Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mercola On Fructose

What is the link between fructose and blood pressure? Fructose in your diet raises your blood pressure in three key ways:
  1. When your liver breaks down fructose, uric acid is produced as a byproduct. Uric acid also drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting nitric oxide in your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your blood vessels maintain their elasticity. When you consume large amounts of fructose, increasing uric acid levels drive up your blood pressure. If your uric acid levels are chronically elevated, you have an increased risk for hypertension, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Large amounts of fructose also place a great strain on your liver, which is responsible for most of the metabolic burden.
  2. As metabolic physician and nutrition expert Dr. Ron Rosedale has explained, insulin stores magnesium. If your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can't store magnesium, so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium relaxes muscles; so, when your magnesium level is low, your blood vessels will constrict rather than relax, which further raises your blood pressure.
  3. Insulin causes your body to retain sodium, which in turn causes fluid retention. Fluid retention results in elevated blood pressure and can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure.
I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or as low as 15 grams if you have high blood pressure, are overweight, or diabetic.
The fructose in whole fruits is generally healthy, unless you consume large amounts, and/or in the form of fruit juices or dried fruits. Still, if you have any of the health issues just mentioned and you're consuming large amounts of fruit, you would be wise to restrict your fruit intake to under 15 grams of fructose per day as well until your condition has normalized.
As always with Dr. Mercola's posts, you have to take the good with the bad.  This article starts out by hyping the benefits of broccoli consumption, but the citations indicate the research is mostly epidemiological, which means little to me.  Not that I would disagree with four servings of broccoli per week, but I doubt this would offer the mythical benefit for most of us in terms of improving blood pressure.  
However, I like the model he's proposing above with regards to how we are such a sick, diabetic, hypertensive culture.  And with this issue, we don't have to rely on goofy science to know if it helps.  With carb restriction generally and fructose specifically, most of us will see blood pressure normalization.
I found that after carb restriction, potassium supplementation further normalized my BP, and recently met someone who's doctor recommended potassium for that purpose also, which I thought was good news.
The big takeaway - all these symptoms (high blood pressure, dis-lipidemia, visceral fat, gout, insulin resistance/diabetes) are not discrete illnesses, but representative of excess consumption of carbs in general and sugars (which almost always are about 50% fructose) specifically.

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