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Dr. Overberg's High Blood Pressure Insights - two of three parts

High Blood Pressure – Part 2 of 3 by Jim McAfee, CCN. He graciously shared his excellent article. He is a 30+ years friend and nutrition colleague of mine.


Hypertension or high blood pres­sure is a common condition in which excessive pressure builds up in the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured by two numbers. A higher number, called the systolic, is placed over a lower number, the diastolic. The unit of measure is millimeters of mercury.

A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Elevated is120-129/80. Stage 1 hypertension is 130-139/80- 89. Stage 2 hypertension is over 140/90. A hypertension crisis is con­sidered to be a measurement greater than 180/120.

There are two types of high blood pressure. Essential is a term used when the cause is not clear. This term is used to describe over 90% of all cases of hypertension. Secondary hypertension is a term used when the cause of the elevated blood pressure is identified. The most common causes of secondary hypertension are kid­ney disease, pregnancy, and effects of medications and birth control pills.

Part 2 of 3


An observational study of 7,000 Japanese men in 1989 found an in­verse association between intake of both calcium and potassium and high blood pressure. The com­bined effect of the two nutrients was greater than either individually.

Hard water is usually associ­ated with its content of calcium and magnesium. Hard water drinkers al­most always have lower blood pres­sure than those who drink soft water. This is usually attributed to the in­creased intake of easily available cal­cium and magnesium in hard water.

David McCarron suggests that di­etary intake of calcium is the most consistent nutritional correlate to high blood pressure in the United States. Low intake of calcium increases the risk of hypertension. A number of studies suggest that low calcium in­take may be as important as high intake of sodium for regulation of blood pressure. Calcium promotes the excretion of sodium from the body.


Magnesium is important to con­sider in cases of hypertension for several reasons.Magnesium is a potent dilator of the blood vessels. Magnesium deficiency often results in high blood pressure reversible by supplementation with the mineral.

Use of diuretics can deplete mag­nesium and worsen high blood pres­sure. As pointed out earlier, replen­ishment with the mineral is often overlooked when diuretics are pre­scribed. Studies have also shown that patients low in magnesium use more blood pressure medications than those with adequate magnesium intake.

Magnesium deficiency also results in a loss of potassium within cells creating an appar­ent deficiency of both minerals.

Calcium and magnesium work well together. Supplementation with calcium without magnesium can lead to magnesium depletion with a wide range of harmful effects.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and is essential for proper calcium and magnesium metabolism. Blood levels below 30 ng/ml are as­sociated with low blood pressure.

Vitamin D not only plays a role in mineral metabolism, but it also regu­lates of blood sugar. Weight gain and diabetes are associated with high blood pressure. Studies have shown that vi­tamin D improves insulin function­ing, lowering blood sugars and help­ing prevent weight gain and diabetes.


Feng J., Wenguang, etal., Novel Paradigms of Salt and Hypertension, Am Soc Nephrol 28:1362–1369, 2017.

Ophir, M,Orna, Low blood pressure in vegetar­ians: the possible role of potassium, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 37: May 1983, pp 755-762.

Criqui,Michael H., Dietary alcohol, calcium, and potassium: Independent and combined effects on blood pressure, Circulation, 1989;80:609-614.

McCarron,David A., Is Calcium More Impor­tant Than Sodium in the Pathogenesis of Essential Hypertension? Hypertension 7: 607-627, 1985.

Wester, P. O., et al.,(1987) Magnesium and hy­pertension., Journal of the American College of Nu­trition,1987;6:4, 321-328.

Rosanoff, Andrea,Magnesium and hypertension, Clinical Calcium, 2005; Vol.15, No.2,p111-116.

Sung,Chih-Chien, et al., Role of Vitamin D in Insulin Resistance, Bio Med Research International, vol. 2012, Article ID 634195, 11 pages, 2012.

Pilz,S., et al. Vitamin D status and arterial hy­pertension: a systematic review. Nat Rev Cardiol, 2009; 6, 621–630.

Williams,Jonathan, et al., The relationship between vitamin D and the renin-angiotensin system in the pathophysiology of hypertension, kidney disease, and diabetes, Metabolism,April 2012;61(4):450-458.

Toxic Metals

Heavy metals like arsenic, cad­mium, lead, and mercury can dam­age the kidneys leading to fluid ac­cumulation and high blood pressure.

Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for high blood pres­sure.Cigarette smoke contains cadmium. Zinc tends to reduce cadmium levels and may provide protection from hypertension as­sociated with cadmium exposure.


Calcium, zinc, and vitamin C have been shown to reduce lead toxicity.Lead is a common pollutant due to the fact that leaded gasoline was used for years and lead was also added to paint.

Mercury is another toxic metal found in seafood and used as a den­tal filling material. Selenium provides protection from mercury and low levels of selenium have been associ­ated with elevated blood pressure.


Schroeder, Henry A.,Cadmium as a factor in hypertension, Journal of Chronic Diseases, July1965;18(7):647-656.

Elmarsafawy SF, et al,Dietary calcium as a po­tential modifier of the relationship of lead burden to blood pressure, Epidemiology, 2006; 17(5): 531-7.

Houston, Mark, Role of Mercury Toxicity in Hy­pertension, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke, J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13:621–627.

Drron notes:

Calcium is hard to measure, it is so essential to our body. Ordinary blood tests only work if you are low, and then you are likely in the ICU. It is constantly monitored by our Parathyroid gland (nothing to do with the thyroid). If calcium goes low, it goes up. Then it tells the kidneys to retain more calcium from our urine, it tells the liver to activate Vitamin D into 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25(OH)2D) and pull calcium in from the intestine. And if that does not raise the level sufficiently, it commands our bones to supply it.

Magnesium is frequently low because Doctors measure serum magnesium which represents only one percent of the magnesium in our body. That one percent is maintained at the expense of our other magnesium stores. Red blood cell magnesium holds about thirty percent of our magnesium. Our muscles hold the rest, about seventy percent.

Vitamin D is turning out to be a miracle nutrient, every cell in our body communicates with it. And still you have to ask your MD to get it tested on your annual blood work! Is almost like they want you to have osteoporosis before the recommend it and test for it. Some preventative care. My optimal range Vitamin D (25(OH)D) is 60-80 ng/ml. While the biologically active compound, 1,25(OH)2D, is tightly regulated with a half-life of 4 to6 hours,8 the compound 25(OH)D is a much more stable metabolite with a half-life of 10 to 50 days. The half-life of 1,25(OH)2 D is approximately 4 hours. Therefore, it is not useful in assessing the total-body vitamin D status. Also, it must be noted that a normal level of 1,25(OH)2 D does not exclude a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency.Measurement of 25(OH)D levels should be used for this purpose.

Toxic metals are present in many of us, and surprisingly in many, that is not a noticeable health issue. But, some of us are not so lucky. I always start with my $97 hair test, and go from there. Hair is used by our government institutions to check for lead contamination.

There is a very good book that goes along with these notes from Jim McAfee. Written by a sharp MD, who writes about what natural substances work like the different types of blood pressure medicines. “What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Hypertension” by Mark Houston, MD. His lectures were never boring!

Enjoy poetry by Joan Walsh Anglund.
So, few words, that touch so deep!   

Don’t be sad that you suffered,

               be glad that you lived.

How is drron? I am in Florida scuba diving. Lots of things to see and do, a very active vacation. Our Thursday dives were cancelled because of the strong currents of the coast after the storm we experienced Wednesday night. That gave us the opportunity to drive to St. Petersburg and visited the Salvador Dali Museum.That was a place that I wanted to revisit. Chris and I visited there some 30 years ago. It fascinating to see how Dali continually evolved in thoughts, beliefs, and techniques, with paintings from age 17 till the very end. The diving is fun. The shark dives are like what we saw in June. But this time I had my camera with me to catch some of their antics!  They followed us to the surface and where swimming among us we were climbing out of the water into the dive boat. Yes, we had the dorsal fins cutting the water surface as they swam among us. What a sight. The Goliath groupers are spectacular. They all gather together up to September’s(this Sunday’s) full moon, then over the next 2 weeks they release their eggs and swim back home. They live as solitary fish, very seldom you see 2 together at any other time of the year. It is like a cattle drive. They are huge! The jellyfish was another special treat. It is fun to watch them propel themselves through the water. We had a nice group of divers on an excellent dive boat: “The Salty Two”. I am having trouble shrinking my picture below 200KB so I can insert them in this newsletter

How is Beau? Happy because food is on time. Ross is feeding him and the turtles, and takes Beau for his walks. No, not the turtles, they stay in their kennel.

I make appointments with existing clients or their referrals, on Monday, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons I am at the Environmental Health Center. When you send me an email, follow up, call and text me that you have an email in the cue, you will get a quicker response! and 972-816-5892. I welcome reminders.

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