Posted 2/14/2013 6:30 AM (GMT -7)
I now have ulcerative colitis but never had high blood pressure. All my life it measured around 115/120 over 68/72. When I was in a UC flare a few years ago I would regularly visit doctors who would routinely measure my blood pressure and it never changed, 115 over 68 or so. But there is serious hypertension in my family.
I measured it several times last summer and it was low. Then around Thanksgiving I saw a measurement of 135/78 which is slightly higher than I am used to but nothing to worry about. Then around Christmas I measured it several times over a week averaging around 150 over 100. That was when I started to panic. I wanted to do whatever is necessary to bring it back down.
I am not like Steve Jobs and eschew conventional medicine out-of-hand. If I could not bring the BP down then I will have to go to doctors and get medication, but first I wanted to try lifestyle changes. Nutrients that lower BP are calcium, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10. I have already been taking magnesium most of my life so I started adding some Q10.
But the biggest lifestyle change was the sodium/potassium ratio of my food intake. Recently I began eating less potassium-rich fruit and vegetables. I stopped pigging out on cherries and plums and vegetables like seaweed and kale because they trigger ulcerative colitis symptoms. So I was eating less potassium-rich vegetables and quit drinking fruit juices. For example, one glass of orange juice contains 450 mg of potassium with zero sodium.
It is probably no coincidence that my BP spiked around the holidays when I was eating more processed food and went to the movies several times, eating their highly salted theater popcorn. I acquired a taste for bleu cheese because I heard that it is an excellent prebiotic for beneficial gut flora that stabilizes my UC. I ate bleu cheese almost every day sprinkling it on salads, even putting it in omelets, but that bleu cheese is packed with salt.
So I drastically cut back on sodium and increased my intake of potassium by eating more fruit and vegetables. If you look at food charts you will see that almost all fruit and vegetables have hundreds of grams of potassium with virtually zero grams of sodium. In the old days before processed foods people had to go to the salt licks to get their sodium in order to balance their overwhelming potassium. And there seems to be something magical about celery that lowers BP beyond the sodium/potassium ratio.
I measured my blood pressure every day and within two weeks noticed a gradual improvement from approximately 150/100 to around 135/84. That was still too high. I needed to get rid of the excess sodium in my tissues. In the army we lost so much salt sweating during those long marches that they regularly had to distribute salt tablets like candy to prevent heat exhaustion.
I don't play golf in the winter and I stopped running for fitness because of back pain. I still work out regularly in a gym but I really don't sweat anymore, not like when I was running every day. So I went to the sauna after each gym session. I built up to 30 minutes sweating enough to see salt stains when my bathing suit dried. I measured my BP at 121/70 after one sauna session. My BP was higher the next day but I knew I was on the right track. After 4-5 weeks of changes with my diet and regularly sweating out salt my blood pressure is once again consistently low.
Lifestyle changes really do affect blood pressure but once you begin taking medication it is dangerous to stop without consulting a doctor.
Male/61 DX IBD in Feb08. No meds, allergic to Mesalamine. Remission since Mar10. Powdered psyllium seed mixed with VSL3 is very helpful. Food journal instead of SCD or Paleo.
Lots of fruit & vegetables (but no plums or cruciferous), No Gluten, no soda, no HFCS, no xylitol or sorbitol, no trans fat, no shellfish, few processed foods, no carrageenan.
Probiotics, fish oil, multivitamin, extra D3, K2, E complex, phos choline, magnesium, boswellia, curcumin, DGL, glutamine.
Nature created all of the locks, therefore Nature has all of the keys