Although hypertension has become almost exclusively used to indicate high blood pressure, it is worth examining the true underlying meaning. The prefix “hyper” is from the Greek, meaning over or above. Tension is defined as “the state of being stretched tight”. Perhaps then it is worth looking at how this applies to blood pressure.
When a blood pressure is measured, there are always two figures represented. The higher number is known as “systolic” and the lower one as “diastolic”. The systolic is when the heart is contracting and indicates the ability of the arterial system to expand enough to accommodate the pressure from an increased volume of blood. The diastolic indicates the pressure in the arterial system when the heart is resting between beats. We are therefore looking at the highest and lowest pressures in a closed tube system that must be capable of expanding and contracting.
Since the system is made from live cells, it does not behave like a rubber tube with elastic recoil. The arteries where blood pressure is measured are lined with muscles. It is the contraction and relaxation of these muscles that control the capacity of the artery to accommodate the amount of blood arriving from the heart. The muscles are controlled by nerves carrying messages from the brain. These muscles are completely different from those that are activated willingly, such as those in the limbs. They are contracted and relaxed automatically by a part of the brain that acts more like a computer. The body muscles are activated by a nervous system known as “voluntary”. The arterial muscles are activated by a completely separate an involuntary nervous system known as autonomic (ANS). We therefore have to examine the control mechanisms.
Understanding the Autonomic Nervous System
I have discussed this nervous system many times in Hormones Matter because, when it goes wrong, it is a potent source of disease. The nerves of this system go to every organ within the body. The control system is in the lower part of the brain. It consists of two channels. One is known as sympathetic: the other is known as parasympathetic. Although they work together, their actions oppose each other and I will try briefly to outline this dichotomy.
Sympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is designed for both physical and mental action through a reflex mechanism known as the fight-or-flight. It prepares us to meet an enemy or escape from danger. One of its actions is to raise the blood pressure. It does this by contracting the arterial muscles already described.
Parasympathetic. When the action is completed, the brain controls automatically withdraw the activity of the sympathetic and initiate those of the parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens, the body is prepared for resting.
Chronic Activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System
There is a large amount of evidence in the medical literature that this is the primary cause of chronically high blood pressure. If the system is healthy, the blood pressure will go down on completion of the action. If not, the blood pressure remains elevated. From here, I am going to hypothesize why this happens. Please remember as you read it that it is a hypothesis, not a proven fact.
Hypoxia. This word simply means lack of oxygen. Obviously, this is a dangerous state for the brain and it is not surprising that it will activate the sympathetic component described above, including raising the blood pressure.
Pseudo-hypoxia. The prefix “pseudo”, meaning false, or sham (from the Greek, lying, false) has been used in the medical literature to describe a state that is exactly like that of hypoxia when the presence of oxygen is normal. In order to understand this, focus on the fact that oxygen must be introduced to the body but is completely useless unless it is consumed. Therefore we must try to indicate how oxygen consumption occurs.
Oxidation and burning. All forms of burning are derived from oxygen combining with a fuel, liberating heat energy. That is why we are warm blooded, but other forms of energy are produced to drive physical and mental function. Because the burning is incomplete, ash is formed. Our cells derive their energy by the oxygen, delivered in the blood from the lung, combining with glucose. The “ash” is carbon dioxide and water, discarded in the breath. The oxidation of glucose is governed by a set of enzymes that require the vitamin B complex for their action. The leader of this orchestration appears to be vitamin B1 (thiamine). That is why many papers have appeared in the medical literature that describes thiamine deficiency as a cause of pseudo-hypoxia. Its function is to catalyze the enzymes essential for oxidation. Its deficiency results in lack of sufficient energy. It is therefore not surprising that one of the symptoms of thiamine deficiency is fatigue.
Calorie/thiamine ratio. A healthy diet provides us with calorie producing elements that are broken down to glucose and used as fuel. The amount of thiamine provides a normal calorie/thiamine ratio that enables efficient oxidation. If we load the diet with empty calories (calories without essential non-calorie nutrients that include thiamine) the calorie/thiamine ratio becomes abnormal. Measuring the concentration of thiamine in the blood would be normal for a healthy diet but inadequate to meet the demand of the empty calorie load. The laboratory method for identifying thiamine deficiency is by measuring it in the blood. If the result is reported by the laboratory as normal, the relevant symptoms produced by inadequate oxidation may well be ascribed to causes other than thiamine deficiency.
Hypothesis: High Calorie Malnutrition Induces Chronic Sympathetic Overdrive
I suspect that a common cause of hypertension is high calorie malnutrition, inducing a state of chronic sympathetic overdrive. It may be why obesity in children often foretells their rise in blood pressure. Perhaps another cause is the gradual diminution of oxidation associated with aging. There are genetic mechanisms that are turned on by hypoxia and these also may be activated by pseudo-hypoxia, e.g. thiamine deficiency.
Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
Lipothiamin is a synthetic derivative of thiamine. Its biologic properties enable it to be used as a drug. A rat known as SHR (spontaneously hypertensive rat) is used as the animal model for studying the effect of antihypertensive drugs. Many years ago I took a group of these rats and treated them with Lipothiamin to see if it would prevent the rise in blood pressure that always occurs in these animals. There was a statistically significant difference between the experimental rats and the controls, indicating that this thiamine derivative did indeed prevent the spontaneous rise in blood pressure. This experiment is published in our book (Lonsdale D, Marrs C. Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia and High Calorie Malnutrition). It obviously requires human subjects to research the use of this completely non-toxic, nutrient/drug derivative but nevertheless provides us with solid clues about hypertension.
Conclusion: Diet Matters
It has been said that simplicity must be distilled out of complexity in order to make complex issues usable. The brain/body, whether we like to recognize it or not, is an “electrochemical machine” that must obey all the physical laws designed by Mother Nature. Health is governed by only three factors
- Genetics: the enormous complexity is dictated by a code written in DNA. Passage from generation to generation makes mistakes and represents our inheritance.
- Stress: defined as anything that requires physical/mental defensive response. The response, designed for relatively short term action, demands a huge consumption of energy.
- Nutrition: this is the only one of the three issues that we can control. It must supply both fuel and the multiple factors that enable the fuel to be turned into energy.
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Addition of manganese to the diets promotes an increase of the total thiamine content in the blood and the liver, heart and brain tissues. This trace element appreciably changes the correlation between different thiamine fractions. The free vitamin B1 level in the blood and tissues decreases, while the level of its bound form (pyrophosphatic) increases. All the administered manganese doses induced a statistically significant reduction of pyruvic acid concentration in the blood.
what do you think about adding a little manganese to the increased thiamine intake?
Well, the article is in Russian and only the abstract is available. I notice on Pub Med that there are quite a few articles on nutrients from Russia and not many from the US. I have wondered whether Russian scientists are ahead of us in the field of Alternative Medicine. Perhaps they have not been plagued by orthodoxy like we have been in the US. Manganese is a trace element and a dietary necessity but I was not aware of any relationship with thiamin.
“Here’s a paper (obviously very old) but it shows there is a strong relationship between levels of manganese and being able to store thiamine in the liver. Low levels of manganese can cause ataxia. The paper found that when low levels of thiamine were supplemented, it antagonized manganese levels and led to ataxia. You should post it for Whit that has this deficiency also.
Storage of Dietary Manganese and Thiamine in the Rat
Robert M. Hill and Dorsey E. Holtkamp
Department of Biochemistry, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver
Received for publication October 6, 1953
“5. With thiamine intake constant at 0.03 mg per rat per day, manganese supplementation of the diet from a level of 0.03 to 1.0 mg. per rat per day increases the storage of thiamine in the liver.”
Probably the best way of depicting manganese deficiency is through hair analysis, a study that is performed by many Alternative Medicine physicians. Thank you for pointing out the association.
I agree with you completely. However, as individuals we have to live in the world as it is. I am gradually coming to the conclusion that many forms of stress that include toxic elements, infections, trauma and even cancer, precipitate thiamin deficiency. It may be that the modern thiamin derivative supplements will turn out to be a protective preventive measure, however artificial this would seem to be. Since all the toxicity in the world is artificial, using an artificial countermeasure may be just as sensible.
With all the toxity that we have been exposed, it does make sense that we may have to supplement to be able to well survive. I looks more like we are going through a artificial selection starting in the first day of life when you see new born kid taking the hepatitis B vaccine.
My father in law was submitted to a procedure to insert two stents, and the bloode test ended leading him to discover that, althgout without pain, he had colon cancer with some metastasis in the bones. The doctor decided to reduce the tumor before the surgery. My father in law started his cancer treatment after 1 month from the heart procedure. With a light chemo that included : low doses of Irinotican, 5-FU, Avastin , Leucovarin e and an injection of x Geva 120 MG. 4 days later he had an bad hemorrhage for with he had to take 7 bags os red hemoglobin. At this point he also got an infection and doctors gave him Cipro and because he show a bad case of edema they geve him Lasix. After 14 days in the hospital, where they were accessing his heart and putting him on oxygen, he was sent home My observations here are Fluovoceracil, Cipro e Lasix causam deficiencia de B1, so why they didn’t checked the thiamine levels to see if it was not the cause of the heart problems and the edema? I noticed that the Mayo clinic page for Xeloda. it is mentioned that Xeloda may in some cases better used with thiamine. Isn’t $-FU similar in some ways to Xeloda? Doesn’t it mean that it may mean that by analogy patients using 5-FU also can be benefited by used in conjunction with vitamin B1? They could be doing tests with rats to check the safety! Yes, my father in law is still alive, but I wished we had more studies to safe all the suffering!
I agree with you. I seem to be collecting evidence that many different forms of toxicity under the heading of “stress” precipitate thiamin deficiency. Obviously this is a hypothetical statement and certainly would need to be proved. The trouble is that medical thinking is so far away from this concept.
You are what you eat, what you read, what you think, what you know, what you believe, what you do, what you have as your DNA, and what you are exposed to, intentionally or unintentionally.
I respect your list,
Genetics; Nutrition; Stress.
However, we are now in the 21st Century living and surviving in a walking cornucopia of man-woman made toxins. In a big City like Cairo or New York, by the time one turns 15 years of age, he or she will have 200, up to 500 compounds, in the human ecosystem — body — that were never on planet earth 300 years ago.
What are the implications of one compound used in fire retardant chemicals in every human on earth, let alone all the other by-products and direct products of a chemical world?
Even our soils is degraded, and the nutritional value in foods is down thanks to the modern miracles of better living through chemical pollution —
According to U.S. governmental estimates, mineral content found in fruits and vegetables has dropped 76% over 50 years. So, those veggies we are eating today only have 24% of the nutritional mineral value that our parents enjoyed.
Here, more facts pointing to a troubling fourth rail governing our health —
“Humans emit more than 250 billion tonnes of chemical substances a year, in a toxic avalanche that is harming people and life everywhere on the planet.” (Source: Scientist Categorize Earth as a Toxic Planet, Phys Org, February 7th 2017).
The Pesticides Literature Review/Toronto – The Ontario College of Family Physicians: “People should reduce their exposure to pesticides because of links to serious illnesses. Results of this landmark study found consistent evidence of serious health risks such as cancer, nervous system diseases and reproductive problems in people exposed to pesticides…through home and garden exposure.”
“Despite grave human health risks having been well established for numerous pesticides, they remain in use.” (Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Human Rights Council, UN General Assembly Thirty-fourth Session, Agenda item 3, Jan. 24, 2017)
The Pesticides Literature Review report, “Systematic Review of Pesticide Human Health Effects,” examined 265 individual studies of pesticides on human health, concluding that all classes of pesticides are linked to serious harm to humans.