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High Blood Pressure and Protein Needs

Hypertension, as high blood pressure is medically known as, is important because it is a major risk factor for three serious conditions: stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. In the past, the first thing that a person with continued high blood pressure was told was: to cut out salt, to lose weight, stop smoking and learn some stress reduction exercises. The new thinking only changes the way that the salt is handled, the other suggestions are still valid and greatly encouraged.

There are over 73 million Americans with hypertension (Source: Lewis, 2009) and several steps that most doctors agree that they should be taking to manage their health:

– Monitoring their blood pressure daily

– Monitoring their weight

– Monitoring their intake of all nutrients

Having a high blood pressure reading a time or two does not automatically relegate you to the hypertensive club, nor does it automatically mean that you will need to take medications for the rest of your life. Blood pressure readings can be influenced in the doctor’s office by illness, anxiety about the visit and just plain nervousness at being there, a phenomenon that doctor’s call “white coat hypertension.” However, repeated high blood pressure readings, especially when they are done with your home monitor and are staying consistent with what is being noted at the doctor’s office, is a sign of trouble and will probably get you a prescription medication, a list of lifestyle and dietary changes and higher rates on your health insurance.

Blood pressure readings are normal when the reading is 120 over 80 or lower for those 18 and older. Prehypertension is, readings of:

– 120-139 over 80-89,

– high blood pressure (stage one): 140-159 over 90-99

– high blood pressure (stage two): 160 and higher over 100 and higher

(Source: American Heart Association)

The Risk of Continued High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for a number of diseases including heart disease and stroke, kidney disease (it is the number one risk factor for a condition called Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD), and others.

The more risk factors that you have for other conditions, including obesity, smoking and family history, the more vigilant you should be about monitoring your blood pressure and taking the steps to get it under control once and for all.

Not all doctors will immediately prescribe medications, especially if you fall in the category of pre-hypertension. However, if you do not stop smoking, lose weight, reduce stress and learn the importance of good nutrition, including the right vitamins and minerals that your body needs every day, you will not only develop full hypertension, you will join the ranks of the millions who have to take daily meds to combat and control the condition.

There are two types of hypotension: primary or essential hypertension which is a standalone condition and secondary hypertension which is caused by another disease or condition, such as kidney disease. Just under 30% of all American women, ages 18-74 have some degree of high blood pressure, this number increases with age. It is more prevalent in black women as well, 80% of black women in the over 65 age group have high blood pressure. (Source: Ammer, 2005)

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a serious condition of the kidneys that can be caused by high blood pressure. Ironically, CKD can itself cause high blood pressure. In fact, the two are so intermingled in some cases that doctors would not be able to say which one happened first.

Kidney disease can be a life threatening condition – the role of the kidneys in the body is vital. Kidneys filter waste products from the blood and play a role in maintaining proper blood volume. While we can live with one of these bean shaped organs, it puts a huge strain on it and may lessen its ability to accomplish its daily work. Once a kidney is damaged, the chance of moving further through the kidney disease process and developing renal failure becomes even higher.

Heart disease kills over 16 million adults worldwide and accounts for around 30% of all deaths. In the United States, 40% of all deaths are attributed to some form of heart disease (Source: Natural News, 2006). The incidence of strokes in the United States is around 600,000 per year with the risk doubling for most people every decade after age 45 (Source: Carlson, 2008).

The Importance of Weight Management

Obesity is one of the major risk factors for developing secondary hypertension. There are 34 million Americans who are considered to be overweight or obese (Source: http://www.med.Stanford.edu ). For many of these people it is a combination of genetics, poor diet and lack of exercise that has brought them to their current condition. Many of them have slowed or stalled metabolisms after years of fad dieting that have left them disillusioned and ready to give up. Many more of these people will seek gastric bypass surgery not only to lose weight but to help lower their risk for a number of conditions including hypertension and others. Some of these people will even qualify for the surgery at lowered BMI numbers because of the secondary condition of hypertension and others.

Before it becomes necessary to have a dangerous surgery, the attempt at real weight management should be made. A dietician or nutritionist can explain the real needs for each body, including how many calories they should eat and how to divide their nutrients.

Some people with prehypertension can lose as little as 10-20 pounds and greatly reduce the need for medications. There are some benefits to using protein supplements, most notably whey protein and soy proteins; however, there are some risks especially to those with kidney disease. People with CKD should try to limit their protein (within reason) but only at the advice of their doctor or a licensed dietician. (Source: The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse).


Most people with hypertension are automatically referred to the DASH diet. DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is high in fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy foods, and low in total and saturated fats. Most dieticians suggest limiting animal protein intake and that the choices be that of turkey, chicken and fatty fishes. Instead of animal proteins, (except for the dairy foods) DASH suggests using soy and other plant based proteins instead. Soy is the one plant protein that is complete, meaning it supplies all eight of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own (Source: Bednash, Ph.D, RN, FAAN, editor, 2001).

Benefits of Proteins on High Blood Pressure

Research has shown that soy protein, in the form that you choose can, not only lower blood cholesterol levels but may lower your blood pressure and your chance of heart attack as well (Source: Natural News). In addition to soy protein, the option of including whey protein, a derivative of milk, to the diet also has a number of benefits.

Whey protein has been used medically as early as 420 BC when Hippocrates would recommend it to his own patients. It may be used by the body to maintain normal blood pressure, however it does a lot more as well. A whey derived peptide (NOP-47) has been shown to improve vascular function and may do so by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibiting activity. ACE inhibitors work by stopping the conversion of angiotensin I into angiotensin II. The latter is a vasoconstrictor so stopping the conversion equals better blood flow and better blood pressure readings (Source: Mercola 2009).

The American Heart Association recommends that anyone with high blood pressure or at risk for it should steer clear of the high protein diets. Protein should be no higher than 35% of the daily calories.

Profect, a liquid protein supplement shot is perfect as a snack between meals and can be used in conjunction with the DASH diet. It is small, (less than three fluid ounces) and gives 25 grams of protein per serving, giving a healthy boost in a much smaller size and without being extreme in calories (100 cal. each serving) or in protein. Profect is available from Protica.


The American Heart Association Christine Ammer. The New A to Z of Women’s Health. Fifth Edition Checkmark Books. New York, New York. 2005

Geraldine Bednash, PhD., RN, FAAN. Ask a Nurse: From Home Remedies to Hospital Care Simon and Schuster. New York, New York. 2001

Neil R. Carlson. Foundations of Physiological Psychology Pearson Education. Boston, MA 2008

Darcy Lewis. Have You Checked Your Blood Pressure Today? Heart Insight Magazine August 2009

Dr. Mercola Whey Proteins Improves Heart Health Mercola.com August 29,2009

The Kidneys and How They Work the National Kidney and Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse

Research Links Soy Protein With Heart Health. Natural News. November 18, 2006

Source by Jim Duffy

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Protein Needs and the Problem With All Liquid Diets

There are all kinds of diets, from the all cabbage diet to the all soup diet. In the 80’s, there was a high protein, all liquid diet that was very popular, however, there were several problems noted with this plan. A better liquid protein supplement has been found, however, there still remain a number of problems with an all liquid diet of any kind, no matter how nutritious or delicious that the liquid might be. With over 34 million people listed as being obese, it is no wonder that so many different diet plans have been devised. (Source: med.Stanford.edu)

At any one point in the year, there are an estimated 20 million people on a diet of some kind, whether it is one that has been studied and recommended by a doctor or something of their own devices. The diet industry makes over a billion dollars every year, whether the dieters get any kind of success or not. (Source: thriveonline.com) There are problems associated with even the best of diets. Diets do not fail because of a lack of willpower – they fail because they do not look at the bigger picture. Liquid diets, high protein diets and other diet plans have problems that include:

– Addressing the actual needs of protein, fat and carbohydrates in the body

– Lack of support

– Medical risks of low calorie diets

– Medical risks of extremely high protein diets

– Why the body will always work to get what it needs

How Much of the Macronutrients Do You Really Need?

The body needs the three macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fat, to function properly. The body uses fat and carbs to burn for energy while protein is used in a number of other processes in the body. Protein is vital for every cell in the body and, unlike the other two, is not stored at all. New sources of protein, especially low fat, complete protein sources, must be eaten every day. Carbs, especially complex carbohydrates, should make up the bulk of the diet with about 50% of the calories. In a weight-maintenance diet (one that is meant to keep the body at its current weight), the ratio of proteins and fats should be 30% to 20%. However, in a diet that is meant to reduce weight, the amount of protein may go up to as high as 35% (the upper limit threshold) and the fat percent will go down to 15% of total calories per day. The American Heart Association’s guidelines for weight management and heart health states that the total protein in the diet should never go higher than 35% because of a number of health risks.

Everybody needs a different level of protein, however. It is a common fallacy that the bodybuilder becomes enormous from eating extreme amounts of protein. Pound for pound, a baby, aged zero to six months, needs and should get twice the amount of protein than the typical body builder. (Baby needs 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, while the body builder needs only 1.2 grams) (Source: the US Guidelines on Protein and Diet) To determine your own protein needs, you can follow a simple formula or discuss your needs with a doctor or a nutritionist. If you are being treated for any type of medical condition or illness, you should be discussing your dietary needs with a medical care professional anyway. The formula for protein needs is:

Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. Multiply that number by.8 to get your daily protein needs in grams.

This formula is not perfect, however, and there are some factors that you should keep in mind. For instance, if you are a sedentary person, your daily protein needs will be about half (.4 grams per kg of body weight). If you are a frequent exerciser, your needs will be between.5 and.8 grams. If you are an intense exerciser or an athlete, your needs may go as high as 1 gram. Keep in mind however, that the body builder only needs between 1.2 and 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Actual protein needs will vary depending on age, gender and health status as well. The upper limit of safe protein levels is 35% of total daily calories.

The Lack of Support in Liquid Diets

Support and proper education is important in any diet plan. It is even more important in a liquid diet plan because it can be so difficult to manage. The body is meant to eat solid foods in most cases. The body wants to eat solid foods. Even the most complex liquid does not have the mouth feel that can help to trigger the satiety hormone, leptin, which cues our body that we have had enough. Most liquid diets do not have enough of the macronutrients to be complete nor do they provide enough daily calories. The bottom line for liquid diets is simple: they are great for a short term, weight loss kick off plan, meant to jump start the weight loss and get the body ready to burn up the fat. It is not a good idea or viable for most people for a long-term, lifelong solution.

The Medical Risks of Very Low Calorie Diets

Most liquid diets reportedly have between 600-800 calories on average. For most adults, the low limit threshold for health and energy is 1100 calories. (For smaller adults, this number might be slightly lower.) However, before you kick off any kind of extreme calorie reduction, you should know what your daily calorie needs are, how much energy you use through exercise each day and what can happen if you drop down below what your own body is comfortable with.

Daily calorie needs are different for everybody because of body composition and weight. A rough formula to determine this is to start with resting metabolic rate:

Multiply your desired weight in pounds by 8 and then add 200.

To find out how much energy you use through exercise:

– Multiply the number of minutes spent doing light exercise (walking, light yoga, etc) by 4.

– Multiply the number of minutes you spend doing more intense exercise, like cardio work and strength training, by 8.

– Add these two numbers together to get your daily calorie needs number. (Source: Roizen and Oz, 2006)

This is the number of calories that you need to eat every day to keep your current weight. To lose weight, you need to lower this number by about 500 calories (to lose a pound a week, a safe and achievable goal), or you could increase your exercise minutes enough to equal an additional burn of 500 calories.

Once you go lower than what your body is comfortable with, however, it will start to panic. Instead of burning the fat stores for energy like it normally would, the body may start to slow down the metabolism altogether. If there is insufficient intake of calories from all three macronutrients, the body may start taking drastic measures, thinking that it is starving and breaking down its own muscle tissue to use for energy.

Medical Risks of Extremely High Protein Diets

Just as a diet that is high in fat will lead to weight gain, diets that are extremely high in protein (defined as over 35% of total daily calories) can cause major health problems as well. It is a myth that protein only turns to muscle in the body – excessive protein can and is stored by the body as fat. In addition, high protein diets can lead to electrolyte imbalances, which in turn can lead to heart rhythm problems. Those who have diabetes and kidney disease may see more health risks from high protein diets because they can lead to the formation of the most common type of kidney stone, the calcium oxalate stone. Too much protein can cause the body to eliminate too much calcium in the urine, increasing the risk of osteoporosis in those that are prone to the disease.

Why the Body Will Always Work to Get What it Needs

The body knows what it needs. It knows how much it should eat and what kind of protein is needed for each of its processes. Regardless of how hard you try to fight against your own nature, you will always find yourself eating more than you meant to so that your body can get the protein that is required. Your body will simply continue to eat until the right amount and type of protein is met. (Source: Science Alert: Massey University)


Michael Roizen M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz. M.D. You on a Diet: the Owner’s Manual for Waist Management Free Press, a Division of Simon and Schuster, New York, New York. 2006

US Guidelines on Protein and Diet, the United States Department of Agriculture

Source by Jim Duffy

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Stroke and Nutritional Needs

The technical term is “stroke”, but it is commonly known and feared as stroke or stroke. A stroke is usually sudden and consists of an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Eighty percent of all strokes are associated with stenosis, or severe reduction of blood vessels resulting in ischemic episode or lack of blood flow to the brain. The other twenty percent are the result of hemorrhage or uncontrolled bleeding in the brain as when a blood vessel breaks inside the skull (Source: Ammer, 2005).

A stroke can be devastating and has the potential to be fatal as well. It can cause problems ranging from face paralysis, loss of bladder control, speech and language problems with emotions and other mental / social problems, memory problems, and visual problems. Some recovery from stroke can be accomplished through medication and therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy but there is always the possibility for secondary races occur.

Strokes are responsible for about a third of all paralysis in women who are between the ages of 17 and 44, and are the most common neurological disease affecting both sexes and all groups age. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in women and risk increases with age. In fact, did you know that stroke affects women more often than men, with about 60% of all stroke deaths are women (Source: Ammer, 2005).

Risk factors for stroke

One of the biggest risk factors for stroke is hypertension. Others include atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in artery walls), diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity and stress. Women have a slightly increased risk in young ages during hormonal changes such as childbirth and their risk increases with menopause.

In addition to these risk factors, you are at high risk of stroke if you had had a stroke in the past (risk is increased by about 13%), have a history strong family stroke or have a history of TIA. A TIA is a transient ischemic attack, which lasts briefly and is often referred to as a mini-stroke. The attack itself can be very brief, lasting only a few minutes at a time and the symptoms are usually resolved completely in one day. These symptoms may include blurred vision, weakness or numbness in an arm, leg or one side of the face, ringing in the ears, a feeling of dizziness or fainting, difficulty swallowing, speaking or understanding language, a sudden headache, a sudden and dramatic change in personality, impaired judgment or forgetfulness. TIA is important to recognize and follow because almost all stroke victims are believed to have at least one or two of these before the actual race occurred.

Changing the diet to reduce the risk of stroke

One of the first steps to prevent stroke, especially in people who seem most at risk is to change their diet. This should eliminate a number of risk factors. The diet should be one that is designed to lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and help lose weight. The DASH diet (dietary approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a good choice because it can meet all these requirements. The DASH diet is one that is recommended by the American Heart Association and consists of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, but is low in total and saturated fats. The diet is effective and can even eliminate the need for medication in some people (with the advice and consent of the physician, of course). (Source: Bednash, 2001)

The doctor will have recommendations for the best diet plan for you, but you may want to ask about adding whey or soy protein to the diet. The protein is important because it is vital for each cell and function in the body. Protein also increases the feeling of fullness in the foods we eat, so that we can be satisfied with less. Whey protein increases the amino acid, leucine, which is vital to support the muscle and reduce body fat. Because it also stabilizes the sugar in the blood, it allows a slower absorption and digestion which in turn decreases the amount of insulin that is released into the bloodstream. Increased insulin correlated with the increase in fat storage. Whey protein also stimulates the release of two hormones suppressing hunger (Source: Whey Protein Institute)

Other benefits of Whey Protein :.

– helps keep blood pressure within normal limits

– Supports a healthy immune system

– improves the function of blood vessels

Soy protein is also beneficial and can reduce blood cholesterol (another serious stroke risk) of about nine points. It can also work to lower blood pressure (Source: Natural News, 2006).

protein should represent approximately 20-35% of total daily calories, but no more than that, according to the American Heart Association. The protein that is selected should be low in fat and preferably herbal although there are some good protein-based animals that are low in fat and calories as well. Red meat should be avoided whenever possible because even if it is high in protein, it is also high in calories and saturated fat.

Using a protein supplement between meals as a snack can help keep healthy eating moving in the right direction, but the choice should be done carefully. You want to find one that has the right amount of protein, but not excessive calories. After all, a snack between meals should not have as many calories as meals, it is coming in between.

Immediate attention to Strokes

If you or a loved one is showing any of the warning signs of stroke: sudden weakness, numbness or paralysis of the body, especially if it affects only one side, sudden vision changes, sudden loss of speech or trouble understanding speech, sudden severe headache, unexplained dizziness, fainting or falling, it is imperative that immediate medical attention be sought.

As soon as the race is diagnosed and treated, the more positive the prognosis is likely to be. There are medications that can be administered after a stroke to prevent permanent damage, but they have a very small window of opportunity to be given and must be timed exactly. If drugs are not given in the context of the right time, they can cause bleeding in the brain and to the patient’s condition worse and can even be fatal.


Christine Ammer. New AZ of women’s health. Fifth Edition. Checkmark books. New York, New York, 2005

Geraldine Bednash, PhD., RN, FAAN. Editor. Ask a nurse: From Home use of hospital care. Simon and Schuster Source. New York, New York, 2001

Natural News. Research Links With cardiovascular health of soy protein. November 18, 2009

Whey protein Institute

Source by Jim Duffy

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