Salt & Blood Pressure on a Keto Diet
You go to any old school doctor and they’re going to tell you that if your blood pressure’s high, you need to decrease your sodium intake. Well, that’s living in the past, science has changed. Everything has evolved in the world of our diets and in the world of health in general. Let’s talk today about your blood pressure and what’s really causing this rise, I’ll tell you it’s not salt. Hey, I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and let’s get into some keto science in the world of blood pressure.
First off, we have to know the importance of lower blood pressure. There are a lot of links that show that if your blood pressure is lower, you’re going to live longer. There was a study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a big study. It took a look at 10,000 participants over a number of years and overall, they found that if subjects had a blood pressure of 120 or lower with their systolic blood pressure, they on average lived 21% longer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that having low blood pressure is the end all be all, there could be a lot of other factors there that caused the blood pressure to go up in the first place. But we do know that generally speaking, if your blood pressure is lower, you’re usually a healthier person. Now to understand blood pressure really quick we have to look at systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the blood pressure when your heart is contracting, so when your heart beats, it sends blood throughout your body. This systolic blood pressure is the pressure of the blood pushing out on the arteries right after the heart beats. Then we have diastolic blood pressure, that’s sort of the opposite, it’s when your heart is not beating. It’s when it’s relaxing and it’s the blood pressure that is exerted on the artery at that point in time. So that’s how we know kind of the difference between the two.
Now let’s talk about salt for a second. Salt is not necessarily the culprit. You see, salt does play a big role in fluid retention, so yes, if you do consume some salt, you might see an increase in your blood pressure. But it is not the end all be all. In fact, there are a lot of other indirect things that sort of act as a catalyst to make salt have a more profound effect. You see the bigger problem comes down to carbohydrates and comes down to sugar in general and really just insulin. You see, there’s something known as hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia is when your insulin levels are chronically elevated. Someone that consumes a lot of carbohydrates all the time is going to have a high level of insulin, this high level of insulin does something unique to the kidneys, it tells the kidneys to hold on to water and sodium. Normally one of the jobs of the kidneys is to expel sodium and water but if we have lots of insulin, the kidneys sort of do the opposite, they tell the body to hold onto it. When the kidneys are telling the body to hold on to water and sodium, of course your blood pressure’s going to increase. You’re going to have more water volume in your blood so you’re going to have more blood. You’re going to have more sodium so you’re going to have an expansion of that, which means your blood pressure’s going to go up. Now, if you were to have lower levels of insulin, your kidneys would be excreting the water and salt and your blood pressure would go down.
There’s another factor and this is called insulin resistance. If you eat a lot of carbs or a lot of sugar for an extended period of time, you start to become what is called insulin resistant. Insulin resistant is just like the name implies. It’s where your body doesn’t really register insulin anymore. It becomes sort of blunted to insulin. What ends up happening there is the cells don’t absorb things nearly as well, that’s why diabetic people end up with higher blood sugar. They’re not absorbing sugar. But little do people know, it makes it so that you don’t absorb magnesium either and magnesium plays a very critical role in the muscles being able to relax within the body and that includes muscles that are in our arterial walls. So, it allows muscles and arteries to relax. A relaxed muscle and a relaxed artery end up having a lower blood pressure because it’s not tight and tense all the time. Another thing that this does when you’re lacking magnesium or you’re not absorbing other minerals, is it disrupts cellular communication. If you don’t have proper cellular communication or a proper electric system as I like to call it, you’re never going to be able to get the right signaling to increase or decrease blood pressure properly.
Now there’s other things we have to factor in too like when our magnesium levels are all out of whack, so are our sodium and our potassium levels. Without absorbing magnesium, we’re not able to have the right effect. There’s one other piece to the equation and that’s the fructose nitric oxide correlation. You see with fructose, or more commonly high fructose corn syrup, the body has to metabolize at 100% in the liver. Now this metabolism in the liver causes a disruption in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what increases blood flow. If blood can move freely, blood pressure can be controlled. So, if fructose slows down the production of nitric oxide, then we have restricted blood flow, which means the blood volume is still there but it’s restricted and this vasoconstriction means that the blood pressure elevates.
So now we look at all this. How do we connect the dots with keto? Well, there’s one study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and this study really puts it all together and makes it very obvious that the keto diet, or at least a lower carb diet, could be the potential solution to high blood pressure. This study took a look at 146 subjects, broken into two groups. One group did a keto diet with less than 20 grams of carbs per day and another group ate a more conventional, low calorie diet, along with prescription weight loss medications. Both groups on average had a 500 to 1000 calorie deficit. They were both in a weight loss category where they’re trying to lose weight, but what researchers wanted to look at was which one had a better effect on blood pressure. When it came down to the systolic blood pressure, they found that the keto diet on average had a decrease of 5.9 millimeters per mercury versus 1.5 millimeters per mercury in the non-keto group. 5.9 versus 1.5, huge difference right then and there. Now when it came down to the diastolic readings, the keto group saw a decrease in 4.5 millimeters of mercury where the non-keto group only saw a decrease of 0.4 millimeters of mercury. That’s pretty obvious right there, it has to do with what I already stated before. The insulin, the overall carb intake, and the overall retention of sodium and water.
So, when you consume extra salt on a keto diet, it doesn’t really affect your blood pressure because you’re not having the carbs as the catalyst to tell your body to hold onto it. But how do you know if you’re in a keto diet? How do you know if you’re really doing it right? Well again, that is exactly where utilizing the Keto-Mojo meter comes in. You don’t want to guess all the time, you don’t want to just say I’m reducing my carb intake and am on the road to being healthier. I mean that’s a good start but when it comes down to getting granular, you want to be measuring. The Keto-Mojo meter will tell you exactly where your blood levels are at of ketones, specifically beta hydroxybutyrate, which is the main ketone body. You have to rely on data and science, you can’t just float through life using guess work all the time. Make sure you check out the Keto-Mojo meter, leave the guess work out of the occasion and use the actual measuring to the meter. As always, keep it locked in here with Keto-Mojo and I’ll see you in the next video.