for high blood pressure.
So, what herbal teas for high blood pressure?
Yes, let’s talk about the different herbal teas you can use to control high blood pressure. The idea is to use these herbal teas below as herbal remedies for blood pressure.
As I said in the video below, you shouldn’t rely on these herbal teas exclusively for your blood pressure control. You should use them as part of a wider strategy for your blood pressure control.
Below is a list of 8 herbal teas that you can use for blood pressure reduction.
Cat’s Claw Tea
This tea has a funny name. At first glance, you’d think it’s made from the claws of cats. Nothing could be further from the truth. I suppose it’s named cat’s claw because of the way the spikes project out of the Uncaria tree stem. There are 2 species of the plant from which cat’s claw tea is made.
One specie is called Uncaria Tormentosa and the other is Uncaria guianensis. Cat’s claw is a plant with powerful phytochemicals. Indeed, the phytochemicals are known to:
Have cancer fighting properties
Improve the filtering capability of our kidneys
That last function does have implications for our blood pressure. Because good filtration will contract our blood volume, getting rid of excess water and waste. This translates to lower blood pressure. So, cat’s claw tea is good for high blood pressure control.
Apart from that, cat’s claw tea has other medicinal uses. Cat’s claw tea is good for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthrits, chronic fatigue syndrome, shingles, herpes virus infection etc.
I should point out that cat’s claw may interact with some blood pressure medications like Losartan, Captopril, Enalapril, Hydrochlorothiazide, Diltiazem, Valsartan, Amlodipne, Furosemide.
So, if you are using any of these medications you should be careful with cat’s claw tea because a combination of cat’s claw tea and these meds can make your blood pressure drop too low.
Indeed, if you are taking cat’s claw tea and you’re going for surgery, it’s a good idea to stop using cat’s claw tea for 10 days prior to surgery. Otherwise your anesthesiologist may have problems stabilizing your blood pressure when you’re under anaesthesia.
This is a tropical plant. Its botanical name is Hibiscus Sabdariffa. I grew up with this plant and I can confirm that hibiscus plant and it’s flowers are a beauty to behold. Even more beautiful in the mornings. What I didn’t know watching this beautiful plant in my childhood is that; it has fairly good medicinal properties.
Yes, hibiscus tea has blood pressure lowering effect. And you should take advantage of this.
Hibiscus tea has a combined tarty and sweet flavour. This is coupled with an eye-catching lighter than beetroot red colour.
Does hibiscus tea reduce blood pressure?
Answer: Yes, it does. Hibiscus teas was put to the test in this study. Individuals with mild hypertension who were not any anti hypertensive medications were given hibiscus tea against a placebo group.
Over a 6-week period, the hibiscus group showed a reduction in both their systolic blood pressure (top number) and a reduction in their diastolic blood pressure as well.
The reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number) was more and the higher the blood pressure, the better the results they got. Bear in mind that the participants in that study consumed 3 cups of hibiscus tea a day.
The researchers concluded that daily consumption of hibiscus tea should be encouraged as part of our diet because of its blood pressure lowering effect.
Hawthorn tea makes the list of herbal teas for high blood pressure. Hawthorn tea is listed in the Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy as one of the foods to consume for good health and for blood pressure control.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the concept of food as medicine is based on the classification of foods as being a functional entity and a nutritional agent at the same time.
This review talks about the 4 pinciples of foods that make up traditional chinese medicine. It says:
“Four principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy including light eating, balancing the “hot” and “cold” nature of food, the harmony of the five flavors of food, and consistency between dietary intake and different health conditions, can be used to facilitate hypertension control”
As for hawthorn tea making the list, that is not surprising because the leaves, the berries as well as the flowers of the hawthorn plant are packed with phytochemicals that help to control blood pressure.
Apart from the fact that Hawthorn plant lowers blood pressure, it has also been used as a digestive aid, for menstrual problems as well as for anxiety.
Hawthorn tea has been shown to lower triglycerides and even cholesterol. With this protective effect on your circulatory system, the blood pressure reducing potential is not hard to see.
Talking of natural remedies for high blood pressure, chamomile plays a huge role too. This tea is made from the flowers of the chamomile plant.
There are 2 types. The Roman chamomile and the German Chamomile. Chamomile tea has flavonols and polyphenols.
Chamomile tea contains phytochemicals such as apigenin, quercetin, patuletin as well as luteolin. Some of these phytochemicals in chamomile tea provide anxiety-relieving effect on your body. Chamomile tea does have mild laxative effect and also exhibits anti-iflammatory properties too.
Apart from relieving anxiety, chamomile tea is a sleep enhancer. Anything that enhances your sleep is a boost for your blood pressure control.
The plant from which this tea is made originates from South Africa. For the most part, rooibos tea is still grown and produced in South Africa and exported worldwide.
Rooibos tea also called Red Bush Tea has nearly the same colour as hibiscus tea but hibiscus tea has a deeper shade of red.
Before the rooibos tea comes off the production line, it undergoes oxidisation and fermentation. The oxidisation is similar to black tea production process. Even though both rooibos tea and black tea are oxidised, they do not orginate from the same plant. And Rooibos tea is caffeine free whilst black tea isn’t.
Rooibos tea has polyphenols and flavones. In particular, rooibos tea contains aspalathin. This aspalathin phytochemical has anti-inflammatory properties. Aspalathin reduces inflammation on blood vessel wall.
Another reason why Rooibos tea counts as one of the natural remedies for high blood pressure is it’s anti-anxiety effect. Controlling anxiety has hypertensive reducing effects.
This is one of the oldest herbal teas around. It’s been used for centuries. Lemon balm tea has been used as natural remedy for all sorts of ailments.
Conditions like menstrual cramps, bloating, gas issues, gerd, vomiting, thyroid issues, ADHD etc have been treated with lemon balm tea with varying success.
Lemon balm tea has an exciting lemon flavour. The botanical name of the plant from which lemon balm tea is made is melissa officinalis. Drinking this tea produces a sense of well being. A sense of calm.
This lemon balm tea is ideal for anyone who has issues with restlessness, anxiety and sleep issues. If you sleep well, you’re giving your blood pressure a helping hand.
If there’s one herbal tea that has had the highest surge in popularity, it’s green tea. And if there’s any herbal tea that has been abused as well, it’s green tea.
Green tea comes from the plant, Camellia Sinensis. Green tea is not an oxidized tea. The oxidized brother is black tea. But green tea has less caffeine in it than black tea. Both green tea and black tea come from the same plant.
The active ingredient in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate. The flavonoids in green tea is what makes it a nice herbal tea for high blood pressure.
Here’s something you should know though.
If you’re going to use green tea for your blood pressure control, please make sure it is decaffeinated variety. Caffeine has a stiffening effect on your blood vessels, albeit a temporary effect.
Therefore, you don’t want the caffeinated green tea if you have high blood pressure. Decaffeinated green tea is what lowers blood pressure. Not the caffeinated variety.
As far as natural remedies go, the Arabs have used dandelion as a herb from as early as the 12th century. So, it’s got some pedigree behind it. The root of the dandelion can be used in foods as a root vegetable.
However, when not prepared fresh, the dandelion root can be dried up and used to make a refreshing cup of tea. This tea has a robust earthy flavour.
Dandelion root contains lots of phytochemicals like saponins, lutein, mucilage, coumarins along with minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese and iron. Dandelion tea also boasts Vitamin C, thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin.
So, what gives dandelion root its anti hypertensive property?
The high level of potassium in dandelion root tea is what makes it a good blood pressure lowering tea.
How should you drink these herbal teas for high blood pressure?
Well, drink them just like any other herbal tea. I drink them as they are – plain. All the herbal teas I have mentioned here are caffeine-free.
You should not be drinking caffeinated teas if you desire hypertensive reducing advantage from them. Fortunately, the herbal teas here are all caffeine-free.
Add boiled water to the tea and allow the tea to brew for at least 5 minutes. The idea is to allow the nutrients and active ingredients in these teas to seep out before removing the tea bag.
You should look to drink as many of these blood pressure lowering teas as possible every day. Aim to drink 5 different types of these herbal teas per day.
Because I get busy during the day, one of the things I do in the evenings is to add 4 or 5 different teas into one cup. Brew as explained above and I enjoy all of my teas in one go. I call it Combination Tea Therapy.
That Combination Tea Therapy works for me. That way I don’t miss out on my daily tea therapy from the different herbal teas on this page.
Can you add sugar to these herbal teas for high blood pressure?
Ordinarily, the teas should be drunk plain. But I realize that some people may not like the original taste of each of these teas. So, you may add a healthy sugar alternative, if you want to sweeten these blood pressure herbal teas.
Please do not use refined sugar. If you have high blood pressure, refined sugar is something you should be looking to avoid anyway.
In the same vein, if you wish to add milk, that would be your choice. Milk and a healthy sugar substitute will not reduce their efficacy. But I prefer not to use any milk or milk substitute.
One question that bothers quite a lot of people is whether coffee does raise blood pressure or not. If you drink coffee, this is something you’d like to know the truth about.
And I am here to clear the confusion about coffee (and acffeinated tea) and blood pressure. And as a bonus you get to know if coffee will raise your blood sugar or not as well. How cool is that?
This is very important because millions of people drink coffee everyday. And millions of people all over the world have high blood pressure. In fact, high blood pressure is leading cause of health problems in a lot of countries.
Is it possible that habitual coffee drinking may be contributing to the problem we have regarding high blood pressure worldwide? It is not impossible to think along those lines.
But I suspect such reasoning might lead us the wrong path.
Yes, millions of people drink coffee habitually. Yes, millions of people have high blood pressure. But so do non-coffee drinkers too. Occassional coffeee drinkers or those who do not drink coffeee at all for whatever reason; also do suffer from high blood pressure.
Oh, let’s not forget. There are those who do not drink coffee but drink lots of tea with caffeine in them. Caffeine is not only present in coffee beans but also in a lot of tea leaves too.
With many people turning to natural remedies for their health problems, it is not surprising that herbal teas like green tea and black tea have become a staple in many homes.
For instance, some people use green tea to help with their diabetes and sugar levels. There are claims that green tea can prevent diabetes and help control glucose levels, hence.
Green tea, oolong tea, black tea all come from the same plant. The plant is called Camelia Sinensis. What makes those teas different is the way they are processed.
What binds those 3 teas together is that they all contain caffeine. But these teas end up with different amounts of caffeine through the processing. You can try an experiment by drinking these teas at different times and see how their caffeine content gives you that psychoactive kick. Just like the kick you get from coffee.
So, if we are going to clear the confusion on relationship between coffee and blood pressure, we might as well include caffeinated teas.
How about we look at what the science is actually saying.
Does coffee raise blood pressure?
May be we should asking the question, does caffeine raise blood pressure instead of asking about coffeee only.
Here are some salient facts.
Caffeine present in coffee and some teas is a vasoconstrictor. What does vasoconstriction mean in lay terms?
A vasoconstrictor is a substance capable of making the blood vessel wall less stretchy or less relaxed. You want your blood vessel walls to be relaxed as the blood is coursing through them.
Relaxed blood vessels have lower blood pressure because the compliant wall decreases the pressure within. A vasoconstrictor does the opposite of this. It makes the vessel wall (in this case, the wall of the arteries) stiffer and less compliant. That’s what a vasoconstrictor does.
Which means a vasoconstrictor, by having that pressor effect on the blood vessel wall, will raise your blood pressure. That’s just scientific fact. We can’t escape that. And caffeine is a vasoconstrictor.
Which means your coffee because it’s got caffeine in it; will have that same pressor effect I talked about. So, coffee will raise your blood pressure upon absorption of the caffeine in it. Fact!
But by how much?
Yes, coffee or caffeine will raise your blood pressure but how high should we expect the blood pressure to rise?
Well, good question but, even this query is not easy to give a ballpark figure. Because there are other variables to come into the mix and these variables confound the results of research too.
So factors like:
Other lifestyle factors
All of these affect how we respond to caffeine in general and coffee in particular.
This Study for instance tells us a systolic (top number) rise of 4 mmHg and 2.4 mmHg for diastolic (bottom number) is exepected for caffeine and 1.2 mmHg Systolic rise (top number) and 0.4 mmHg rise in diastolic (bottom number) should be expected for coffee.
Whereas, in this study, caffeine produced a systolic (top number) rise of 8 mmHg and 5.7 mmHg rise in diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).
Talking about caffeine means we can also talk about Green Tea and Black Tea because they both contain caffeine. In this study both the green tea and black tea produced a rise in blood pressure.
Black tea raised systolic blood pressure by up to 10.7 mmHg and 5.1 mmHg for diastolic compared to 5.5 mmHg systolic rise and 3.1 mmHg diastolic rise for green tea. This is not surprising because black tea has more caffeine than green tea.
So all in all, we should expect coffee to push up our blood pressure by around about 8 mmHg systolic (top number) and 4 mmHg rise in diastolic blood pressure.
It would appear that black tea will raise blood pressure more than coffee in comparison, looking at a lot of the studies I have examined. But of course, there are other factors to consider. Not least, being a habitual drinker.
Habitual coffee drinkers seem to develop some level of tolerance to the caffeine over time. This study tells us that the rise in blood pressure was seen in only non-habitual coffee drinkers when they looked at the effects of espresso on blood pressure.
Bottomline: Expect a rise in your blood pressure reading after consuming coffee or any caffeinated teas. The rise in BP is modest though.
How soon after should we expect a blood pressure rise with coffee?
Age, sex, habitual coffee consumption also need to be taken into consideration here. However, from the research the blood pressure effect begins at around about the 30 minutes mark. Certainly after 1 hour of coffee consumption, you should see the blood pressure effect of coffee quite vividly.
If you check your blood pressure at 30 minutes and 1 hour mark; you should know if your coffee has increased your blood pressure or not.
How long does the effect of coffee on blood pressure last?
The blood pressure effect of coffee will last an average of about 3 hours. It could be longer or less but it is exepected that the blood pressure rise initiated by coffee will last an average of 3 hours.
Does coffee have a long term damage on cardiovascular health?
Does drinking coffee produce any long term damage on your cardiovascular health? Not really.
The blood pressure increasing effect of coffee (or caffeine) is in the short-term. When the subjects blood pressures were monitored over 24 hours in this study of tea, the caffeine effects on blood pressure were only seen in the acute phase but not in subsequent ambulatory BP readings.
This study also confirms the same theory too. It says that even though coffee does raise BP, there was “no association between longer-term coffee consumption and increased BP or between habitual coffee consumption and an increased risk of CVD”
In fact, this study tells us that coffee consumption is good for our cardiovascular health when drunk in moderate quantities. It says:
“Moderate coffee consumption was inversely significantly associated with CVD risk, with the lowest CVD risk at 3 to 5 cups per day, and heavy coffee consumption was not associated with elevated CVD risk”
So, we can safely say that in the long term, coffee consumption does not appear to cause any damage to our heart and blood vessels. Because the effect of coffee on blood pressure is temporary.
What is safe level of coffee (caffeine) consumption per day?
Safe level of coffee (caffeine) consumption levels is 300 – 400mg per day. Safe level of coffee (caffeine) consumption in simple terms amounts to 3 – 4 standard cups of coffee per day or 4 – 9 cups of tea per day
Does coffee raise blood sugar and insulin levels?
I know this topic is about coffee drinking and blood pressure but a quick word about coffee and blood sugar wouldn’t go amiss for completeness. The reason is most people who have concerns about their BP reading when they drink coffee also worry about the effect of coffee (caffeine) on their blood sugar levels too.
Not to mention that they may be concerned about coffee and their insulin level.
Truth be told, just like coffee and blood pressure studies, the results for coffee (caffeine) and blood sugar are mixed.
For instance, this meta-analysis tells us that caffeine intake increases blood glucose levels. Not just that, in majority of the studies they pooled together, the study results suggest that caffeine intake whether it be from coffee or tea prolongs the period of high blood sugar levels.
Some other reports like this one did not make any significant association either way, so long as the intake of coffee or caffeine was limited to 2.5 mg/kg body weight per day.
The same could be said for relationship between caffeine and insulin levels and insulin sensitivity. Some studies suggest caffeine (coffee) will raise insulin levels, other say coffee or caffeine has no effect on insulin.
Others like this one however indicate caffeine or coffee is good for type 2 diabetes. Meaning coffee has a protective effect and actually improves insulin sensitivity. So, consuming coffee means you need less insulin to drop your blood glucose levels.
Of course, what type of diet you’re on matters here. If you’re having a diet of refined carbs and refined sugar, I do not think drinking coffee is going to come to your rescue from spiralling blood sugars.
You can do a little experiment with coffee and your blood glucose levels. If you’re a diabetic, this should be pretty easy for you. Do the coffee-blood glucose experiment and see the effect of caffeine on your blood sugar.
I can tell you from my own personal experience that coffee does raise my blood gluose levels; even though I am no longer diabetic. I would imagine that there will be a corresponding rise in my insulin levels too when I drink coffee too.
If you have type 2 diabetes and you’re having difficulty with your diabetic blood sugar control, it may be reasonable to reduce your coffee consumption levels. Because everyone is different. The coffee may be sabotaging your glucose control.
High Blood Pressure and Coffee
Now, let me say a word about coffee and people with high blood pressure. Should you drink coffee if you have high blood pressure?
Of course, you can drink coffee if you have high blood pressure. But you need to be careful.
When your blood pressure rises with coffee use, the effect is not responsive to high blood pressure medications. It is a sustained effect that is not easily reversed with high blood pressure pills.
Secondly, the effect of coffee or caffeine on people with high blood pressure is much more dramatic compared to people without high blood pressure (non-hypertensives).
So, whereas, you may have a rise of 6 mmHg systolic in someone without high blood pressure, you who has high blood pressure may experience a systolic rise of 12 mmHg or higher.
Now remember, I said earlier on that BP increase with coffee does last up to 3 hours. Imagine, if you are one of those people who drinks several cups of coffee a day.
Imagine a situation where you’re constantly topping up your coffee fix when you are experiencing a caffeine crash every 4 hours or so. What do you think will happen?
Your elevated blood pressure reading will be sustained. Because whenever your blood pressure is beginning to settle, you spike it again with your top-up coffee.
Can you see how you can sabotage your blood pressure control efforts by your coffee drinking habits?
Here’s something else…
Everyone is different when it comes to coffee and blood pressure. How?
This study tell us that genetic differences play a huge role in how we respond to coffee. Some people will metabolise their caffeine very quickly. Others will deal with their caffeine load a lot slower.
Which one are you?
Obviously those fast metabolizers are at advantage because they can quickly off-load their caffeine and will have fewer adverse effects on their blood pressure.
A slow metabolizer (like myself) will have a longer and arguably more profound adverse effect on blood pressure. Now, you see why I said you need to exercise some care regarding blatant use of coffee and other caffeinated products, if you have hypertension.
What should you do if you suffer from hypertension and you are a coffee drinker?
1. Test yourself. Check yoour blood pressure 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours and 3 hours and even 4 hours after drinking your coffee. See how your blood pressure is behaving. If the effect on your blood pressure is still on-going over a 3-hour period, you’re definitely a slow metabolizer of caffeine.
2. If you experience blood pressure changes, switch to decaffeinated variety. This should apply to both coffee and tea. The more profound the caffeine effect on your blood pressure, the more drastic you should do this.
3. If you must drink caffeinated variety for whatever reason, limit yourself to just 1 cup a day.
Those tips should serve you well in your coffee and caffeine lifestyle journey. Hopefully I have successfully clarified the coffee and blood pressure confusion.
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