Blood pressure and salt: A question of balance


Here’s a fascinating insight. High Blood pressure could have some relation to your ability to balance the level of salt in your body.

That’s the advice from Marc Pelletier discussing research on blood pressure on episode 103 of Dr Kiki’s science hour podcast .

Marc explains that his research indicates that high blood pressure could be a problem of salt balance and water balance. The brain having more power to regulate water than the kidneys.

Similarities to Diabetes

My interpretation is that it could be similar to the way sugar regulation is so critical to diabetes. Essentially diabetics have trouble regulating the sugar levels in blood and cells. It is fixed by helping the body regulate sugar. Activity, running around, plays a key role by improving levels of an insulin specific sugar receptor. Diabetes has wider ranging implications just because sugar regulation is faulty. So activity can fix sugar regulation and prevent so many of the negative effects of diabetes.

I’m wondering if salt and high blood pressure could have a similar story. Could activity help in a similar way.

Activity regulates sugar?

The reason activity helps diabetes is because activity forces the body to regulate sugar well. You see this in all sports research on making people run fast or far. The improvements always come from preserving sugar within cells. So obviously each improvement that makes you run further requires that your body be better at storing and preserving cell sugar. So a fit person can’t have diabetes, type II at least, because they are opposites. The take home lesson Diabetics can’t control their cell sugar levels well while fit people can.

Could activity regulate salt?


So could the same be true for high blood pressure. Activity forces the body to regulate salt. Because salt is key in being good at sports. It makes your nerves work properly, encourages the right type of chemical reactions and basically makes the body work properly. Low salt might also be one of the causes of cramps. So you need salt to be in the right places in the right amounts through out your body to be fit and perform well when running around.

Exercise is known to lower high blood pressure. It makes sense that this could be one of the ways it works. The idea being that someone who runs around a lot and pushes themselves physically will be able to regulate salt in their blood and cells very well and blood pressure will be normal. At the same time those people who don’t run around often develop high blood pressure because their bodies aren’t being pushed to regulate their salt well. So the blood and cell salt levels aren’t controlled and bad things happen.

That’s the theory I take from this. I hope it makes sense. Now I can look at investigating it.

I have just found another clue to the question why salt raises blood pressure. The explanation is that salt triggers adrenaline which constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Similar results are found in pubmed and thankfully this all backs up the concept that to regulate your salt levels is to regulate your blood pressure.

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