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Is salt restriction the best way to lower blood pressure?

Nowhere in medicine is there more confusion than the issue of salt as a cause of high blood pressure. At the 2006 meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Dr. Abdul-Rahman of Newark, Delaware reported that people who lowered blood insulin levels had a significant reduction in high blood pressure even though they also markedly increased their salt intake (Endocrinology Practice, Volume 12, 2006).

These obese patients increased their daily salt intake from less than two grams a day to more than 20 grams a day. They avoided starchy and sugary foods and lost around 12 pounds in six weeks. They did not count calories. Their average blood sugars dropped from 106 to 98, average fasting insulin from 21 to 14 mu/ml and average diastolic blood pressure from 96 to 88. Some of the patients were able to stop their blood pressure drugs. This study and others show that high blood insulin levels are an important cause of high blood pressure, and that you can lower insulin levels by avoiding refined carbohydrates and losing weight. I recommend a modified DASH diet to all my patients.

June 15, 2006

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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